The Dodge Li'l Red Express is one awesome quandary of the late '70s. Back then, Dodge had taken to building all sorts of oddball trucks and vans with strange equipment packages, but the Li'l Red Express was something entirely different.
Engineers crammed a honkin' 360 V8 yanked from the company's police interceptor line and plopped the four-barrel-fed block between the fenders, inadvertently creating the world's first sport truck in the process. Bolted as it was to a 727 Torqueflight automatic transmission and a 3.55:1 rear axle, the truck was the quickest vehicle Car and Driver tested in the 0-100 sprint in 1978.
Dodge said the engine put out 225 horsepower. It lied.
Max Kirtley took one look at the Li'l Red Express, yanked that magical V8 from behind the grille and plopped one wild Cummins 6BT turbo diesel inline-six in its place. Sucking down 100-pounds-per-square-inch worth of boost, the 12-valve rocks a Hamilton cylinder head and cam as well as a water injection system and two nitrous injection systems. Kirtley says the truck now puts down closer to 1,000 horsepower and 1,500-1,700 pound-feet of torque.
We don't think he's lying. Check out a video of this Cummins Li'l Red Express hopping down the quarter mile during a few test runs below.