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.


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  • 34 Comments
      A P
      • 1 Year Ago
      My uncle had one of those and a 75 Adventurer with a 440.....nothing sounds as good as an RB 440 with the top of the air cleaner flipped over. The long stroke 440 and the Carter 4V carb made an epic induction moan. The LA 360 was pretty close as well. When my uncle got his new Vette in 79, the Dodge truck ran the ass off of it up to about 90. Also a lot of people forget that the Aspen/Volare with 360 4V were some of the fastest cars of 76-77. Just as fast as the Vette and Trans Am.
      Spies1
      • 1 Year Ago
      Oh Lord, is that yomama on the left, and jaybird on the right
      AE86
      • 1 Year Ago
      beast... Would love to pull up in this to pick up my girl and scare the SH*t outta here when she hears the turbo and sees the black smoke from the pipes... she prob wouldnt get in ! ! ! lol
      vmax2005
      • 1 Year Ago
      Thanks for the article..... This is my truck all is true except the previous owner did the conversion over to a diesel. I just took that and went nuts with it. Thanks for the intetest in the project and we will see you on round 2 of videos when the truck is tuned right, pulls the wheels and runs 9 second blasts.
      jabkoo
      • 1 Year Ago
      Only a stupid American with micro pe.nis can like this smoking pile of feces
        • 1 Year Ago
        @jabkoo
        [blocked]
        erjhe
        • 1 Year Ago
        @jabkoo
        Damn, guess I have a micro penis.
        MONTEGOD7SS
        • 1 Year Ago
        @jabkoo
        Us silly Americans. Wait, hang on... http://www.tractorpulling.com/
      Tweaker
      • 1 Year Ago
      Yes sirree, a mighty testament to *cough cough* clean diesel.
      MilSpecDroid
      • 1 Year Ago
      They should rip all that diesel crap out and put in whatever electric motors are in the White Zombie and lithium pack.
      Awhattup
      • 1 Year Ago
      stupid unleashed
      Drakkon
      • 1 Year Ago
      and 400 migrating birds fell dead from the sky.
      Maxximtl
      • 1 Year Ago
      It doesn't have to be like this. The Banks Sidewinder truck ran high 7's with no smoke. I think it comes down to a matter of tuning.
        edward.stallings
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Maxximtl
        Interesting. Most diesel race engines are smokey. The Audi and Peugeot have particulate traps to clean them up. I wonder what Banks is doing, because you are correct. I think the extra rich mixture helps cylinder cooling, but I would expect the water injection to take care of that. I suspect that Banks has a lot more experience than these guys...
          Drakkon
          • 1 Year Ago
          @edward.stallings
          I think you are 100% correct. Excess fuel to provide cooling.
        atc98092
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Maxximtl
        Don\'t forget there\'s a certain faction out there that think the billowing smoke is cool. I\'m a major diesel fan, and I think it\'s dumb.
        erjhe
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Maxximtl
        It does come down to tuning, but it's not in the sense that this truck is tuned poorly. Banks could get their engine to produce more power by increasing the fuel injected, but they chose not to and instead focus on getting as much power without making excess smoke. I couldn't make a guess at how much is left on the table, but by reducing fuel enough to prevent smoke, they are leaving easy horsepower on the table.
      Peter DePriest
      • 1 Year Ago
      Why? Because "Murica thats why.
      CEC
      • 1 Year Ago
      God bless America!!! I'm so jealous.
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