FEBRUARY 17, 2015 (MARCH 2015): ’78 LITTLE RED EXPRESS—TIMING IS THE KEY TO THIS MOPAR LEGEND

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The Little Red Express was born out of a legal loophole in 1978.

 

These trucks could slip under the intrusive smog era regulations because they were…trucks.

 

That little opening in the legislation led to the fastest production vehicle in the 1978 lineup.

 

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Kori Alexander is a hardcore Mopar guy with a well-deserved reputation as an expert in the field of classic Dodge and Plymouth muscle cars. He works on them every day and he’s seen, owned or rebuilt every vintage Mopar ever made, but his ’78 Little Red Express is one of his favorites.

 

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Kori explained how he found his ’78 Little Red:I bought it 23 years ago from behind the north end Royal gas station trailer park. Was cruising another car up/down Gaetz when I pulled in there to turn around. Paid $450. It was supposed to be $500 but when I came back with cash the rear tire was flat…so gave him $450”.

 

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Needless to say, this was a good price for a Little Red Express even 23 years ago.

 

Kori was impressed with his new ride: “It was complete and all original but faded and banged up…the exhaust stacks were the only thing missing. I got those from a girl who wrecked her ‘79 in Eckville”.

 

Mopar experts like Kori know how unique these fast little trucks were back in the 70s: “This is a 78… only two year model 2188 made…the quickest production vehicle that year. It was built as a factory hot rod by Dodge for the growing hot truck/van market of late 70s”.

 

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This truck was never a trailer queen: “The first few years I drove it everyday year round, rebuilt the transmission in 4th year Automotives Class. Just regular maintenance on the rest”.

 

Kori has a defined game plan for his Little Red Express with undefined time parameters: “Over the years I’ve collected a stash of NOS parts to someday do a complete restoration, but that has always been put on the back burner with other car projects and life”.

 

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This Little Red is currently less than a daily driver: “The truck has been parked but I’ll keep it in running/driving condition. Turns out the latest fad is patina’d old pickup trucks so it fits right in. (and I don’t have to worry about rock chips)”.

 

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Clearly, the real fun is found on the road in these old classics and Kori was pumped about his experience: “It’s GREAT fun to drive. One muffler fell off on the trip to Three Hills cruise this past summer. My Lil Rat Express drew more attention than the nice shiny one there. lol. We did a lot of Central Alberta road trips with it last summer…Gull Lake, Drumheller Badlands, Dickson Dam, etc. It’s always been very reliable and never let me down, on the way back from Drumheller a friend blew her front tire on her ‘70 Challenger and turns out the spare didn’t fit…Lil Red saved the day by giving up its 30-year-old spare lol Vanishing Point style”.

 

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Kori has only one mystery he’d like to solve: “Sometime early in the truck’s life it was involved in a fender bender was repaired and received a custom paint job with Gold, Yellow, Orange, and Brown metal flake stripes. I would love to see old pics back in the day of the first 6 or 7 years from new in or around Calgary Alberta…contact us here”.

 

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Survivor Little Red Express trucks are pretty rare in 2015 and 450-dollar versions are even rarer, but this one won’t be on the table at an auction or swap meet.

 

A Mopar guy like Kori knows he’ll never find another deal like that—even after adjusting for inflation.

 

Jerry Sutherland

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