My younger sister, by a considerable margin, was the family hotshoe, and once upon a time she possessed the speediest production vehicle from these here United States:
In 1978 The Dodge Lil’ Red Express was the fastest American made vehicle from 0 to 100 MPH as tested by Car and Driver magazine.
Because of a loophole in the emissions regulations the 1978 Dodge Lil’ Red Express Trucks did not have catalytic converters, what the Lil’ Red Express did have was a special High Performance 360 C.I. 4-barrel small block engine code (EH1) which was a modified version of the 360 police engine (E58) producing 225 net horsepower @ 3800 RPM. The package also included Hemi style mufflers with a crossover pipe breathing through 2 chrome stacks located behind the cab, a special 727 transmission and 3.55:1 rear gearing.
I drove this thing a couple of times, and found it slightly intimidating. And nowadays 225 hp is no big deal; my semi-sedate sedan sports 227 ponies, albeit at a comparatively-stratospheric 6400 rpm, a couple of scratches below the redline. Still, I always wondered why Dodge didn’t revive this beast after we’d gotten through an energy crisis or two.
And maybe now is not the best time, but what the hell:
The new RAM 1500 Express [offers] a 390-hp HEMI, the coil-sprung platform which supposedly offers better dynamic qualities than the competition, and some youth-oriented features like 20-inch wheels, at an out-the-door price around $23,830.
Of course, that’s the price for the regular cab variant. It’s been a long time since that body style ruled the roost in pickupville. The RAM excuse, er, reason is that this truck is aimed at young people.
She’d have been 49 this summer. But I’d bet you a pair of Mopar valve covers she’d be on the waiting list for this truck.