19. Dodge Lil’ Express Truck
The muscle car era affected trucks, as well, resulting in a few special versions. And that included more powerful engines under the pickup hoods. But there was nothing more until 1978 when Dodge introduced the Lil’ Express Truck as the first full-size muscle truck in the world. The secret of the Lil’ Express Truck and its importance lies in the strict rules of the late ‘70s, which robbed those V8 engines of power and vehicles of their performance. But Dodge found an interesting loophole in the regulations that declared pickup trucks didn’t need a catalytic converter. This meant Dodge could install a more powerful engine to have it breathe easier. The result was the ability to deliver more punch than their previous models and competitors.
And that is how the Lil Express Truck came to be. Dodge took a standard D Series short bed truck and added a 360 V8 engine. And then they put big truck-like stacked exhaust pipes right behind the doors and added a durable automatic transmission. Best of all, they used a red color scheme with signature decals and details, as well as lots of chrome trim. This wild-looking special model pumped out 225 HP, which was considered a lot in those days. Most notably, thanks to the revised drivetrain, it was the fastest-accelerating domestic vehicle in 1978. Just as a reminder, this Dodge pickup truck was faster than all the Mustangs, Camaros, and Corvettes in 1978. The Lil’ Express Truck was back in 1979. But although it remained famous, the overall production numbers were relatively low at just under 3,000.