1,100-hp Li’l Red Express Is Ready To Drag And Drive

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1,100-hp Li’l Red Express Is Ready To Drag And Drive

Post by scottm »


1,100-hp Li’l Red Express Is Ready To Drag And Drive
https://www.dragzine.com/features/car-f ... and-drive/
Remarkably, Dodge’s quirky Li’l Red Express pickup was the quickest American-made vehicle from 0-100 mph back in 1978, beating out exotics like Ferraris and Porsche’s of the day with its 360 cubic inch V-8. Rick Russell’s 1979 model can probably still hold that claim with its twin-turbocharged, Gen III HEMI-powered engine combination.

Russell’s Li’l Red Express was outfitted with a nitrous-oxide-injected, 496 cubic inch engine based on a 440, and that powered it to 9-second 1/4-mile times. But Russell’s son, Big Ricky, told him that they were going to start doing drag-and-drive events. They formulated a new engine combination for that with Big 3 Racing and started accumulating parts.

The build started with a 6.4-liter Gen III HEMI engine that was machined by Gelner Engineering and was fitted with Vic Ellinger spec’d Wiseco pistons, Molnar rods, a custom Brian Tooley Racing camshaft, Manton pushrods and rockers, Manley valves, PAC springs, a Moroso pan, and an ATI balancer. It was sealed and screwed together with Cometic gaskets and ARP fasteners.

Derek Oberlander fabricated all of the Stainless Works piping that mounts a pair of Forced Inductions S372 turbos, as he also fabbed the new 4-inch-diameter stacks that replace the original ones, which are a signature part of the truck’s look. The pressurized atmosphere is chilled by a Shearer Fabrications intercooler before it passes through an Indy intake from Compuflow and custom Big 3 billet adapter. DEI exhaust wrap and a Saldana radiator keeps everything cool, and a Mechman alternator keeps it charged.

Rick Trunkett from Big3 Racing tunes the Holley EFI system, and on C16 race fuel the HEMI put down 1,068 horsepower to the rear wheels that is funneled rearwards through a Turbo 400 transmission with M&M Transmission shifter. A Strange Engineering S60 rearend turns Holeshot wheels and Mickey Thompson tires.

Oberlander and Russell fabricated an 8.50-cert roll cage and also boxed and braced the original truck frame to make the 4,200-pound pickup. The suspension is still stock-style leafs with Caltracs and Funkhouser brackets, and the custom anti-roll bar is from Trick Chassis.

Russell competed in his first Hot Rod Drag Week in 2021 and entered his first Sick Week event in 2024, but broke the rearend pinion on day one. That has since been repaired by Henderson Driveline, and Russell took the opportunity to order a Gear Vendors overdrive unit.

“I have to thank the Rat Pack,” says Russell of the local group of racers all helping each other out. “Big Ricky has done all the engineering, Charlie Minerovic did the bodywork, Jeff Lilly helped with bodywork, Jay Honsaker fabricated and CNC-machined parts and did some body work, Ken Deacon, Mike and Tom Dawes worked with the wiring and EFI, drag-and-drive co-pilot Gary Thompson helped fabricate steering parts, cousin Rich Seminsky of Parma Transmission built the transmission, and Bubba Raferty of 501 Perfect Converter supplied the torque converter.”

Once the Li’l Red Express is ready to deliver again, Russell said they will be joining more drag-and-drive events later this year.
More Photos: http://www.thehemi.com/gallery3/index.p ... o-6-4-HEMI

I have always been a fan of the Li'l Red Express trucks. This one is just crazy!

#Dodge #LilRedExpress #DodgeLilRedExpress #HEMI #64HEMI #TwinTurbo #Mopar
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