What’s more American than a Dodge pickup? Built in the Warren Truck Assembly plant in Warren, Michigan, they came from the heart of the American Automotive industry when America still produced the best cars right here! Unlike modern truck manufacturers, Dodge went in feet first to creating lines of trucks that were goofy, cool, and iconic – there’s not been anything that has come close ever since! At JD’s Auto Repair, we’re celebrating our three favorite Dodge trucks of the 1970s – the Dodge Warlock, Lil Red Express, and The Dude!
Dodge Warlock (’77-’79)
The Warlock shot onto the scene for only three years at the end of the ‘70s, but boy did it make an impression! At something between a hotrod and a goofy farmer’s truck, it could pull off being in both a city or country environment, but really never looked like it belonged to either! The imposing wide grill gave it a somewhat serious image, only for it to expose the ridiculously out of place wooden tailgate and slats around the bed once it drove past! However, for all its aesthetic oddity, you’d hope it packed a punch under the hood… Unfortunately, not! The three main variations included a 225-cu-in slant-six with 110ho, a 318-cu-in V8 with 145hp, and a 360-cu-in V8 with 160hp – not exactly the most inspiring engine, but then again, who cares about that when it looks so great, right?!
Lil Red Express (’78-’79)
You had to be lightning quick to get your hands on one of these! They were only in production for two years! Luckily for Dodge, their production of the Li’l Red fell at the perfect time when engine power was BIG and legal restrictions were small. As a result, this truck had no catalytic converter compromising engine power, and Dodge bravely decided to stick a 360 V8 under the hood for good measure! Just so you’d know it was an immensely powerful truck, the manufacturers decided to stick a great big exhaust stack on the side, as if it was shouting “hey! Look at me!”.
The Dude (’70-’71)
Just the name alone made this truck legendary, but it could also be seen as the design that made goofy looking trucks a new trend in the ‘70s! The dude was basically a “snazzied up” regular Dodge truck, with the manufacturers realizing that farmers and folk out in the country were interested in more than just plain old trucks for their day to day driving. Whoever had the genius idea of sticking an image of a cowboy hat on the side, just so cowboys knew it was for them, should really have got a promotion!
It’s sad that car manufacturers nowadays don’t inject the same amount of goofiness and comical-punch that Dodge did to its trucks in the ‘70s! But the days of vehicles not taking themselves too seriously are long gone. These trucks are a good reminder that there’s more to vehicle design than just sleek paint jobs and sporty-looking aesthetics – sometimes people just want a little comic relief from their truck or car!