The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

By Forrest Hershberger
Sidney Sun-Telegraph 

Phillips 'Li'l Red Express' Featured in Vintage Truck Magazine


September 11, 2019

Courtesy Photo

The late 1970s was a time of 8-track radios, CB radios, 55 mph interstate speed limits and the Dodge Li'l Red Express.

Owning one has been a passion of John Phillips since then.

He first got a close-up look at one when he and a friend stopped at a Dodge dealer in Grand Junction, Colo., in the summer of 1979. They didn't have the fee to test drive it, much less the purchase price, but convinced the salesman to let them test drive it.

That was then. Life moved on. He got married and became the owner/operator of the movie theater. But the young man's dream of owning a pickup with a blend of the trucking excitement and a fun half-ton hauler never left him. In 2014, he and his wife Kim were in Scottsbluff for a medical appointment when he was told of a 1979 Dodge Li'l Red Express for sale at an auto body shop. He found it at Timmy's Dent in Mitchell.

He learned the owners were a couple who moved to the area from Missouri where it won numerous awards.

A week later, the Phillips returned from Mitchell with their prize as the third owner of a a 1979 Li'l Red Express. The truck had only 75,000 miles on it when they purchased it, and a ceiling full of magnets from the many car shows it was entered.

By this point in time, the Li'l Red Express needed a makeover, and so John obliged. They purchased a kit to replace the bed floor and box sides. The pickup's over-the-road truck flare continues with the chrome smoke stacks and stepside bed. The pickup also came stock with a CB radio and optional bucket seats. Phillips said the previous owner removed the heater and installed a heating and air conditioning system.


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