Doing nearly everything himself in his home garage, Michael admitted that besides the flogging carburetor, his greatest obstacle was chasing the miles of underdash wires trailing a faulty oil-pressure gauge. In addition to that, it was steady, tenacious work that got his truck back together.

He did send the body out for paint, wanting the required professional touch that he knew he couldn't get in a small two-car residential garage. John Murphy of Lewisburg, Kentucky, was brought onto the project to give the rig the final touch.

Leaving one last task for himself, Michael, a woodworking hobbyist, hand-cut, shaped, stained, and polished every piece of wood lining the Utiline's bed. Michael is especially proud of the labor it required, and regrets not a minute of it. Figuring he was on a roll, Michael went ahead and carved himself a one-twelfth scale replica of his Li'L Red to show off. pleased with the outcome of the three-year resto, he sold his first Li'l Red Express in 2000. This icon of Dodge Trucks' "Adult Toys Line" is evidence that lots of determination, will, and elbow grease are enough to bring one of these "Last American Hot Rods" back to life.

Fast Facts
Owner: Michael Masters, Flemingsburg, Kentucky
Body: '79 Li'l Red Express Truck Adventurer 150
Engine: EH1 High Performance 360, 4-bbl. Holley Dual, snorkel fresh air cleaner, E-58 iron cylinder heads
Transmission: A-727 Loadflight, 2,500 stall torque converter
Rearend: 3.55:1 posi.
Wheels/Tires: 15x8-inch chrome five-slot disc road wheels, Goodyear LR60x15