Ultimate Diesel Builder's Guide - - Con­tents - Text / Pho­tog­ra­phy: Joe Daniels

Short is Sweet for the Quar­ter Mile

One of the more fa­mous wheel-stand­ing pick­ups on the ’60s drag rac­ing scene was Bill “Mav­er­ick” Golden’s Dodge, “Lit­tle Red Wagon.” The ’60s Dodge A100 cab for­ward racer had a blown 426 hemi in the bed and would carry and hold the front wheels in the air the en­tire length of the drag strip. The 11-sec­ond drag truck de­buted in 1965 at Lions Drag Strip and wowed the crowd with its wheel-stand­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

While Chris Hug­gins’ 2500 Dodge Ram is cer­tainly no wheel­stander, it eas­ily could be called the Lit­tle Red Wagon of the diesel world since it’s built on a short­ened chas­sis and is an 11-sec­ond drag race ma­chine. Hug­gins, a part­ner in G&H Per­for­mance in Texarkana, Texas, fig­ured the Viper Red ma­chine would turn a few heads and show­case some of the tal­ents of his shop.

When you start with a stan­dard cab, long-bed 1995 Dodge 2500, short­en­ing it 16.5 inches into a short-bed model, us­ing a half-ton bed, it’s strictly a mat­ter of us­ing a cut­ting torch and welder. The stock eight-lug rear end was re­tained, com­plete with 3:73

gear­ing, although some mi­nor low­er­ing was done to level the truck. Cut coils drop the front end while a shackle and spring hanger setup, com­plete with a sin­gle leaf spring, low­ers the rear. Bil­stein shocks and a set of Cal­trac bars keep the rub­ber in con­tact with the road.

Speak­ing of rub­ber, and in true hot rod fash­ion, the truck is fit­ted with semi-skin­nys in the front and fat tires out back for trac­tion. Up front are 295/45R20 Toyos mounted on 20-inch XD Mon­ster wheels, while the rear is shod with 305/50R20s also wrapped around XD Mon­ster hoops. The bed of the truck is all busi­ness, fit­ted with a 20-gal­lon alu­minum fuel tank and a sin­gle Op­tima Red Top, which feeds power to twin Derale oil cool­ers.

What does all the “talkin’” on the drag truck is a 12-valve Cum­mins fit­ted with a Hamil­ton Cams camshaft, hard­ened pushrods and 110-pound valve

springs. A com­pound Sch­witzer turbo setup uti­liz­ing a 64mm unit on top of a 480 gen­er­ates up to 80 psi of boost.

On the fu­el­ing side, Diesel Per­for­mance En­gi­neer­ing did the cus­tom mods on the P7100 pump and also sup­plied a set of 518 in­jec­tors. Ex­haust is routed out a 5-inch pow­der­coated ex­haust sys­tem ex­it­ing be­hind the rear tire. Hug­gins claims the hot-rod­ded 12-valve makes more than 800 horse­power and around 900 ft-lb of torque, enough to push the 5,000-pound truck through the traps in the 11.50-sec­ond range.

Get­ting all that power to the ground re­quired a trans­mis­sion up­grade. The orig­i­nal 47RH was dumped in fa­vor of a built 48RE fit­ted with a man­ual valve body and Chee­tah shifter. Terry Brown, also of Texarkana, is cred­ited with the trans build that in­cludes a Diesel Per­for­mance Con­vert­ers torque con­verter. A cus­tom drive­shaft ties it all to­gether.

Hug­gins’ Lit­tle Red Wagon also gen­er­ates a lot of looks, thanks to sim­ple up­grades such as an SRT fiber­glass hood, and front bumper and spoiler assem­bly. A roll pan sub­sti­tutes for the orig­i­nal bumper out back while the fuel door and tail­gate han­dles were shaved smooth. Ricky Cham­pion, Steven Grif­fith and Pa­trick Wa­ters are cred­ited with the body mods and ap­ply­ing the Viper Red paint.

On the in­side, things are strictly busi­ness, which is what you’d ex­pect on a drag truck. While there are two Cor­beau rac­ing seats, one for a brave pas­sen­ger, the fac­tory dash and car­pet­ing are re­tained with a set of Dipri­col gauges keep­ing track of vitals.

Chris Hug­gins ad­mits he’s still tun­ing and tweak­ing on the truck. In orig­i­nal trim, with a dif­fer­ent fuel sys­tem, the truck ran in the 12s. With the new cam setup and fu­el­ing, the truck runs mid-11s all day long. Not bad for a Lit­tle Red Wagon. UDBG

The lit­tle red short-bed is fit­ted with an 800-horse­power 12-valve Cum­mins with a com­pound turbo setup and plenty of go-fast in­ter­nals. Fuel for the mod­i­fied P7100 in­jec­tion pump and DPE 518 in­jec­tors comes from a 20-gal­lon alu­minum fuel tank in the bed.

Twin Derale oil cool­ers and an Op­tima Red Top bat­tery are also bed-mounted. Fiber­glass Dodge SRT body work, in­clud­ing the hood and front fas­cia, com­ple­ment the body-col­ored sport grille.

Out back, power is put to the ground via 305/50R20 Toyos mounted on 20-inch XD Mon­ster wheels. Also vis­i­ble is the 5-inch pow­der­coated, straight-pipe ex­haust.

Rolling stock on the front con­sists of 295/45R/20 Toyos mounted on 20-inch XD Mon­ster wheels.

Au­totrim of Texarkana is cred­ited with fresh­en­ing the in­te­rior of the truck and adding two Cor­beau rac­ing seats. A-pil­lar-mounted Dipri­col gauges keep track of the 12-valve.

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