LITTLE RED WAGON
SHORT IS SWEET FOR THE QUARTER MILE
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