Classic Dodge Pickups Go To Auction


I hesitate to post this information on two extraordinary examples of Dodge truck history going to auction because I’m more than slightly tempted to renege on my commitment to fund my kids’ college educations so I can bid on them myself.

September 25 and 26, one of the famous “Little Red Wagon” dragsters and the one-off “Deora” concept will be up for sale at RM Auctions’ Icons of Speed & Style Auction at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. The one-offs are based on the 1965 Dodge A100 unibody compact pickup truck, which was produced from 1964-70.

Like the similarly styled Ford Econoline and Chevrolet Corvair pickups, the A100 featured “forward-control” seating over the truck’s front axle. Unlike the Corvair, though, the A100’s standard slant-six and optional V-8 engines were positioned between the driver and front passenger, while the Corvair used rear-mounted motors.

1965 Dodge A100 Little Red Wagon

The Little Red Wagon started off in Chrysler’s Special Equipment Division as an after-hours project to build an A100 pickup powered by a 425-horsepower, 426-cubic-inch Hemi V-8. The optional production V-8 for the A100 at the time was only 273 cubic inches. Dodge PR chief Frank Wylie found out about the skunk works effort and turned the Little Red Wagon into an officially sanctioned program, entering it in public drag-strip competitions to show off its Hemi power. With extra help from a nitro boost, so much power was sent to the rear wheels that the Little Red Wagon instantly became famous for standing up on its rear wheels when the lights turned green and the accelerator hit the floor. The Little Red Wagon could run the quarter-mile with its wheels up in the mid 11-second range, at 120 mph. During the past four decades, there have been six Little Red Wagon Dodge A-100 wheelstanders.

1965 Dodge Deora Concept Truck

As if the A100’s forward-control styling weren’t radical enough in the mid-60s, the Deora’s still-futuristic shape was penned by a former designer from General Motors, Harry Bentley Bradley. Bradley threw out every body panel from the A100. Instead of conventional side-opening doors, he created a forward-entry passenger compartment as the way to climb into the cabin. Not even the steering wheel was left untouched; it was replaced with airplane-style hand grips and mounted on the driver’s left side. Brothers Mike and Larry Alexander brought Bradley’s design to life for the show circuit. The Deora captured the imagination of crowds around the country as it toured the auto show circuit. Bradley eventually went on to become a designer at Mattel, where the Deora became part of the original Hot Wheels lineup. After languishing in storage for decades, the Deora was restored to show condition in 1998.

[Historic Information Sources: RM Auctions, Truckin' Magazine and Motor Trend]


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