It all started in 1964 when Jim Schaeffer and John Collier built the original Little Red Wagon to match race in the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Altered Factory Experimental (A/FX) class. Bolting a 7.0-liter (426 cubic-inch) HEMI V8 into the bed of a Dodge A100 cab-over pickup created hair-raising driving characteristics, so Dick Branstner Enterprises and Roger Lindamood were brought in to make it work. It was still an almost impossible vehicle to pilot; the geometry and physics just weren’t there. However, Jay Howell drove Little Red Wagon at Lion’s Drag Strip in 1965, the truck’s first public appearance, performing a nose-up pass that astonished fans and made the cover of Chrysler’s shop magazine, Bin & Bench.
Frank Wylie, Chrysler’s director of marketing, put together a program where Little Red Wagon was sold to drag racer Bill “Maverick” Golden for use at drag racing events around the country, all the while being featured in Dodge truck advertising of the time. It was one of the most popular, well-known promotional vehicles ever built and served from 1965 to 2003. A few accidents occurred, but nothing too devastating until 1975, when Little Red Wagon tumbled end-over-end multiple times, ultimately being destroyed. Golden continued to tour with it though, and fans always loved seeing it.
In 1977, Golden built a new version of Little Red Wagon to not only honor the original Little Red Wagon but to keep racing as well, earning a spot in the “Guinness Book of World Records” for completing a 4,230-foot-long pass with the wheels up. Fitted with a fuel-injected 426 HEMI V8 and automatic transmission mounted in the bed, this Little Red Wagon served for a time as the centerpiece of “Big Daddy” Don Garlits’ Museum. Presented in red with gold livery, the interior features a black and gold seat, red carpeting, a custom dashboard, pushbutton shifter, Stewart Warner gauges, and a chrome roll bar. A hugely significant vehicle, Little Red Wagon is still widely regarded as one of the most popular exhibition vehicles ever built.
Little Red Wagon will go to auction at the Mecum Kissimmee event on Saturday, January 15th, 2022 as part of the Jackie and Gary Runyon Collection. The Runyons have enjoyed a lifetime of collecting unique vehicles, especially factory drag cars from the 1960s. In recent years, however, they have been enjoying a shift in their life trajectory while letting their cars pass into the hands of new caretakers.
In 2017, the Runyons sold off a number of their cars at that year’s Kissimmee sale, and they’re now set to bring a few more out of their private stables, with the selection they’ve chosen for Kissimmee 2022 standing as a varied one, ranging from exotics and classics to a variety of Hot Rods and customs, many of which are sure to gain the attention of bidders and spectators alike this January.
Mecum suggests that the Little Red Wagon could bring somewhere in the range of $125,000 to $175,000 USD when it crosses the auction block. To see more of this awesome wheelstander or more of the Jackie and Gary Runyon Collection, you can visit the Mecum website.
1969 Dodge A100 “Little Red Wagon” Wheelstander Image Gallery: