Home » Remember When Dodge Sold ‘Adult Toys’ Called Macho and Warlock?

Remember When Dodge Sold ‘Adult Toys’ Called Macho and Warlock?

Adultdodge Ts

We live in a fairly puritanical time, in some ways much more so than in previous decades. The concerns of the Mighty Advertiser have triumphed over all, so you get songs with swears bleeped out on the radio and a soft, family-friendly touch on a great deal of media. You couldn’t picture an automaker touting its new line of ‘Adult Toys’ today, but in the 1970s, that’s precisely what Dodge did.

No, I’m not kidding, that’s literally verbatim from the Dodge Pickup Trucks ’78 brochure. It was a big year for Dodge, with the launch of its first diesel truck, and the Lil’ Red Express becoming the fastest American production vehicle by dodging catalytic converter regulations. But it’s also the year that the company boasted about “Two Adult Toys, fresh out of America’s fastest growing truck company.”

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And the name of those adult toys? Macho and Warlock. You can’t make this stuff up.

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via eBay.
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“Fun in your truckin’?” They knew exactly what they were doing.

Let’s Have Some Fun

Dodge came up with the idea of selling so-called “trick trucks” in the mid-1970s. It would build rad trucks with plenty of visual dress-up parts and sell them right out of the dealership. After all, customers wanted trucks that looked badass. Why should Dodge leave the aftermarket cash in when it could capture those dollars directly?

The up-kitted models actually started appearing a little before the ‘Adult Toys’ campaign itself. For example, the Warlock actually started limited production in 1976, before becoming more widely available in 1977. From my research, the full push was well in earnest by 1978. That’s when the ‘Adult Toys’ branding first shows up in Dodge’s mainline pickup brochure, though the term started popping up in other advertising as early as 1977. Indeed, the advertising film below has a copyright date for that year.


“Adult Toys From Dodge” 1977. An interesting choice in advertising campaign. From Super8 Film
byu/Telvin3d inDodge

Dodge D Series 1976 Wallpapers 1
The Warlock was a bold, imposing machine when optioned in black.


The Warlock is one of the better-known examples of Dodge’s Adult Toys, with the short-wheelbase truck looking best in Formal Black. You could score one in other colors too – Bright Canyon Red, Medium Green, Sunfire Metallic, Citron Green Metallic, or Sunrise Orange were all options, but none quite fit the Warlock name as well as the foreboding black.

Inside, you got bucket seats instead of a typical bench, with a black interior and an optional sunroof over your head if so desired. Outside, it wore gold stripes, oak sideboards on the bed, and a sick set of chrome-plated running boards. To fill out the wheel wells, it also scored a set of wider chrome wheels and fat tires to match.

The Warlock was about show, not go, and didn’t come with any performance upgrades as standard. You could option it with the regular engines available across the Dodge D-Series range. The idea was just to sell something that looked cool as hell. Dodge didn’t particularly mind if the trucks weren’t fast, and neither did a lot of customers. It was the middle of the Malaise era, and most everything was choked by emissions regulations anyway.

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The Macho Power Wagon.

Meanwhile, if you were a real tough bastard who needed to project a total lack of insecurity with your vehicle, you could grab yourself the Macho Power Wagon instead. I’m kidding. It’s actually just a pretty sweet truck with mods far less over the top than your garden-variety brodozer today.

The Macho Power Wagon came standard with Dodge’s full-time 4WD system, and a 318 cubic inch V8 under the hood as standard for a little more go. There was also a roll bar in the bed, along with a suitably 1970s decal package on the outside.

As an aside, the 1978 pickup brochure had some casual sexism too, as typical. Dodge was more than happy to sell a woman a truck, but it had already pre-judged what she might use it for. A man needed a tough vehicle for moving hockey sticks and cinder blocks, but a woman needed a soft ride for her … “chores.” Blech.

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I can’t even.
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Legit, who wouldn’t love to take a Dodge D100 down to Swensen’s Ice Cream Factory? How is that a chore?

More Toys In The Box

The branding wasn’t just limited to Dodge’s pickups, either. Ads for the ‘Adult Toys’ lineup also included the Four by Four Ramcharger, which previewed the SUV craze that would one day take the industry by storm. It was four-wheel-drive, and had a topless bodystyle for fun in the sun, perfectly befitting the ‘Adult Toys’ ethos. Hilariously, in 1979, the diminutive Dodge D50 minitruck would also be advertised under the same banner, even if it was little more than a rebadged Mitsubishi.

Dodge’s Street Van also played a big role in the ‘Adult Toys’ campaign. Latching on to the burgeoning custom van craze, Dodge offered a version of its Tradesman van that was specifically designed for customization. It was sold with plenty of chrome and with a swathe of bright color options and came with a “Customizing Idea Kit” from the factory. This included full-size templates for cutting custom interior carpets and the like, along with guides to different paint schemes for the outside. Dodge also encouraged owners to fit portholes, sunroofs, or other unique touches to make their vans truly their own.

Dodge 1978 Truck
The Ramcharger is up front, with the Macho Power Wagon off to the left, and the Street Van in the rear. Note the Warlock in green on the left—doesn’t quite hit the same, right?

Dodge 1978 Street Van

It’s also worth noting the role the popular Lil’ Red Express played in the Dodge lineup at this time. As far as I’ve been able to find out, the muscle truck that started it all wasn’t actually a part of the ‘Adult Toys’ campaign. It had its own marketing materials and was sold as a highly specialized model for 1978 to thread through an EPA loophole that closed in 1979. Trucks built for that model year sat on dealer lots as they were far less appealing when lacking the same performance as the 1978 model.

I could be wrong about the above statement, of course. But as far as I’ve seen, the ‘Adult Toys’ campaigns simply didn’t feature the Lil’ Red Express.


When was the last time an automaker went this hard on encouraging customization?

The Times, They Are a-Changin’

From my research, 1980 was the last year that Dodge used the Adult Toys branding. Flip through Dodge’s pickup brochure from 1980, and you’ll see the decals and colors had shifted to meet the new decade. The final D-50 Sport and Macho Power Wagon looked killer when clad in black, orange, and yellow. Street Vans were still happening too, but it wasn’t to last.


1980 Dodge Pickup 08 09 (2)


By 1981, it was all over. The Dodge Van brochure that year featured a page on “The Fun Van” but the graphics were tamer and the crazy portholes and windows were all gone. It was a new decade, and the zeitgeist was moving on from the custom van craze. Similarly, the 1981 pickup brochure made no mention of marital aids at all.

The campaign was a little risque and was fitting for the era. The sexual revolution had washed over the U.S. like a crashing, salty wave, and attitudes in society had shifted significantly. A little cheek in advertising was well-received by the younger market. Plus, adult toys were very much coming into vogue at the time. They might have been invented in the 19th century, but it was in the 1960s and 1970s that they began to slowly enter the mainstream.

In any case, it’s a marketing campaign we’re unlikely to see the likes of again. As our media focus has shifted online, platforms have begun enforcing ever more restrictions on tone and content. You couldn’t run it on TikTok, and it’d probably be uncomfortable on YouTube too. Never mind that the underage segment buys precious few new vehicles, the world has changed.


Image credits: Dodge

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1 month ago

I really wish baddass vans would stage a comeback…

1 month ago

I can see Dodge bringing this back in full Carls JR mode. Kuniskis probably has “Sex sells” somewhere scribbled in his notebook on how to market the new EVs.

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
1 month ago

> They might have been invented in the 19th century

They were invented tens of thousands of years ago.

Last edited 1 month ago by The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
1 month ago

Watched the campaign video, and I have to admit all that truckin’ scrubbin’ hosin’ sprayin’ wipin’ and kite flyin’ got to me

1 month ago

I shared this with my dad who has told me I was conceived in the back of his shag carpet 77 Sportsman ‘lifestyle’ van…. He rocked these vans into the late 80s, and always had a beat down square body pickup for his work truck, cause the van had to stay pretty. Years later the family got a Caravan around the time I really got into cars. And 13 yr old me found the crate of old car mags in the basement and I read them all. I remember seeing these Dodge ‘Adult Toys’ ads with all the braless babes and cool bros drinking beer and having fun. And TV re-runs were full of jiggle tv, as it was called. So awesome, fun times and memories! Thanks for not conceiving me in a minivan parents!!!

1 month ago

These are awesome

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