Worth Fixing? 1-Of-107 1971 Dodge Challenger

This is a low production 1971 Dodge Challenger. Out of 27,377 of the cars built in its second year, just 107 of them were shipped with a 300 hp, 383 V8 with 4-speed manual transmission. That’s the good news. The bad news is that this car was involved in a garage fire and most of the auto was affected. While optimists may see restoration potential here, perhaps being a parts car is more realistic. Located in Moreno Valley, California, this Challenger is available here on craigslist for $6,500. Thanks, rex m, for finding this tip for us!

After a successful launch of the Dodge Challenger in 1970, sales dropped off considerably the second year. The same thing happened to the Plymouth Barracuda which shared the new E-body platform with the Challenger. While the Barracuda had been around in 1964 (the same month the Ford Mustang debuted), the Challenger came late to the pony car party. By the time it got there, the muscle car movement was starting to cool off, which also impacted sales of the compact-sized ponies. In 1971, Dodge built 18,956 Challengers with a V8 engine in standard hardtop trim, the number drops to just a few dozen equipped the way the seller’s car is/was.

This Challenger is offered as part of a fire sale. No, not the kind where everything is discounted to move out all the stock, but an actual fire in the garage where this car lived. We’re not told the condition of the car before the fire, but it looks as though little escaped its wrath. The seller does have some good news: the original engine and transmission were not damaged in the blaze and the hood and front fenders are not warped from the resulting heat. But the interior is toast (sorry, bad pun) and the roof and trunk lid actually look a tad melted. So, there are some parts that can be saved if you have a Challenger that needs these parts.

Whether someone would want to attempt a restoration on this car is another story. I’d have to wonder about the structural integrity of the car at this point. Hagerty pegs one of these cars in top condition is worth $35,000 and up. The car has a clean and not a salvage title, so presumably this car has not been processed by an insurance company. Its DMV history is also clean. The seller is willing to deliver within the California/Nevada/Arizona tri-state area.

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Comments

  1. Moparman Member

    $6500 for a front clip, engine/transmission and possibly a rear end? (IMO) I don’t think the sum total of parts is worth that much. I’ve always heard that car bodies subjected to fire lose their temper and are no longer structurally sound, so I would think restoration is out of the question. However, GLWTS!! :-)

    Like 24
  2. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    I’m with Moparman on this one. It’s a parts car and from the look of it, not too many parts. I think the seller is hoping the fact that it used to be a Dodge Challenger is enough to justify the ask but from what I can see, the price is overly optimistic. He might find somebody who is willing to pay it because that buyer is looking for a date correct engine and trans but other than that the sellers price is wishful thinking.

    Like 14
  3. Steve R

    The seller made sure to highlight it has the original engine and transmission plus it has a clean California title because he’s looking for a buyer that wants to do a VIN swap.

    Steve R

    Like 28
    • Cole B

      completely agree. a 383 4spd Challenger is cool, but the cost to restore that one back would be twice the going sell rate. the grille on a ’71 is TOUGH to find (they repro a ’70 only at this time) and not cheap. all metalwork can be done, send it to the AMD shop and $25k later you’ll have a nice body back … then another $20k in interior/exterior trim …. another $15k for the drivetrain/rear. surely it’s worth doing …..

      Like 1
  4. Hans L

    I always wondered if you can reasonable restore a fire-damaged car. Too often you read about a rare car collection that caught fire. You see a pic or two and can’t quite understand why you can’t restore it…but looking at this one, especially how warped the rear trunk area is and how the metal dash area in the interior is basically crumpled, you realize that it’s not viable. Just too much damage to the metal structure everywhere. Sad.

    Like 2
    • Steve S.

      The fire changes the metallurgy of the steel; makes it brittle and I’ve read that paint won’t stick to it.

      No, this Challenger has had it. But you can stick the engine and VIN tag on a brand new reproduction body from Dynacorn.

      Like 9
      • Steve R

        You can’t use a reproduction body on a restoration. They aren’t exact duplicates, there are tell tale signs and knowledge people will pick up the differences. Dynacorn bodies are good for Pro Touring projects or a project that won’t come under close scrutiny when being sold, restoration of a desirable model will.

        Steve R

        Like 4
    • gary rhodes

      Every body panel is reproduced for these, be a worthwhile project for someone with some time in their hands. Ive seen way worse restored

      Like 1
      • Mikey P

        Gary I would LOVE to have some of what you’re smoking… Seems like really good Bammer weed!!

        Like 1
      • BeCarSmart Member

        Me too……but my broken record……at WHAT COST?

        Answer…..way more than the car will ever be worth.

        Especially when you can buy one that did not burn to the ground, you can trust the restoration and is unmolested for far less.

        Like 2
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      Graveyard Cars did one – the Phoenix Cuda.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6oxNPTKmSU

      Only because it was a Hemi with documented history.
      They replaced just about the entire body including the roof.

      Like 1
    • Cole B

      AMD makes just about every sheet metal part to make this whole again …. but at what cost? AMDs pro shop would charge @ $20-25k to make it whole again. add another $20k for interior/exterior trim. another $15k for drivetrain. now you own a $35k car for $60k+.

  5. Al

    At last, another candidate has arrived.

    I think it should be mounted on a plinth for all to see MoPar’s answer to the Mouse-tang.
    Possibly, a plimsoll-line should be painted on the plinth, so that the edifice appears above the inundation of flood waters this spring.

    The customized trunk lid is inspiring, it adds another dimension to its beauty.

    Like 7
  6. James Ballas

    I’ll give him $65.00 for it

    Like 5
    • Al

      Oh come on, the front wheels have got to be worth something.

      Like 4
    • BeCarSmart Member

      That beats my high bid of $50 !!

      Like 2
  7. ron alexander

    Looks to me the name challenger is most accurate…..not good for restoration……and far from 6500.00………..maybe….6.50?

    Like 4
  8. James Martin

    Mopar weed! And this guy is either high on it or hoping some other Mopar guy is. Metal is to warped. So no sheet metal is worth a crap. Motor who knows, water damage, fire damage? So what is left? Trans rear-end? Cowl tag? $650 maybe.

    Like 2
  9. John Oliveri

    Think it’s toast, so it’s a Vin tag swap, anyone sitting on a nice 318 or 6 cylinder body is gonna be ok w 6500,00 cause he’s got a nice clone

    Like 2
  10. gary rhodes

    If it was some pile of crap Camaro you tards would be all over it

    Like 3
  11. Charles Sawka

    Simple answer to the question. NO

    Like 1
  12. JCA

    Good engine and trans…maybe I can drive it home then, what do you think?

    Like 1
    • Al

      The front end doesn’t have a hitch on it.

      Like 5
  13. Al

    Worth it to someone that has a stolen one or knows where to find one. Then its the tag & engine swap, repaint & done.

  14. Courtney

    Have a friend who has a convertible ’71 he had it from highschool. A few years back he restored it to its original. Cost him a pile of money and his was in good shape. Can’t see this one ever being fixed. Parts car for sure.

    Like 1
    • Mikey P

      what parts????

      Like 1
  15. wardww

    I’ve seen Graveyard Carz restore worse burned wrecks than this one, but those were sentimental restos where money was secondary. You would have to run the numbers closely on this one but I suspect that it may not be worth it, even at 1 of 107.

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