27k Mile Drop-Top: 1971 Dodge Challenger

The Dodge Challenger was the last “pony car” to join the movement that was started in the mid-1960s by the Ford Mustang. From 1970-74, the car shared its new E-body platform with the reinvented Plymouth Barracuda, although no sheet metal was common between the two. Convertibles were the lesser-seen body style, including this second-year Challenger drop-top. Needing some rust repair, this otherwise clean and nice running car is available in Albany, New York, and here on eBay. The seller has set a reserve which is unmet so far at $25,600.

Dodge built 77,000 Challengers in its first year, so it was well-received by Mopar fans. But many of them were performance editions that came out at a time when the genre was beginning to wane due to growing concerns about pollution and rising insurance premiums. So, sales for the second season, 1971, dropped to just 27,377 cars, of which 1,857 were “regular” convertibles (i.e., not the R/T model). Of those 1,774 had a V8 engine and the 318 small block was the most common, as in the seller’s car.

At what may be just 27,000 miles, we’re told this Dodge is mostly original. It wears GF7 Dark Green Metallic paint that is flanked by a clean tan interior (with a seldom-seen bench seat) and a matching convertible top, which was replaced a couple of years ago. Though the paint looks good in many of the photos, there is rust present in most of the southern portions of the sheet metal. This includes the rear quarter panels, doors, and front fenders. The seller has patch panels for the quarters, and they will accompany the purchase.

We’re told that the Challenger runs well, thanks to a new gas tank and exhaust system, and it has new tires on Rallye wheels. The entry-level V8 and automatic transmission perform as they should and this car had factory A/C when new, but the hardware for that under the hood is no longer there. If the cost of repairing the rust doesn’t get carried away, this Dodge could have the makings of a fairly rare car you could show off within Chrysler circles.


  1. GuernseyPagoda

    It said something in the write up about a special hood, which you MOPAR gurus can speak to, but is it supposed to be a different color? It sure looks like it……..

    Like 2
    • 370zpp 370zpp Member

      This is one of those special, hard to find “looks like its always open” hoods, so popular in the 70s.

      Like 10
  2. Moparman Member

    The hood is possibly from an R/T model, as it has the 340 engine call out emblems upon it, which was not done w/ the 318 engine. It also has the RARE bench seat w/ armrest option as well to go w/ the column shifter. I’d source a set of the (removed) front bumper guards, and restore the A/C components, repair/paint and drive this beauty! GLWTA!! :-)

    Like 5
    • Chris

      Yes, this is not the correct hood for a 318 car. Still, a tasteful upgrade, though I’d have kept the flat hood just because everyone puts these hoods on. You rarely ever see the flat hoods anymore.

      Like 3
  3. Matt Murray

    Looks like R/T scoops on front side of rear quarters also

    Like 3
  4. Howie Mueler

    Just under $28k now, with reserve not met. If i was selling i would have some great photos with the top down.

    Like 2
  5. Big Bear

    Yes. 225 and 318 had a flat hood. Since this is a 71. Every 71 I seen had quarter scoops .(Dummies) Being a bench seat with the buddy arm rest is a cool set up. You can have your girl next to you while cruising. Now… Those rust areas can be very serious. That’s gone take some doing. After doing the body work repainting it. I would keep the hood just match the paint I would add aftermarket air conditioning. The factory air compressor sucked the life from the motor when you turn on the AC. And hopefully there’s no other issues with the suspension and steering and you got yourself a nice ride. PS. 318 is a good motor you could do some mild stuff to it Nice 4-barrel intake and maybe a 500 CFM 4-barrel no more than that. Good luck to the next owner. 🇺🇸🐻🇺🇸

    Like 4
  6. Jack

    Do not remember ever seeing a dual snorkel air cleaner on a 318 in that year, at least here in Canada. Almost looks like it may be a 340 engine or someone put a 340 intake & cleaner on it.

    • Gary

      It is a nice look, though.

  7. Captain RD

    If the Top goes down the price goes up — perfect example.
    Excellent mid-level Pony car to own if rust repair does not scare you.
    Really nice looking style!

    Like 1
  8. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    I haven’t seen many non-console, non-bucket Challengers. Barracudas had them far more often.

    Like 2
  9. MoPar Mike

    I almost traded my 70 Challenger FJ5 ragtop and some cash on top for this car as I liked the color combination and bench seat but after some better pics and thinking I declined as they both pretty much need the same repair. Plus transportation cost from KS to NY and back. I question the mileage, with that low of mileage why was the engine pulled and at least repainted a different color? I’m sure the J54 hood was not original. I suspect it was a bucket seat car originally as it has the holes and reinforcement plates that have had nuts on them. For a northeastern car (if not a transplant) the rust is minimal, definitely a worthy driver as is or resto candidate.

    Like 3
  10. Dave

    Russ, not sure I agree with your comment in regards to the waning desire for performance cars in 1971-1972.having to do with a growing concern about pollution. Fuel shortages, costs and insurance were reasons why buyers shied away. The government might have had those concerns but us hot car buyers didn’t know what climate issues were back then.

    Like 1

    Never seen 1/4 scoops, Dont know how that happened if all 71,s had them.I have always aware of those. As far as the motor If it just a 318 you can still do a lot. I have a 75 318 I had built up that should go good for my 71 fc7 duster. The 318 is bored .030,10 and1/4 pistons,balanced rotating assy. Topped off with “J” heads, torker intake and either a 600 or 750 afb. and headers with tuned exhaust. That should run as good as a 340, maybe better. Hope to get it going soon.I,m not a wizard with engines but got a lot of advise. and i had a performance shop do the work, put the short block together. Any body in the know think thats a good build?

  12. Stevieg Member

    I really like this car a lot. Unusual seating arrangement, top goes down, a decent little V-8 that won’t brake the bank as far as fuel economy. If bought for the right price, this could be a great purchase!
    I don’t even like green, but that wouldn’t stop me with this one!

    Like 1
  13. david m wohlfeil

    Well I bought this Challenger. Who ever owned it previously replaced the trunk pan and frame rail replaced the seats to bench as they were bucket seats.( no center console) replaced the vert top with new pumps and lines, repaired a transmission seal added a double roller and rebuilt the carburetor. Runs good. The fender tag and build sheet came with it, he did add the front and rear spoilers as well as the side scoops. it actually shows 21,789 miles, bought new Fairlawn Chrysler in Vigrinia Restoration stars soon. Wish me luck Gents!

    Like 2
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      Congrats David, and enjoy this droptop!

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