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340-Powered 1971 Dodge Challenger R/T?

This was a pretty cool car when it was new! Butterscotch paint, R/T package, floor shift automatic, 340 V8… Wait, what? I thought the 383 was the standard engine in the R/T and that the only options were the 440 and the 426 Hemi. In ’70 you could get the 340 powered T/A, but that was a one year deal. The 340 was optional on the base Challenger. So, what is going on here? The seller claims that everything is numbers matching and that it’s a low-mileage car. I’m not sure how much that at this point, but this unusually equipped Challenger is definitely worth a look. It’s located in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania and is listed here on eBay with no reserve.

There’s the engine… The previous owner started to take things apart, but their health prevented them from ever finishing the restoration. You will want to take a close look at that block and make sure it’s actually a 340. Perhaps I’m wrong and you could get the small block in your R/T? Any Mopar experts who can clear this up for us?

This thing needs a complete restoration. There’s a lot of metal that needs replaced and just about everything will need refurbished. Some of the interior bits are visible in one of the garage photos so perhaps some parts avoided the elements. The seller claims that the car has sat for most of it’s life and that the mileage is low (23k?), but I’m not really sure how much of a selling point that is considering its current condition. Those white letter tires do look pretty old though…

This thing is rough, but it does have a cool look to it. I have no doubt that someone will drag it home to their garage and after a few year it will emerge all shiny and new again. The pressing question here though has to do with that engine. Is it really a 340 equipped R/T or did someone just swap the engine out? I decoded the VIN and it does check out as a 1971 Challenger R/T (JS23). The fifth digit is an H though and that means it came from the factory with a 340!

A little more research dug up a brochure from ’71. Standard options list the 383 as the base engine in the R/T, but if you look under the options list you will see the 340 4-barrel V8 as a no cost option in the R/T. Well, I’ll be danged! Looks like I was wrong. Makes you wonder how many were actually equipped with the small block though. Does that fact make it more valuable than its big block brethren? This conversation should be an interesting one…


  1. Billy

    Seems to me that the 340 was a low/no cost option. A smart one at that. The 340 made it a capable road car, not just a straight line bruiser. The 340s I drove over the years, never left me wanting for anything. Chryslers greatest performance engine-reliable, capable, easy to work on. Even slipped past a few insurance agents, something the big blocks could never do.

    Like 2
  2. Rod

    This rates as one of my favourite cars even with the 340. The 340 was a great motor and did a great job off the line. This one is rough but needs to be restored to its past glory. Wish I had the extra money to tackle this one.

    Like 2
  3. junkman Member

    I’m pretty sure these Chrysler engines have the cubic inches embossed in the block casting, That should clear up whether it is the 340 or not. Cool car, just not my thing.

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  4. DrinkinGasoline

    What a waste….I always liked the Challengers over the Cudas.
    As I always preferred the Barracuda’s over the ‘Cudas…Different animals….Matter of taste I guess…

    Like 1
  5. Den1Ho

    Hope this clears it up, just took a photo of the block that belongs with the car. Serial number of engine matches car serial number (can view it on listing ad). Please do some research on the color, you might be amazed how rare the butterscotch color is (on the 71 RT Challenger) for clear clarification!

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    • grant

      Are you the seller, then?

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      • Den1Ho


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  6. John H from CT

    Up to $14K already and there is sooo much work here that anyone taking this on is nutz. Just the parts alone would put you under water before you add your own labor at $ 0.00. The interior parts alone are going to be $4K. It needs sheet metal all the way around. And goodness knows, based on how that roof looks, whether there is any structural integrity left to that unibody. Lastly, this is a Challenger, not a ‘Cuda, so the hard reality is that it is intrinsically worth less.

    Jamie, just a detail: the 340 in a ’70 T/A ( which was only made from 3/2/70 to 4/15/70, six weeks total, is a very different engine from a normal 340. Based on the same overall design but different block, crank, heads, valves, and rockers than the regular 340.

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    • Den1Ho

      Needs all new body panels ?? Based on how the roof looks whether there is any structural integrity left to that unibody ????? Cuda’s worth more then 71 RT Challenger ?? What an expert ! NOT.

      Like 2
      • John H. from CT

        Den1Ho, this is not a website to attack others comments. But since you seem to be an expert critic, let’s see what you have restored.

        Here’s mine. #’s matching.

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    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      I’m actually the one who wrote this up and I don’t believe I ever said that the 340 found in this was the same as the T/A’s.

      Like 1
      • Thomas

        HI Jesse, My brother had a new 71 Challenger R/T with a 340 4 speed with same side striping and rear wing and 3:91 rear gears. Love this site

        Like 1
    • Jerry HW Brentnell

      but I bet if this was a camaro or a rustang everybody would be crawling all over them selves to buy it! hey back in the day 340 darts, dusters, scamps sent all kinds of gm and blue oval people going home crying in there motor oil! and in the right hands a 340 could be tuned into a killer motor and that block had a higher nickle content then ford or chev small blocks which made them stronger!

      Like 2
    • Den1Ho

      Well ? You ask ! Talent, Yes……….Winner winner……..Chicken Dinner. !!!

      Like 0
  7. MH

    Looks like it will need extensive body work. $1500 parts car.

    Like 1
    • AKADriver

      A complete, low mileage, albeit rusty and disassembled Challenger with rare options is going to go for upwards of $20k. I guarantee it. Mopar E-body prices defy conventional logic.

      Like 2
  8. John F

    Looks like a job for Mark Worman!

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  9. Rocko

    Chrysler engineering admitted the 340 was a mistake/blunder, that was when they realised that a piston over 4″ wide was a waste of fuel so they elongated the stroke and came up with the 360.

    Like 1
    • Mike Mopar

      Chrysler NEVER admitted a mistake! 340 was a 383 killer! The 70 340 Cuda was quicker in the qtr mile than the 383. My 340 Duster blew the doors off many a roadrunner in my day. 10.5 compression, double roller timing chain, steel crank. Sweet motor! Did you ever drive a 340?

      Like 3
      • Ck

        Im with you Mike Mopar 340’s are in my opinion the best Mopar power plant .Wind it up and let it go.

        Like 1
  10. Calvin T.

    The first signs of what was to come in future years started with a drop in compression ratio of the 383 from 10.5:1 to 8.5:1. The 440 4bbl was dropped altogether from the Challenger but the 340 was now avalible in the R/T. This was not the same 340 that had been in the T/A in 1970. Horsepower readings were starting to be given as net bhp which was a more realistic figure taken with all engine accessories and a full exhaust system fitted.

    1971 ENGINE OPTIONS Option code Size (cu. in.) Size (c.c.) Type Carb. Gross Power (B.H.P.) Net Power (B.H.P.)
    B* 198 3245 6 CYL. 1 bbl. 125 105
    C 225 3688 6 CYL. 1 bbl. 145 110
    G 318 5212 V8 2 bbl. 230 155
    H*** 340 5573 V8 4 bbl. 275 235
    L 383 6277 V8 2 bbl. 275 190
    N** 383 6277 V8 4 bbl. 300 250
    R** 426 6982 V8 2 X 4 bbl. 425 350
    V** 440 7212 V8 3 X 2 bbl. 390 330
    * Challenger Deputy only. ** Challenger R/T only.
    *** Avalible in Challenger and R/T

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    • Mike

      Thanx for clearing this up. I think those guys were about to start measuring their manhood…

      Like 0
  11. Blindmarc

    Nice to see people that know about a t/a & aar 340 are different from “regular ” 340. T/a & aar’s also had “pink” rods that were “H” beams. Still have a set somewhere in my garage that are nos.cost me $200 bucks 25 years ago.

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    • TA Tom

      T/A rods are the same rods available in the standard 340 and not H-beam. The crankshaft is the same, too. The T/A block is unique due to bulkheads that are cast to allow for four-bolt maincap conversion. The heads are unique due to the pushrods being offset to allow for porting. The relocated pushrod location required unique offset mechanical rockers. As delivered, the T/A 340 was only rated at more hp due to the Six Pack/Six Barrel intake manifold and carbs. The heads, left un-ported, offered the same flow as regular 340 X- or J-heads. With proper machining, a T/A 340 could flow more CFM (porting of the heads) and be more durable at high-rpm (4-bolt main installation).

      Like 1
  12. Howard A Member
  13. Keith C

    Hot Rod just did a dyno test on a stock-rebuild ’71 340 and found that Chrysler underrated it…although it was stated by Ma Mopar at 275 HP, it actually put out 320 HP with exhaust manifolds and 350 with headers.

    Like 1
    • d nehls

      bought new 1971 challenger 340 magnum torqflite trans, changed thermoquad carb to holley. very quick but had crappy body quality and plastic interior.

      Like 0
  14. John B

    Always great to see an old Mopar with an unusual color and/or option list. Twenty years ago, this gut-check project might have been impossible, but not today. I say go!

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  15. Nick Maher

    As you found out the 340 was available in a Challenger R/T in 1971, you could also option up a base (non R/T) ’71 Challenger with a 340 and it’s accompanying mandatory options such as ’15 inch wheels and a rear sway bar.
    In 1970 the only way to get a 340 (other than T/A) in a Challenger was to order the A66 package which included the engine, suspension, and wheel upgrades. It was a “package” in the same way a Z/28 and BOSS 302 were.
    There was one exception, front disc brakes were not part of it so you can find 340 powered Challengers (’70, ’71) with 4 wheel drum brakes when the cars were not optioned with front discs.
    For 1971 the 340 could also be optioned into base 383 Magnum B-bodies such as the Road Runner and (Charger) Super Bee. See image above.

    Like 1
  16. Nick Maher

    This car also has the “Painted Roof” option which painted the roof any other (or the same) available color and gave you the chrome divider between the body and roof as you would see on a vinyl roof car. The color looks to be different from the body Butterscotch color.

    Like 0
    • Den1Ho

      This car had a brown/tan vinal roof from the factory, the vinal roof was removed, and as you see, very solid under the vinal roof. Not sure what your explaining about the painted roof option !! Some of these comments, opinions, wow…… that’s all I’m gone to say !!!

      Like 0
      • Nick Maher

        Regarding the roof, if you are the owner you would know better than I about wether it once had a vinyl roof, or not.
        That said, what I’m explaining is this: Cuda’s and Challengers were available with the roof painted a different color than the body and not covered in vinyl, they also had the chrome strip divider as seen on this car.
        I should have said “it looks like” rather than ”This car also has” regarding the roof. None of what I wrote is an opinion, purely factual though this is an opinion, to me the car is surely worth saving.

        Like 0
  17. Martin

    I had a 383 RT and a 340 swinger at the same time back in the 70s
    the swinger smoked the RT more than once .

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  18. Doug Towsley

    The last mopar profiled here,, That Purple one,,(Cuda or challenger?) went for $16,000 and change on ebay, so the $1500 parts car comment is delusional. So, thats consistent with what these go for on a regular basis. Sure this has got issues but still a good project, Would love to give it a home but sadly not in the cards right now, But I will say I just LOVE these body styles…
    Personally I prefer the 340-360 and raced against a number of them and they were all fast. I guess the big blocks were okay for status but never counted much in my book. Sure a Hemi is huge bragging rights,, but 383 not so much.

    Like 0
  19. G 1

    Just a good old 327 Camaro killer.

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  20. TRC

    Had a ’71 R/T Challenger I picked up in the late 80’s with a Police Interceptor 440 in it. Car was Vitamin C Orange and was a 340/4 speed originally with Power steering and Manual Drums all around.

    Someone turned it into a race car with a mini spool and 4:56 gears plus a 727 manual valve body trans to boot.

    I went through a few 440’s and one junker 383 in it over the years till I sold it with a junkyard 440 in it. Guy didn’t want the rebuilt Police 440. Anyway the kid I sold it to wrecked it and then chopped all the rusty parts out of the body.

    Decades later I bought the car back from the 3rd owner since I sold it. Engine was gone but, was just a junker 440 so not big deal. I bought another ’70 Challenger shell that had an A/C firewall. I swapped all my parts off of the rusty shell (that was better than this one above) onto the new Green unibody.

    Then found the front end was tweaked pretty bad so I put it up on eBay. Got $3500 for it when the first person came to look at it. He did a vin check and wanted to know where the 340 was and the 4 speed. Told him never saw them as I got the car with 440/727. So when he bought the car he said keep the 440 and trans as he didn’t want them. This is going back to the late 90’s1 and I wish I never sold that car now that E-bodies have gone haywire price wise. My Challenger looked a lot like this one I saw at Carlisle in 2014 http://nosleepatall.com/carlisle-cars-first-view-of-2014/

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  21. Moparman1123

    Took me a while to read all the comments. All informative.

    My first car, that I bought at age 16 in October of 73 was 71 Challenger R/T with a 340 Four Barrel, A833 four speed with Hurst Pistol Grip shifter and 3.23 rear, B5 Brite Blue Metallic, Rallye wheels, no power steering, no power brakes, no AC. I paid $1800 for it with 34K mi on it. I loved that car. The 340 was indestructable, believe me, after all the missed power shifts.

    My two buddies in high school both had AAR ‘Cudas, one Panther Pink the other one metallic green(forgot the color name)

    After reading the initial comments questioning if the engine was a 340 and I went right to the pics and one glance at the intake manifold told me it is a 340.

    Those of you who are Mopar guys have to go to the Chrysler National show at Carlisle, PA. You will drool.

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  22. Tyler

    For a few months, I owned a 70 Challenger In the early 80’s, it was orange with a white interior & white vinyl top. Came with a 383/4 speed but had manual steering & drum brakes all around. I had previously driven small block Camaros & Novas, & although the Challenger was a straight line acceleration monster, it lacked everywhere else. I traded it for a SS Chevelle after only a couple of months.

    A couple years ago I had the pleasure to drive a 72 Challenger with a 340 & automotive & it was a completely different car. Not only did it have great acceleration, it handled great, as well as if not better than any 2nd generation Z/28 or WS6 Trans Am. It was just plain fun to drive.

    I personally think too many people went by the “no replacement for displacement” theory & that’s why not as many of these cars were sold or have been converted to 383 & 440’s. In my humble opinion, these are the cars that should be bringing the money, as they are superior to the big cube cars in every way.

    Hemi cars may bring dump trucks full of money due to scarcity, but I would much rather have this car sitting in my garage for a weekend driving cruiser. Nice car, it deserves to be saved. Wish I had the time & space.

    Like 1
  23. Jeff

    Pennsylvania Winters are tough on cars, and it looks like this one was no exception unfortunately.

    Like 0
    • Alfie

      Looks like it, but this car has an old Virginia plate on the front.

      Like 0
  24. keith Member

    Car sold for 14,900 fair price,worth every bit of it. Just my opinion

    Like 0
  25. Kevin

    I purchased a 71 340 R/T from the original owner in 1980 with 27K miles on it. it also was a JS23H with Power Bulge Hood, 727 Slap-Stick Auto. 4 wheel drum brakes would stop you within 2 blocks past your target. LOL. mine was HEMI Orange Y2, I think, with Black interior and Black VInyl Top. Rally Wheels finished it off. it was also a stripe-delete car…..just 340 Magnum on the hood and an R/T on the fenders and rear of the car. SWEET RIDE!

    Like 0

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