Live Auctions

383 Magnum! Beautiful 1971 Dodge Charger SE

This one is an attention-getter! I usually give the ’71+ Mopar fuselage bodies a pass over but not this one. And actually, I check them all out anymore as the styling has grown on me over the years. The amalgam of this ’71 Charger’s condition, stance, and deep EL5 finish sets this car off perfectly and makes it worth a closer look. Located in San Fernando, California, and available here on craigslist for $24,900, is this 1971 Dodge Charger SE. Thanks to Jonny C. for this tip!

The classic 1970 Charger was good for about 50K units but the numbers jumped significantly in ’71 to over 80K copies. Why the big jump, the new body style? That probably figured into the sales equation but the fact that the Coronet two-door hardtop was discontinued played a role too. This third-generation Charger was produced through 1974 employing the same basic shape and appearance for all four years. The enlarged “Federal” bumpers of the ’73 and ’74 detracted a bit from the svelteness of the fuselage body’s lines but they were well-integrated nevertheless. Being a ’71 model, this subject Charger is still wearing the standard 2.5 MPH, tucked-in bumpers. As for choice, six different Charger models were offered in ’71, Standard Charger, Charger Coupe, Charger 500, Charger SE, Charger Super Bee (moved over from the Coronet), and Charger R/T. If you couldn’t find something appealing in that broad a line-up, you needed to look elsewhere.

This Butterscotch Beauty is just a standout. It’s a ’70s color, no doubt, and maybe not one generally associated with a hot Dodge, but it works surprisingly well. It is a rich finish with a nice shine and no sign of fade or road rash – nothing like SoCal living to preserve the originality of a nearly half-century-old car. Rust, dents, misaligned body panels? Fuggetaboutit! As is frequently the case, this Charger’s wearing a vinyl lid. The seller makes mention of the new American Racing wheels, they finish off this car beautifully.

An unfortunate fallout of the early ’70s was power. In ’71, Dodge still hung in there, for the most part, but they weren’t immune from the long arm of newly enacted federal regulations. This particular Dodge’s engine, a 383 CI Magnum V8, saw 35 HP disappear from ’70 with a reduction down to 300 gross. Regardless, the seller states that this Charger is “a strong running factory original“. The mileage isn’t listed so there’s no way to know how much life this Magnum V8 still possesses. The engine appears to be stock with the possible exception of chrome valve covers being swapped for the originals. A Torqueflite, three-speed automatic transmission gets the power to the rear wheels.

Moving inside is a perfectly original looking interior. The black vinyl seats, carpet, console, and door cards present just as Dodge intended them to do so. The dash pad appears to have a crack but that’s the only out-of-place item noted. Under the dash is an add-on cassette player, a very common ’70s addition. I had one in my ’67 Chevelle and it was attached to a sliding bracket so you could easily remove the unit and discourage would-be thieves from helping themselves. This Charger really needs nothing!

This is a great find and as I’m writing this article, I’m in southern California and tempted to go check it out. While this Gen-III Charger may not have the collectibility and panache of the classic ’68 to ’70 version yet, it won’t take long for these to catch up, especially when found in this condition, wouldn’t you agree?


  1. Big_Fun Member

    The colors, wheels & tires, and of course, the body and stance make for one sharp ride! 383 Magnum, console, A/C, also. The hideaways are icing on the cake.

    Like 16
  2. Moncton(was Winnipeg)carnut Member

    When I was about 6 or 7 one of our neighbours got the Plymouth equivalent of this, Satellite Sebring IIRC. White, black top, white vinyl interior, and factory alarm that would go off whenever anyone drove by too close in the underground garage.

    Like 6
  3. angliagt angliagt Member

    These don’t normally do anything for me,but
    this color looks great oon it.

    Like 5
  4. Ron Wagonrod

    Actually the 71 383 engine only lost its HP on paper to beat insurance premiums. If you look at the 335hp rating from 68-70 its at 5200rpm, the 300hp rating was at 4800rpm. Those 35 ponys were still there if you wound the engine out. Ive disassembled 383s from several years and they all have the same parts inside.

    Like 20
    • EJ

      It is actually a 2 BBL. 383. So, was 290 hp in 71. The dual exhausts were added later. Nice car.

      Like 3
      • Jim ODonnell Staff

        Good catch, I took the seller’s word. The trim tag does, in fact, indicate a 382-2.



        Like 1
  5. Slantasaurus

    The 71 383 Magnum only “lost” 35hp on paper. I have torn down several engines between 68 and 71 and every internal part is the same, no lower compression. By 71 insurance companies were adding a surcharge for cars with over 300hp, so Chrysler went back to the dyno sheets and found a point in the power curve where the engine made 300hp and published that to beat the surcharge. Compair a 68-70 383 rated at 335hp @ 5200rpm vs 71 300hp @ 4800rpm. Those ponies were still there if you kept your foot in it, Chrysler just didnt think your insurance company needed to know that.

    Like 28
  6. Jcs

    What a great looking Charger.

    Butterscotch is an under rated color. My family had a 71 Swinger in this same color combo back in the day, looked great also. 318/2 barrel, that little car would flat scoot.

    Oddly enough I saw a modern era Land Cruiser that was almost this same color, I couldn’t believe it. Looked very sharp.

    Like 3
  7. Jcs

    Ahh. The days of the Supertuner. Very cool.

    Like 5
  8. Joe Machado

    These body styles took years to get me interested. But, picked up for a grandson, a triple black, all restored, done, correct, 440 RT, 71 Charger. Red and black interior. Never saw that interior before.
    These had a better aero slant for windshield than predecessors.

    Like 4
    • Chris M.

      Hell yes you did Cool Joe!! Lol Hell yes!! It’s always bigger and better when it comes to Cool Joe Machado!!

      Like 2
  9. Stephen Miklos

    Nice looking Charger. As for the engine. The “L” code stands for 383-2 bbl. Also has single snorkel air cleaner. The cover on the air cleaner says 383 Magnum. If the plate had a “N” code it would be a 383-4. And it has no exhaust tips. They installed dual exhaust. So the camshaft is for a 2 bbl set up. Otherwise it is a great looking Charger I wish they had pictures under the Charger.😄

    Like 4
  10. Stephen Miklos

    Note.. WP29L1E is a 383-2.. If this was a true 383 Magnum it would read WP29N1E 383-4. The cover on the air cleaner was a add on by the owner. 😄

    Like 5
  11. Timothy Phaff

    Well, fellas, it is a gem but not in my garage. Some autos are just so hideous looking, that alone draws me in but this one with that color has no flavor for me but I see other lovers. Nice to see this for I do remember seeing them as a boy.

  12. Troy s

    That wedge shaped body, it’s sleek and sporty, also a fairly big car as I remember. Not that the ’68-’70 Charger was any smaller. Nice looking car here for sure, those wheels compliment the sport lines, interesting color but most of all it’s the interior that catches my eye.
    Some high performance cars just looked the part all the way through, others not so much. I’m still trying to figure out why I’ve never been a big fan if these.

  13. Rick Rothermel

    I think I’m in love, just about three months away from being able to pull the trigger. Dammit.

    • Chris M.

      Timing is everything!

  14. george mattar

    Not a fan of these Chargers, but if you look at Tim Wellborn’s collection of 71s, they grow on you. My favorite Charger is 1969, but this one in Butterscotch and those killer hideaways does it for me. Beautiful and not a stupid price like some of the stuff on here in not even half the condition this car is.

  15. smokeymotors

    third generation is my favorite, spent alot of time earlier this year on researching these cars,thought I was going to buy one,not many out there in this shape, ready to go! remember mopar parts prices are nuts if you can find parts, perfect drivetrain setup with air!, fast enough, price is pretty good if it is a no rust car, Yes Yes! I saw a super bee in the spring same color, $50k+! with some doc’s yiks!

    Like 1
  16. Dave Moore

    I have always loved the 71-74 B body mopars. I have owned 5 over the last 40 years ( bought my first one in high school, a 74 Charger in 1980, but sold off my last one 10 years ago) I wish I would have bought more of them in the 80’s and 90’s, no one liked them back then and they were a dime a dozen it seemed ( I wish I would have had a big machine shed back then to put a bunch in, they were always cheap and plenty for sale) and the 68-70’s brought all the money back then ( much as they still do now)

  17. Vince

    These are the real deal the new ones are nothing but a family car it’s not a charger

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