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Bargain Muscle Car? 1974 Dodge Challenger

Sellers often claim that the car they have listed is a bargain buy, and some of those claims are more credible than others. However, you often need to look below the surface to determine whether the classic is a genuine bargain or whether poetic license is involved. That brings us to this 1974 Dodge Challenger, which appears to need nothing. Its presentation is first-rate, it is mechanically healthy and has no apparent needs beyond a new home. The seller has listed it on behalf of a friend here on eBay in Staten Island, New York. They set the BIN at $26,900, so let’s take a look and see how it stacks up.

Knowing where to start with this Challenger is difficult because it makes a striking first impression. Its Deep Sherwood paint looks fantastic, with a depth of color and shine you could sink into. There are no close-up shots, but I can’t spot visible flaws or defects in the provided photos. It is the same story with the panels, which are as straight as an arrow. I am not a betting man, but I would be unsurprised if it received a recent cosmetic refresh. Rust can be a significant factor with these classics, with the floors, rails, and lower extremities all prone to problems. However, there are no visible dramas that could cause the new owner sleepless nights. The exterior is clean, with the underside showing nothing but dry surface corrosion. I’ve always thought these cars are some of the most muscular and purposeful-looking vehicles to roll off an American production line, and the owner has enhanced the impression by adding spoilers, a silver highlight on the taillight panel, and a spotless set of Rallye wheels. The chrome sparkles magnificently, and the glass is flawless.

Impressive presentation seems to be a common theme across every aspect of this Challenger, and its interior is no exception. Its seats and other upholstered surfaces sport Black vinyl with matching carpet. Once again, I think a recent refresh has occurred because there is no evidence of significant wear or other problems. The dash and pad are spotless, and the faux woodgrain appears perfect. The only flaw worth mentioning is some chips and marks on the steering column, but the new owner could address those at their leisure. The only non-original item I can spot is a radio/cassette player, and the only functional fault mentioned by the seller is a need to recharge the factory air conditioning every year. That suggests a leak in the system, and fixing the problem would be wise. Otherwise, the Challenger’s interior features an optional console, and the Rallye gauges with a factory tachometer.

This Challenger’s engine bay houses a numbers-matching 318ci V8 that would have sent 150hp to the rear wheels via a three-speed TorqueFlite transmission. The journey down the ¼-mile would not have been a white-knuckle experience, taking a relatively leisurely 17.5 seconds. However, I think this car would improve on that figure significantly. Rebuilt components include the engine, transmission, and brakes. The tires are new, as are the rear air shocks. The owner put some thought into the engine build, upgrading the carburetor, camshaft, and bolting on headers and a larger exhaust. I expect the engine would now pump out close to 230hp, placing a sub-16-second ET within reach. The seller indicates the car runs and drives beautifully, with the headers and upgraded exhaust providing a welcome bass thump. It is a turnkey proposition that the new owner could drive off into the sunset.

Buying any classic involves a leap of faith because it is a luxury purchase rather than a necessity. Most buyers take time to decide whether a particular car is right for them, although it is easy to be led by the heart rather than the head. This 1974 Dodge Challenger is a spotless classic that a lucky new owner can enjoy immediately. However, is it the bargain the seller claims? I don’t believe it is the $40,000 car the seller suggests because the 318 under the hood is not the most desirable engine in the range. The story would be very different if the engine bay housed the 360. However, recent sales results indicate the price is highly competitive. It is worth noting that 217 people are watching the listing, which proves a few people like what they see. Are those thoughts enough to tempt you to pursue this Challenger further?


  1. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    Very nice. Insofar as the value, the seller considers it equal to a $40K ride. No the 318ci isn’t as sexy as a 400 or 440, but then the equivalent new car in this price range is a Corolla, Versa or Forte.
    Personally, I’d rather have this-not only sounds better but it doesn’t look like every other econo bug or tactical toaster on the morning commute.

    Like 3
    • Grant

      You can buy a brand new entry level Corolla in the low 20s. A pretty nice car, and far more comfortable (plus reliable) than this is going to be at twice the price to boot. I understand this is an old car enthusiast site, so love of new cars is somewhat frowned upon, but really. Would you truly pay twice the price for this instead of a warranted and very functional brand new car to commute in? If you have the cash to burn, fine, use it as a fun secondary car, but a practical and responsible person is never going to take this over a new Corolla and use it to get to work.

      Like 3
      • Stuckin2nd

        You don’t buy these type of classics for daily commutes to work. I drive my Corvette C3 on a weekly commute to car shows and to cruse around town on weekends. I drive my ’21 Cherokee for work.

        Like 2
  2. Moparman Moparman Member

    Already SOLD!

    Like 2
  3. eric22t

    well i guess someone got an early bird bargain

    nice looking ride

    Like 1
  4. Big Bear 🇺🇸

    Gone. Like in the Vanishing point!! 🐻

    Like 1
  5. Old greybeard

    How are those bumpers 5mph compliant? What am I missing?

    Like 1
    • eric22t

      see the grey fillers between the end of the bumpers and the body. that covers the space the bumpers are extended from the car that gets the 5mph front&2.5 mph rear damage protection.
      i just found this…
      on a shop that was deleting them to make the car look better

      Like 0
    • jrhmobile

      That the bumpers have been replaced with something that doesn’t fit like the old ones did.

      Mopar made their early 5mph bumpers by putting two hefty rubber bumper pads on each end. They didn’t work all that well, and I regret how I came to learn that.

      Like 0
    • eric22t

      see the grey fillers between the bumpers and the body? that is because to make the 5pmh regulation these bumpers were pushed out from the body to allow them to protect the lights and such which was the purpose of the 5mph rule. these never got the shocks like on other models

      Like 0
  6. 370zpp 370zpp Member

    Nice car.
    Not a muscle car.

    Like 2
    • bone

      I agree- how many times do you see an ad stating “true American Muscle car”, or something like that , and they are selling something like a 302 Powered 4 door Torino ? This, was, and still is a Pony car . Even if someone stuffed a 440 under the hood, it still wouldn’t be a Muscle car ,as it didnt come stock with a performance engine

      Like 1
  7. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    At today’s Mopar prices, someone got a great deal!

    That is, if it wasn’t a scam – just seems too good to be true.

    Like 0
  8. Fredscuda71

    A great buy for an e body. A 74 with a 318 is still a good deal at this price. Please don’t compare it to a new corolla. This is a hobby to be enjoyed. The Toyota and rest of the rice burners are great a to b daily drivers. No offence ment to anyone.classic cars are meant to be enjoyed, a nice weekend ride and be proud to be seen in.

    Like 0

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