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Barn Fresh: 1971 Dodge Challenger R/T

This ’71 Challenger was recently discovered in a barn and was quite dusty and dirty when found. The seller has cleaned it up, but it’s going to need a ton of work. That being said it’s a real R/T that was fitted with the 383 and a 4 speed. The original engine is missing and was replaced by a 440 that the seller states is seized. I also see a lot of surface rust that’s going to need to be addressed, but surprisingly I don’t see a lot of decay yet. If you happen to have a 383 or 440 sitting around, this could actually be a fun project, but it’s definitely going to take a lot to fix back up. You can find this Mopar here on eBay in Hadley, Pennsylvania with a current bid of $17k.

While this Challenger is going to be a challenge (see what I just did there!), it has a lot of good things go for it too. Besides being an R/T, it’s a 4 speed car that doesn’t have any major rust holes. I’ve seen a number of these cars that are so riddled with rust that there isn’t much left to work with, yet people restore them anyways.

I’m sure the 440 was a nice upgrade from the 383, but I think I would be perfectly fine having a 383 under the hood. Seeing as the 440 is stuck you will have to do something with the engine no matter what, so you will have to decide what is the best option for you. You could likely rebuild the 440 and it supposedly was a Six Pack engine, so there is a ton of potential with it, but given that it’s not matching you could install just about any other engine you’d like.

The interior is looking a bit rough, but it’s all here and surprisingly the dash doesn’t look to be cracked. Given the popularity of these cars, you can get every piece of the interior, but I think you will primarily need upholstery and carpets. I would wait to buy anything until after you’ve had a chance to clean it up, that way you can avoid buying things you don’t really need.

This one might be a bit of a challenge, but I’ve seen plenty of cars in much worse shape brought back! I actually kind of like the rough look it has, except for the primer on the passenger’s side. I would be tempted to find a 383 or 440 for it, get it running, sort the brakes, install a new driver’s seat cover and just drive this mean looking Mopar! How about you?


  1. JW

    I have a friend that has a 71 Challenger 318 / auto and another with a 383 / auto and while they are not perfectly restored he daily drives both from spring to fall and they only sit in his garage during the winter. He says the road rash is a badge of honor for driving them rather than only showing them. I would make this one featured a daily driver but with a 4 speed no matter which motor I used.

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  2. Bingo

    That clean up job blows my mind.

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  3. Rock On

    You could drive around on two lane highways and pretend that you are Kowalski from Vanishing Point. I know it would probably work better if the car was actually white.

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    • Bruce Fischer

      That was a GREAT movie.Bruce.!!!!!

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      • KeithK

        Excellent movie agreed but Kowalski could still be out there. We all know that it was a Camaro that hit the bulldozer. Check it.

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      • Bruce Fischer

        That movie was the reason I went out and bought my 73 dodge challenger.Bruce.

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  4. nessy

    At least this seller cleaned his find up so possible buyers can see what they are bidding on. At the current high bid of over 17g for this car, with it’s incorrect non running engine, I guess his clean up job was well worth it.

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  5. Bruce Fischer

    Boy I sure miss my 1973 one. The 1st wife got it in the split up. It had the 318 in it and the slap stick auto trans. It was tan when I got it. I painted it metallic blue with Emron paint and found an RT hood for it .Did I tell yo I really miss that car? LOL.Heres a picture of her.Bruce.

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  6. Blindmarc

    I’d like to see the block numbers. Being that there’s still a stock air cleaner on it.

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  7. geomechs geomechs Member

    This is one my my all-time favorites, a ’71 Challenger RT. I’d prefer the 383 but I’d see what was wrong with the 440 before I went out looking for a replacement 383 unit. If I kept the 440 I’d keep the single 4bbl. It’s a lot easier to keep in tune than a trio. It looks like a repaint will be needed somewhere in the future and I’d aim toward that end although I wouldn’t get in too much of a hurry. Fix the powertrain and interior then see what else is needed. My favorite color for this model is yellow. I’d want to paint it that color except that it’s easier said than done unless you’re taking it down to the bare body shell and building up from there. Probably keep the blue.

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  8. 3457fl

    When I was in high school in the early 70’s, all mopar’s were thought of disposable cars, went fast and went quick. You could pickup a used one for cheap and run the hell out of it, toasted the motor and junked it. Who would know how valuable they are now..

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  9. Doug Towsley

    Based on long term investment potential and value, I would strip it all the way down and restore it right. The motor number thing is not a big worry to me. I would just rebuild whats in it, A few tasteful upgrades and improvements but nothing that detracts from originality that cant be returned back to stock. (IE: Upgrade brakes that are bolt on, Different carb and upgrade ignition, headers etc if you were to drive it which is the intent) But this looks too nice to restomod much, This is restoration grade. But the reason to start from scratch is simple. Its aged out past the clean it and make a driver type of car.
    And you will find hidden and unknown issues that are best corrected now and so as not an issue down the road. such as Cancer/rust. These started rotting inside panels and crevasses so best to do it once and do it right.

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  10. Barzini

    Most car manufacturers have a few models that are almost impossible not to love, regardless of whether you like the brand or not. This is one of those cars.

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  11. Rustytech Member

    After years of bringing major bucks at auctions, it amazes me how many of these keep popping up from garages and barns still needing restoration. If I were 10 years younger, I might consider given this one a shot.

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  12. Jubjub

    Still a great, great looking car as it sits. Love the colors and that it has no vinyl top or trunk spoiler.

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  13. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    B5 blue….or close…..

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  14. G.P. Member

    The add says it is a “survivor”, How can it be a survivor when it does not even have the correct engine?? It needs a s*%# load of everything. This is NOT a survivor, unless that just means because it’s still here.

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    • Doug Towsley

      G.P. I dont agree……… You are hinging your point around the engine. Big deal. The rest of the car is in remarkably good shape compared to most out there. Its a very nice car to restore or lightly restomod (Keeping all changes reversible).
      Heck some of my hot rods have seen a dozen engine swaps. Makes it no less valuable to me. My wife dearly loves her 69 Chevelle project and does not give to rat S**ts about the non matching drivetrain. I know HOW to make a fake that appears numbers matching, I wont do it but I COULD and when done you would never know. Its common knowledge how to do that. Most collectors cars are not as original as they appear. Feel fee to disagree but you are raising a tempest in a teapot.

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      • G.P. Member

        A true survivor is original drive train, paint, interior. The only thing changed is to maintain the car/truck and keep it safe for the road. Numbers matching really never mattered to me, and will never know why it does so much in a cars value. I make what I like and it sounds like you do to, that’s great. A survivor is a survivor.

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  15. John D.

    Finally, a barnfind less than an hour from me, but it is still here in the rust belt of Northwest Penna. If I only had the: time; talent; tools; space; money. Pick a lament. I never had enough talent. My family had a new car dealership, so tools and space could be found. And when I had the money, I was off getting married and having kids and buying houses. Boy, I miss my business.

    This Challenger looks nice. I would see what this 440 needs before looking for an engine. A six pack motor is a stout engine. If I were to replace it, I would be leaning toward a Mopar Performance stroker crate mill. I would put a decent paint job on it, fix what I needed to in the interior, find an FM radio, then drive the heck out of it.

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    • John D.

      I just read the eBay listing and found my FM radio and that it is painted my favorite B5. That carpet looks like it just needs a good cleaning and maybe some dye. Overall, the rust is not real bad. So repop panels or welding in some patches is a decision I would leave up to the body shop. I once employed their guy who does those repairs and the guy can do anything. He is good. I’d probably add some disc brakes, they made a world of difference when I had my GTX.

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  16. ccrvtt

    Since it needs a new motor I’d be tempted to install a modern 5.7 or 6.2. Keep it looking as much like a ’71 as possible, but drive the h out of it and scare the s out of the general population.

    Smoke, Noise, & Fat Tires.

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  17. Glen

    It says 440 Magnum on the hood. I guess more than the engine was replaced.

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  18. Ck

    70 to73 Challengers are are my favorite Mopars .I’m partial to the 340 4spd cars.But,whats not to like about this one?It checks all the rite boxes on my list.If it were mine ,I’d work with what is there and restore it to a driver .I’d be tempted to paint it green go/lime green,but would probably leave it blue.I’d yank the 440 and get a remanufactured 383 from S&J engines .It would be cheaper than rebuilding the 440,and thats what belongs in the car.Even though the bidding is already at 18K ,with the reserve not yet met.Its probably worth it for some one who has the money or the knowhow to get her back on the road.Unfortunately this car is way out of my price range.It would probably cost ME another 15K or more ,on top of what the car actually sells for.The bodywork /rust issue ‘s alone would cost a small fortune.

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  19. Bruce Fischer

    Wow I never knew it was a chevy that hit that doser in the movie.Thanks Bruce.

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  20. Rustytech Member

    I’d be willing to bet there aren’t many of these that survived past their first 5 years with their original engine. They were bought to race, whether on or off track. To me a survivor is any car that has “survived” without a complete restoration. Now all original survivor is a whole different animal.

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  21. Paul R

    Chrysler was on spot for muscle cars during this era. Pistol grip shifter says it all!

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  22. John H. in CT

    I don’t know where the six pak comment came from. You can’t take off a 4BBL and simply replace it with a six pak. Completely different intake manifold and other controls. If this did have one, it was probably taken off and sold as the complete set up is worth north of $3K by itself. If this engine is a ’71 and not later, it is well worth trying to free it up and rebuild. 71 is a lot different than 72-74 for value. Fixed up with the 440, this is a very desirable car. And yes, that appears to be B5 Bright Blue.

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