Challenging 1973 Dodge Challenger Project

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The seller has begun restoration on this 1973 Dodge Challenger. The 318 CID V8 turns but won’t start so he’s thinking it needs to be rebuilt. The bumpers are included and it looks like a pretty complete car. He’s replaced the gas tank and sender as well as done a lot of electrical work, plus he put on new tires. It’s always a huge gamble taking over someone else’s project, but for the right price could it be worth it? He also has available a 440 engine and a transmission. If the engine is numbers matching would you keep it even though it’s just a 318 or would you replace it with a 440? This car would require some serious inspection for rust and body repair. It’s in Phoenix, so if it’s a native it could be rust free. At $8,900 asking, does this Challenger seem like a good start for a project? It seems it might be better than starting out with the rusty ones pulled out of the weeds for 17k or $18,00 even if it’s a less desirable car. What do you think? It’s listed here on Craigslist.


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  1. Cassidy

    That 318 looks so tiny! If i bought it, I’d stick with the 318, just build it for power. It looks pretty nice from the front, but that rear view is pretty hard to look at!

    • Mike D

      Cassidy, there would be a plastic insert between the taillights that should be repro, and you could probably find a bumper at any of the many scrap yards that are around. compared to the rest of it, that is the easy part It WILL look like a classy car once it is spruced up. I wouldn’t put tens of thousands in it . Just make it a sweet driver for cruise nights

  2. Mike D

    Looks to be in decent shape, it is ” just” a run of the mill Challenger would try to get the 318 running first, it may be due for a rebuild I would tweak it a bit , as there are performance parts for this engine. May try to find a 73 360, as it had the 360 as an option . this would be a ” fun” car, it isn’t an SE, or an RT, so changing the original color is an option, may redo the interior sport mirrors . I am inclined to think leave the tires and wheels as is, but may go with steel wheels and moon hubcaps One option for the paint would be a deep red, but on the other hand , something plain, like a beige, brown, light green and now we’ve got into some bucks. I didn’t care for the style when they came out, but over the years it has started to grow on me

  3. David

    Nice project, sure, put that big block in it, not like it hasn’t been done before.

    • Mike D

      big block, =big bucks nose heavy. It could be made into a looker and performer w/o big bucks

    • Mike D

      big block= big bucks . this could be made into a looker and performer without serious bucks . A big block will make it nose heavy

      • Clint

        Swapping a big block in requires the K member to be swapped. Better off building a 360 stroker.

  4. Ed P

    If this car has always been in Phoenix, doesn’t it seem odd that it does not have a/c?

  5. Dave P.

    Is there something going on that we can’t see ?? why is the car leaning so hard to the right? the left rear tire looks like it’s almost off the ground while the right side is sitting down over the sidewall of the tire. Unless the car is sitting on something I’d want to look very closely at this one !

  6. The Walrus

    Numbers matching on a ’73 318 is irrelevant. Nobody cares if the 318 has been swapped, blown up or used as a boat anchor. If one is going through the effort of restoring this, a more performance oriented powertrain would make the project a break even or better enterprise. Keeping it as is will lead to a future involving an ad with the following verbiage “Over $30K invested, asking $27,000”.

  7. Kevin Pulver

    Clint, I’m fairly certain you’re mistaken about the K member.
    I had a ’70 Challenger with a slant 6 and an automatic. I blew the six up- (which let me tell you took some doing!)
    And I swapped in a 3:91 Sure Grip differential. And also a 383 Magnum and 4-speed from a 70 Roadrunner.
    I DID have to change the K member as you stated, but it came out of my buddies 340 car in the junkyard. It made a whole different animal out of it!

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