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Rare 1971 Dodge Challenger Convertible

Only 81 Dodge Challenger Convertibles were built in 1971 with a 225 cubic inch slant six engine. The survivor is located in Wilmette, Illinois, and still retains most of its original paint. The Challenger is listed here on eBay with a current bid of $19,600 and a Buy It Now Price of $39,995. If this car had two more cylinders, the Buy It Now Price might not seem so high. The auction has 5 days remaining.

As mentioned, the Challenger has its original 225 cubic inch slant-six engine which is mated to a 904 three-speed automatic transmission. The 3.7 liter inline-six was the standard or base engine in the Dodge Challenger from 1970 to 1972. The six-cylinder engine was dropped in 1973 and only V8 engines were available in 1973 and 1974. With only 92,840 documented miles, the car is said to start, run and stop very well. The seller has no concerns with you driving the car home which is reassuring. The build date was April of 1971.

The Dodge Challenger is painted in Hemi Orange with a white interior. The car is said to retain most of its original paint except for the right side of the car which was repainted in 1990 due to being hit by a shopping cart. I always fear the lost shopping cart when I go to the grocery store! There are some minor scratches and flaws in the paint. The interior looks very nice with not visual tears or rips. The bucket seats contrast well with the black dash and center console.

The 225 cubic inch six-cylinder engine was pulled a while back and freshened up with new seals and a fresh coat of paint. The convertible top was said to be replaced in 2012 and is white to match the interior. The frame and floorboards are stated to be solid. The seller does disclose a minor rust spot on top of the passenger’s front fender. So what is this survivor going to sell for?


  1. Howard A Member

    I suppose this is a bit more like the Indy Pace Car crash, except, I read, they estimate the car was going 125 mph when it came down pit road, so clearly, it didn’t have the 6, does anyone know the real story on that? Whatever powered it had, at 125, he must have had it to the floor, did the throttle stick? Again, perfect car for Miss Hathaway, had the series continued.

    Like 4
    • Grey

      I’ve read it didn’t help that the pace car is equipped with four wheel drum brakes instead of front disc

      Like 2
    • Tritsun

      I owned a 64 slant 225 six. It would easily do 130.

  2. alphasud Member

    I think cars like this helped coin the phrase “all show and no go”. I get a Camaro and the Firebird having a 6 cylinder option but this larger Dodge is a head scratcher. It’s rare in its own right and should be kept original or at the very least if a V8 is fitted the original drivetrain should be retained. Nice color combination. I think the asking price might be a bit strong but the market will dictate that.

    Like 5
    • Miguel

      Not everybody bought these cars to go fast.

      A lot of these cars were bought by secretaries that liked the style.

      Like 12
      • bone

        This probably had full hubcaps and whitewalls when it left the dealership too.

        Like 1
  3. J_Paul Member

    Jeez, what are the chances of TWO Challenger six-cylinder convertibles being on this site within a week?

    At least this one’s wheels all seem to be pointing the right direction.

    Like 18
    • Slantasaurus

      More like one and a half.

      Like 2
  4. RoughDiamond Member

    Here is an interesting article about that 1971 Challenger Pace car crash. High speed by an inexperienced driver (owned Dodge dealership) not paying attention and locked up brakes were mentioned as causes. I’ll bet the late John Glenn wished he had been at the controls.

    Like 6
    • gaspumpchas

      Interesting story, diamond, thanks for posting, never heard the story. So happy no one was killed. Stay safe and good luck!

      Like 3
  5. Steve Bush Member

    Agree with other commenters that it’s a sharp car but the BIN is nuts for a basic 6 cylinder. I think it will get bid to a few grand over the current bid.

    Like 2
    • Steve R

      The engine is irrelevant. The bidding is being driven by the convertible body and overall condition.

      For some unknown reason there is a prevailing sentiment on this site that rusty heaps make good candidates for Pro Touring projects or a clone, they are wrong. Since the only original component that really matters is the body, only a fool would start a high end project with a common car that needed substantial rust repair or body work. On a rare car such as a Challenger convertible you buy the best body you can find and afford. Since the 6 cylinder will keep the price down compared to a similar car with a V8, this is the perfect car for such a project.

      Steve R

      Like 9
      • Leland

        I find that sad. Why can’t the prices be better so this little car could live on as it has for the past 49 years? (Prob 50 years, I bet it was made in the fall of 1970)

      • Mr.BZ

        Agreed, Steve R, but not at 40k.

        Like 2
  6. Matt G

    The original owner blew it when they didn’t order it with a 3 on the tree…

    Like 5
  7. Jim

    I dread the thought of someone getting this…..and tearing the six cylinder out of it!!!!

    Like 14
    • Bob S

      I agree Jim, I do think the price is a little high, but it’s an original vehicle from back in the day, DON’T touch it!!!! I don’t have this kind of money, but would be proud to part it in my driveway!

      Like 8
  8. doone

    That slant six is bullet proof.

    Like 13
    • Ken Langley

      I used to do tuneups on my ’67 Fury 1 225, but nothing made any difference! Finally stopped doing the tuneups, and nothing changed!

      Like 1
  9. Leland

    If I had the money I would own it as is. What a wonderful piece of history. The SS is Chryslers greatest engine. It will be remembered long after 426s will. This is what the convert yesterday might look like someday, but it will take more than 40 K to make that happen. I liked the three speed better, and hey, has anyone ever seen a console three speed? that was a first.

  10. K

    Eldon Palmer the 1971 pace car driver always told the story that all the time he practiced coming onto pit lane, there was an orange cone in the grass along the pit/track wall that he used to judge where to start his braking. On Race Day, the cone was gone. By the time he realized it, Eldon had no choice but to lock the brakes and pray.

    Like 7
    • CJinSD

      Eldon should have begun decelerating as soon as he entered pit lane, but for some reason he thought he had to beat the race cars to the start-finish line. Incredible.

      Like 2
      • Steve R

        He was an amateur that never should have driven the pace car. He got nervous and lost all situational awareness.

        I’ve seen countless beginners do incredibly stupid things at the track because they get caught up “in the moment” and their brains shut down. On more than one occasion at my local drag strip I’ve personally witnessed drivers never let off at the finish line and drive straight into the sand trap at the end of the shut down area, more than 3/4 of a mile from the starting line. That doesn’t even include those that made U-turns and start driving back towards the starting line after they missed the first turn off or crashed on the return road, which is part of the tracks road course, when they instantly switched from drag racer to road racer.

        Steve R

        Like 4
  11. CJinSD

    I had an employer in high school whose Plymouth Barracuda convertible I drove semi-regularly. It was a 225/904 combo with a power top, and I would no sooner pay $40K for a similar car than I would a Lebaron-K convertible. My takeaways were the Barracuda was heavier than my Scamp by a lot, and that it had the body integrity of a soggy pizza carton. The leading edge of the top used to beat the heck out of the windshield header as the body twisted over imperceptible pavement irregularities. I suppose it is true that such a car would be no better suited to use with an elephant motor.

    Like 1
  12. Rhett

    I remember a whole bunch of 225 E Bodies back in the day, wasn’t all that rare at all . 6 cyl Chargers too. Hell they’d throw that engine in anything.

    Like 4
    • karl

      Well there was only 81 ragtop Challengers built for 1971 , so they weren’t too common .

      • Grey

        Only 81 6-cylinder Challengers made for 1971

        Like 3
  13. Scott

    I think this is an Indy Pace Car vehicle. If I remember correctly, no manufacturer stepped up to provide pace cars for the 500 in 1971, so the Chrysler dealers of Indiana agreed to do it. My uncle restored a Hemi Orange 1971 Challenger convertible just like this one, but with a 318 and A/T. Same white interior with black instrument panel. It was an Indy 500 “Festival Car”. Interesting thing was that his car (with a 318 and “scoopless” hood) also had hood pins. The car here is a Slant 6 and has hood pins. I have to think that is pretty rare.

    Like 1
  14. Andrew J

    I’d keep it stock. Adding a V8 would do nothing and ruin an original and rare car. The asking price is a bit high.

  15. Mitchell Ross Member

    To all the people who think this is not worth the money, cancel your bids

    Like 1
  16. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    It would be great to see Graveyard Cars do a full restoration on this, doing a 6 cylinder would definitely be different for them – I would watch that.

    Like 5
  17. Paul

    When the Valiant came out in 1960 and for a few years after, Chrysler offered performance versions of the Slant Six. One of those with a four-speed manual in a car like this might be fairly peppy.

  18. jflynn

    I have great respect for the slant 6. Back in the mid 1960’s my uncles, mid 50’s, Massey Harris combine Chrysler Commercial 6, breathe it’s last, with a few mods we stuck a slant 6 out of a dodge pick up in there and got many more years out of that combine. My mother drove a 65 Coronet with the slant 6 and I had another uncle who had a old Valiant he drove into the ground. Racers edge NO, reliable YES……

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