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It’s a Runner: 1971 Dodge Challenger R/T

Dodge Challenger RT

I’ve always loved the sight of a muscle car or some foreign exotic in slightly used-up, possibly neglected condition. I suppose it’s because so often you see these types of vehicles with body panels hand-polished to perfection and chrome that could blind someone on a sunny day. So when a car like this 1971 Challenger appears, I tend to warm up to it more quickly. Its stories are still there, present in the battle scars and blemishes. This is not so much about patina as it is about history and while the next owner will have their work cut out for them, this recently discovered R/T model in Oregon will come with lots of memories. Find it here on eBay or in Portland.

Challenger RT Interior

While I can’t claim to be a Mopar fanatic, it is my preferred choice of the domestic brands. Credit that to a brother who felt the same way and a childhood neighbor who was a manager in a local Dodge dealer. I still remember the day they moved into the neighborhood. His wife had a clean Chevy Beretta GT, which, believe it or not, is what caught my eye first. Then as we began to encroach upon the house, we could see tucked against the wall, almost out of sight, the unmistakable fender of a plum-crazy Barracuda. He rarely took it outside, but when he did, it looked like perfection to me. The car was a show winner on the local circuit and clearly his pride and joy. Proportionally speaking, Mopar muscle is as good as it gets for me. These cars look ready to run at every angle, even in the condition of this project Challenger.

Challenger RT 383 Engine

This car has survived largely intact despite 30 years of barn storage in an area not known for being dry. The interior looks fantastic, which leads me to believe that while its last caretaker may not have been enthusiastic about driving it, they did what they could to preserve it while laid up. One of my favorite details is the chrome nose strip that the seller points out is a rare factory option. It gives this brute a little bit of extra class. And even though it’s not equipped with the strongest motor available, it does have a manual transmission which makes it all the more appealing to yours truly.

1971 Dodge Challenger RT

In the days ahead, I’ll be profiling my latest project that rolled up on a car carrier last night. It’s a mixed bag of emotions, excitement, stress, curiosity, joy and a little bit of fear, all blended together. No matter what an inspection may tell you, it doesn’t uncover everything that’s happened in a car’s life. And to some extent, as much as the unknowns can be unsettling, it’s just one more chapter in the book. This Challenger has the potential to be great once again, and it’s still at the point of being savable by the next owner. However, the question remains if this piece of preserved Mopar history is worth the seller’s starting bid of $25,000? Let us know in the comments below.


  1. George

    According to Hagerty it’s only worth 23k restored… It ain’t no Hemi.

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  2. JC

    I’m right there with you, I’d fix the mechanicals, and drive it the way it is. Love it.

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  3. Tirefriar

    Mopars are the “P-cars” of the Detroit classic metal. Don’t believe me? Check what the Mopar B bodies are doing as well as the E bodies such as this Challenger. And yes, these are one of my favourite muscle cars even though I have been a GM man most of my life, including the 20+ years that I owned a 68 Firebird convertible…

    @George – this price is definitely over the top but the huge appeal here is the manual trans with a pistol grip shifter. not justifying the price, just sayin…

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    • PRA4SNW

      Agreed. These cars as getting crazy money now. I won’t be surprised if someone grabs this at close to the ask.
      Someone mentioned Hagerty’s Price Guide – I don’t put much faith in that. In this case, they seem underpriced, but when I sold my ’70 Corvette Convertible, there was no way in heck that I could ever get what they “say” my car was worth.
      And now that the Vette is sold, I have become interested in ‘Cudas / Challengers, but their prices are crazy.

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  4. Tirefriar

    I apologize in advance if this appears to be pirating the thread here, but why wont barnfinds run a motorcycle section? I was looking for a spot to post this request but could not find one. Seems like the car sites are just blowing off the two wheel scene even though they are just as interesting and are in many cases more affordable, easier to maintain and require less space. Just the thought.

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    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Good question! We have run a few motorcycles in the past, but the problem is that not everyone is interested in both cars and bikes. We may still give it a try down the road though. Stay tuned…

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    • Woodie Man


      try this. They come up with some vintage and some barn find as well as some over polished garage queens. Has a similar vibe to Barnfinds in terms of the writeups………..not to steal any of jesse’s thunder


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      • Tirefriar

        Thanks Woodie. I’m subscribed to that one already. They are doing a great job. I communicated with the site owner – he’s quite a bike enthusiast and a former Beemer rider. Thanks to that site I came across several unique bikes, one of which I’m in the process of negotiating a purchase on.

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  5. Dirty Dingus McGee

    Very cool car for us MOPAR lovers. Worth the money? Only to the right buyer. This is kinda a “red headed step child”.for an RT. Not a big motor, but more than adequate, 4 speed, and with “shiny bits” bordering on an SE model. As for the offer to “Restore it HERE at NAMC, INC! $60,000.00 +/- and pick it up FINISHED in 3 months.”, I would hope that includes the purchase price. Otherwise…………

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  6. TuckerTorpedo

    $25,000= the new $5,000. At that asking price, you’ll easily and quickly be upside down restoring this beast. It’s a worthy project, just doesn’t make $en$e starting at that price.

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  7. Dolphin Member

    Looks like this company specializes in MOPAR stuff but won’t be restoring this one because it knows it won’t work for them financially.

    I think the comments to R&R the systems and just drive it are right. Then, if / when prices for the 383 Magnum version increase enough you can always restore it and maybe not be underwater.

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    • Gsemech

      Good point Dolphin! I often wonder when you see an un-restored car for sale in a shop with other restored cars if they have at some point realize it’s not in their best financial interest to take on the project. Would be a red flag for me.

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  8. erikj

    yes im with you all that money is over the top. Cool car though. Soundslike a good one to fix and drive it as- is

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  9. RogueInLA

    This brings to mind one of my favorite car stories. In the late 70s my brother was offered a car, sight unseen, to ‘get it out of my garage’. It had been so long there, he had to use his tow truck to open the garage door. Inside was a 1970/71 (memory fails me) Challenger. Not just any Challenger, but a 440 6 Pak Mr, Norm’s Grand Spaulding Dodge Challenger! (this was in the chicago area). Minus engine and trans, but the shaker hood and air cleaner were sitting alongside it. He stopped on the way home with it to try to sell it to some friends who were into building Mopar drag cars, but they looked at it and decided it was too nice to butcher. They pointed out it had VERY low mileage (I think 1270, my brother recalls around 3,000). My brother called me when he got home to come look at it, and when I got there, he was washing it, IN THE RAIN, I asked if he was nuts, and he told me to check the odometer, so I helped him wash it. That car still had the exhaust part number paper strips on the pipes. We never figured out how it wound up in that garage. The owner said he rented the garage to some guys back in the early 70s, and they brought that over, took out the engine and trans, pulled the tires/wheels, and left it. We had the numbers run, and it didn’t come back stolen. He wound up selling it to a guy from Minnesota who was going to put a slant 6 in it for his daughter’s ‘college car’, we found the buyer thru the ‘cars wanted’ section of Hemmings. I often wonder what became of it, and what that body would be worth today. He got a whopping $1200 for it (if memory serves me right). Which, at the time, was top dollar for it. Car was white with a black vinyl top, black stripes, and IMMACULATE.

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    • Jeff Lavery Staff

      Great story – does make you wonder how it got there (and if anyone’s ever figured out how the car was originally equipped!)

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      • RogueInLA

        It was a 440 (I’m thinking it was a 6 PAK, but that could be memory), I do remember the big shaker in the hood, and now I don’t know if 6 PAKs had the shaker. I know my brother read out the fender tag, it was an automatic, slapstick shifter, rally dash, an R/T model.

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  10. Chuck

    Sometimes hard to get good money for even a 6 pack car,A friend took a 6 pack 4spd numbers matching mint restored 1970 runner to Barrett Jackson and only got 36,000.00

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  11. sat hemi vert

    NAMC as in North American Muscle Cars?

    They want to restore? I’m sure they do. A little word of advice from someone who got the shaft.

    Get all work done in writing ahead of time. If something mysteriously pops up, contact you before attacking on their own.

    DDMG, of course the price DOES NOT include the rig.

    Run Forest, run!!!

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