Look Beneath The Surface: 1973 Dodge Challenger

Gray primer, surface rust, dings and dents–I can hear loyal Barn Finds readers now wondering what Jamie’s on today to be posting about this car! However, if you look beneath the surface a little, you might find something worth bringing home. This 1973 Challenger Rallye is listed for sale here on craigslist for $3,500. It’s located in Aurora, Colorado.

The 1973 Challenger Rallye was an attempt by Dodge to keep folks interested in a performance variant of the Challenger that replaced the R/T version. It was only available with one of Dodge’s small block V8s (more on that later) and you still could get a four speed, limited slip differential and some dress up items including the imitation fender vents and hood scoops on this car.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be the first one to tell you that if you are looking to restore a Challenger Rallye, this probably isn’t the car. Many items are going to have to either be straightened, repaired, or replaced. The seller tells us that the floors and structure are in really good shape, but the exterior sheet metal is in poor condition as you can see.

Here’s where things start to get more interesting. The seller states that this is a big block engine, but that they have been unable to “decode” what size (presumably from the engine serial number?) it is. As far as I can tell from comparing pictures over the internet, I agree with them, but since I’m not a Mopar expert, I’ll cheerfully defer to any experts among our Barn Finds readers. With a big block, automatic and at least a somewhat solid body, this might actually be a good buy, even without much of an interior. Take a look at this Hemmings buyers’ guide on the 1973-74 Challenger Rallye if you want some more detailed information. Would any of you take a flyer on this Challenger?


  1. Howard A Member

    You know, not that long ago, this would no doubt, be a parts car. You just wouldn’t even think of repairing it. But today, especially with the extra frame, this is a great find. TR3’s, of any kind, are pretty scarce. Wasn’t Triumph’s most popular roadster, I never cared for them, but many folks got their 1st taste of a sports car with one of these, and probably looked just like this, and they still drove them. Not sure about body and trim, but certainly everything mechanical can be found. It’s complete,and again, great find.

    • Howard A Member

      Oops, there’s an old fart moment ( face getting red) Obviously, this belongs on the TR3 post. ( can’t edit early comments) I guess most of what I wrote can be salvaged. :)

    • racingpro56 Member

      Lol Howard…a momentery lapse of reason equals many downward pointing thumbs. Lighten up people…your time will come

    • MFerrell

      Just swap “Triumph” for “Challenger”, and the comment still applies!

      • John

        Perfect! I’m reading this with only half a cup of coffee in me this am. Thought I had a brain fart! It’s an example of a a true Barn Finds fan who opens , then scans the Emails for the latest new BF post/gmail after getting distracted, it shows a mans priorities are in the write place!

  2. irocrob

    I have a 1972 Ralley Challenger that I had since 1987. Its a Mississippi car with faded out original paint. Its been sitting in my driving shed for 30 years. 340 was the largest engine available in 72 and 73. 1974 brought a 360. All the small blocks had the distributor at the back. I think he is right on the money for the rough condiition..

  3. flmikey

    …the base engine was the 318, with the 340 as an option….no big blocks…period…so….maybe someone just put a big block in after they grenaded the original engine…been known to happen from time to time…

  4. Rocko

    Its a 2 barrel carb, maybe a 383 , maybe a 400. Front grille gonna be expensive. Im sure 2 grand cash will walk away with it, but your’e gonna hafta really want it. I like the mad max look.

  5. Doug Towsley

    WOW! I always wanted a Cuda of the early 70s but a Challenger with RT styling would suit me fine. Man, I would settle for this. I think its amusing how people are so stingy, this is a SMOKIN’ Good deal, you dont find this body style that cheap anywhere and this wont last long. I would put it back to a small block and no lack of parts to rebuild it, Its not that bad of condition, people cant see the beauty past the rust and dingy. But theres a solid car there and good foundation for a resto or restomod. Luckily for me I am broke, too far away and in downsize-sell mode but even 2 years ago I would be all over this in a heartbeat.

    • Den

      I just found this 1971 Challenger RT with a original 340 all matching number car. The previous owner started to disassemble it, then passed so it came up for sale. Good frame rails, really good body, not a bad car to restore. It might be for sale, not sure if I need another project at this time.

      • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

        Please consider listing it with us if you do decide to sell. Thanks Den!

      • Doug Towsley

        Ohh man! that is a sweet looking project.

  6. Cory

    Those low compression 340’s could still pull off high 13’s ! Remember these cars were not heavy !

    Add headers, carb and few more mods quicker, change the cam and heads 12 second reliable hot rod..

    That’s a darn good deal….I should look into it,I do restore cars on the side and am a Mopar Guy..

  7. Doug Towsley

    I always preferred SCCA & Trans-Am race series road racing (This car would be a cool period tribute car) but during the early 80s did some stock car racing. On short tracks the mopars ruled. (Mostly because of the Torsion bar suspension) But the 340-360s are no slouches on the track.
    Find a copy of Waddell Wilsons book “Racing engine preparation” (Steve Smith Autosports publications) In the book he details tuning and engine builds on Small block Chevy, Ford 351 and the Mopar 340-360. Just as valid today and some great tech info plus a good primer on engine blueprinting.
    Theres some great Factory literature as well on Mopar performance.
    Man,,, Think about this car as a tribute road race car from the 70s during the epic Trans-Am wars when the factorys went all out with the Muscle cars.
    Heres a pix of some of these books.

  8. Petey

    Nice car.it needs but.this car would look good in a big tire outlaw car.twin turbo caged monster.running down the1/8th at3.60 bad a**.

    • Petey

      Nice car.it needs but.this car would look good in a big tire outlaw car.twin turbo caged monster.running down the1/8th at3.60 bad a**.

  9. Doug Towsley

    Some epic motorsports battles back in the day, this car would make a great platform, Sears Point, Laguna Seca, Willow springs, Portland International Raceway, Seattle, Road Atlanta.. on and on. I still have my old race programs from the 1970s and My Dad and I used to go to many of the races. Fond memories.
    Some people are re-living the dream with the vintage race series. Catch one if you can. Heres a nice pix. Dodge vs AMC

  10. Steve H

    Interesting that the only trade he’ll consider for the Challenger is an LS Chevy small block engine. Wonder what kind of hot rod he’s building…hmmm.

  11. Rustytech Member

    Even though Howard had the wrong vehicle, he was right about the value. Not too many years ago this would have been junk, but Challanger/Cuda prices have skyrocketed. At today’s values this may be a bargain, even if the big block is not original. More work needed here than I can take on at this stage in my life though.

  12. M/K

    On these Chrysler engines decoding displacement is as simple as reading it on the outside of the block on the odd cylinder side (drivers side). I thought some mopar buffs would have caught this sooner LOL

  13. Mike

    The vin is wrong. The engine code says 6. It should be a letter. My guess is its a G not a 6 which would make it a 318 car.

  14. Billy

    Most were 318s, but that’s not so bad. Had a few of those, ample performance, great reliability and economy…plus it kept the insurance agent out of your wallet and the local constable as well. Seems to me, by 73 the six was dropped in favor of only V8s. I am a big fan of those too, drove a few. With a stick and a 323 rear end, a very nice car (as long as you didn’t have air conditioning). The light weight of a small block or better yet, a six, made them dandy handlers on the back roads too. One of the few cars this Baby Boomer regrets not buying and keeping when they were cheap used cars.

  15. Jeff

    In Michigan we’d call this a good starting point, better then something around here.

  16. SavageATL

    I know he says the exterior panels are in bad shape but from what I can see in the pictures there’s no visible rust, or not much. There are no interior pictures but I’m guessing given the value of these cars now, there are reproduction pieces available. You’d really have to see it in person to determine how bad the body is but assuming that there really isn’t any rust, or not much, this would make a great restoration project. Even with a 318, it’s collectible enough to be worth the cost. I’d paint it root beer brown with a white top and do a two tone brown/beige interior and possibly a restomod interior rather than completely original. This could be a good deal.

  17. Car Guy

    Never did care for the 73 misaligned taillight treament, and fish mouth grill.
    The 70-71 cars had much cleaner front and rear styling…….

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