One of 1,774: 1971 Dodge Challenger Convertible

Dodge waited until 1970 to get into the pony car market, sharing its platform with the new Barracuda. The market for these cars was peaking by then, so sales never approached those of the Ford Mustang or Chevy Camaro, but respectable for Chrysler. Of the five years the car was in initial production, convertibles were only offered the first two years – like this sharp-looking survivor from 1971. This Challenger resides in Temple, New Hampshire and is available here on eBay where the bidding is up to $33,200, but the reserve has not been met. However, the seller discloses he set it at $39,000, so whoever get closest to that number will have themselves a sweet ragtop.

The best sales year for the ‘70s Challenger was its introduction year of 1970, when Dodge pumped out just shy of 77,000 copies. 1971 saw a sharp decline to 26,000 units, attesting to the market and competition. Less than 1,900 of the ’71 Challengers were convertibles with under 1,800 of those having some form of V-8. There would be no Challenger convertibles for 1972 or the rest of the car’s run. Less than 12,000 Challengers were built in 1974, after which the car retired for 35 years at 165,000 automobiles produced (excluding a Mitsubishi import with that name later in the ‘70s). Thanks to Challenger Forumz for the production info.

This 1971 Dodge Challenger is likely rare today given the initial low production and survival rate after almost 50 years. Prior to the seller acquiring it, this was a one owner car that comes with a ton of documentation, including the factory build sheet. We believe that most of paint is original (and beautiful), but the seller indicates that some work was done in 1980 to repair floor panels and quarter panels, so the latter would have involved some touch-up. Otherwise, there is no rust although the seller suggests some small ripples on the bodysides which likely came that way when the car was new. The convertible top is also original, but the plastic back window has been replaced and may be the source of a small water leak. Who wants to drive it in the rain anyway!

Except for the dash cover, the interior is said to be original and carries itself well. All the controls work as they should, although you’ll get mostly static out of the radio. The seller believes he has the original boot for the top cover, but the car will come with a new one, just not installed. The car is powered by a numbers-matching Mopar 318 cubic inch V-8 coupled with the Slap-Stick automatic and both are said to perform well. The engine has been rebuilt, although the seller doesn’t know at what mileage or to what extent.

A small fortune seems to have been expended recently on the mechanics of the car, so we’ll try to list just major ones here. The tab for all that work is said to total $14,000.

  • custom exhaust manifold, Edelbrock carburetor, air cleaner and valve covers
  • suspension work including bushings, bearings, torsion bars, sway bars, shocks and tie-rod ends
  • stainless-steel dual exhaust
  • stainless-steel gas tank
  • all new brakes, brake lines and master cylinder
  • new wheels and tires
  • new alternator and a rebuild of the distributor

There is more to the list of stuff that has been fixed or replaced, but the seller lists everything in one long paragraph with some repetition, so we may have left something off.

At 97,000 miles, this Challenger has been well-kept, with a lot of work done to keep it that way. Hagerty pegs these cars in the mid-30s in terms of resale value. Looking at some of the other ads on the net, they might be a low or people are just asking for big money. So, the seller’s idea of the value of this car is not unreasonable, as long as you have that kind of money to spend, that is.

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  1. Howard A Member

    Nice car, does anyone else remember the ’71 Indy 500 where the pace car, a ’71 Challenger like this, only red, crashed coming into the pits? Almost killed a bunch of people. Coming in way too fast, nice goin’, yutz,,

    Like 10
    • Leslie Martin

      Eldon Palmer, a name that will live in Indy 500 history. Pretty sure that was the last year they let a local car dealer drive the pace car. Crazy…

      Like 5
    • Superdessucke

      Yep! Famous incident. Somehow, no one was killed. I believe after that they would only let professional drivers drive the pace cars.

      Like 3
      • Chris M.

        I think the phrase “coming in hot!” Stemmed from this unfortunate incident.

        Like 1
  2. bobhess bobhess Member

    As good as it gets.

    Like 3
  3. Superdessucke

    Interesting cross between Carol Brady’s gold Satellite station wagons and Mike Brady’s light blue Barracuda convertibles.

    Like 11
  4. Pete

    Had a 70 big block and loved that car. But, the brakes were never worth a darn. They tended to overheat quickly with heavy use on a winding road with the right rear locking up unpredictably. And, fade after a few hard stops. In the rain she was a runaway sled. 😱 That said, that car was fast, stylish, and had class to spare. And, with the front wheels balanced on the car to do 160 mph… 134 mph, just cruising, which I was clocked at by a CHP helicopter, it felt just like 65!! Hahaha!!!

    Like 3
  5. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Did someone from BF reach out to the seller and tell them that this is not a survivor car?

    They added a big note that says they talked to a Challenger expert and were informed that this car is not a survivor.

    Like 1
    • stillrunners stillrunners Member

      Looked like it survived pretty well…….

      Like 1
    • Socaljoe

      Depends on your definition of survivor car.

  6. bone

    I wonder who the owner is ? he thought it was a survivor, he says the motor was rebuilt, but doesn’t know when or how much was done ? The engine looks goofy with the doo dads on it ; its just a 318 , leave the stock parts on it if you want it to look original. The rims should be silver too, not chrome.

    Like 1
    • Leslie Martin

      I had three different Mopars back in the day with this style of Rallye wheels. I always thought they would look cool if they were chromed. Seeing them on this car, I think I may have been wrong! Maybe it’s just what I’m used to seeing, but the standard gloss gray paint looks much better on these wheels.

      Like 1
  7. Kevin

    My Step Father had a new ‘70 Challenger Coupe (yellow) and gifted it to his sister and bought a new ‘71 Challenger Convertible. (Red with White Interior). Fond memories of it. I didn’t realize how rare they were.

    Like 1

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