Original 340 V8: 1972 Dodge Challenger Rallye

The Dodge Challenger was well-received when it was introduced in 1970, selling nearly 77,000 cars in its first year. It shared an all-new E-body platform with the Plymouth Barracuda, though none of the sheet metal was common. This ’72 Dodge is the Rallye edition, essentially replacing the R/T and Challenger 340 in one fell swoop. It has its factory-installed engine and a 4-speed manual transmission. But it needs cosmetic attention as the rust blight has taken some bites. Located in Torrington, Connecticut, this car is available here on eBay. At $13,111 bid so far, the reserve has yet to be triggered.

By 1972, all the big-block V8s were gone from the Challenger and Barracuda. Buyers had three engine choices that year: the Plain Jane Slant-6 or 318 V8 and – if some muscle was still in the cards – the 340 cubic inch small-block. That came as the only motor in the new Rallye, which featured four simulated vents on the front fenders. When you went to gas up, you could now run unleaded fuel as the compression ratios were lowered to accommodate that in the name of lower emissions and good citizenship.

Only one body style was available for 1972-74 as the Challenger convertible had been discontinued. Styling changes were minimal throughout the car’s five-year production run and usually to accommodate higher impact bumpers. Because the emphasis on performance had deleted a lot of choices for buyers, barely 23,000 Challengers were built for 1972 and nearly one-third of those (7,000) was the Rallye 340. This car comes with both broadcast sheets and its fender tag, although it has been removed.

The VIN on this car confirms it has the 340 engine and we’re told the numbers match. While the car is said to have just 41,000 miles on the clock, the motor was rebuilt about 2,500 clicks back. To improve its running condition, the following parts have been installed, including a new fuel system, brakes, cooling system, leaf springs, shackles, and factory-style bias-ply tires. So, the car could be enjoyed as it. Here’s a video of the machine in operation to confirm its running condition.

This Challenger has been repainted once, according to the seller, and what we see of the vinyl top looks good. The body shop will stay busy correcting all the issues with rust that have built up. Several undercarriage photos are provided and there are a few holes here and there, along with the trunk pan and some exterior sheet metal. We’re told the floors, however, are in good shape. The interior looks as though it gets at least a C+ with both buckets’ seats needing new covers it you can match the material.

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Comments

  1. Uncle Kevin

    I would love to take Tom for a ride in it

  2. Gary

    These had two different linkages available with the pistol grip 4 speed. I do remember that, but can’t remember as to why. The one I drove once, had a nice feel, quick short movements. I am told the other choice, had longer throws. Am I remembering this correctly?

    Like 5
    • Valentine

      There are two different linkages, but the throw is the same between them. The reverse rod has a hook shape to it in ’73-’74. Starting in ’72 the Pistol Grip was bolted to the shifter rather than slid into a rubber isolator (“bayonet”) as used in ’68-’71 Mopars. The ’72-up setup is much better.
      The difference in throw was accomplished via double-drilled transmission levers, which were used in all five years. The factory installed the linkage in the outer holes, but moving to the inner holes shortened the throws significantly. ’71-’74 Chargers used the same trick (even the same levers on bucket-seat cars)

      http://www.brewersperformance.com/proddetail.php?prod=OL-E

      Like 1
      • Gary

        Thank you! I learn a lot here.

  3. Dave

    I was old enough to work pumping gas back in those pre-Arab oil embargo days. Gas stations weren’t owned by corporations then, most were owned by independent operators (a fact that the oil companies chafed at, according to the trade magazines) and had a repair and inspection business attached. There were only two pumps, regular and premium. Some, not all, were forced by the oil companies to spend their own money to install a third pump for “low-lead” gas. Around here there was a game of musical chairs as independents switched brands in a futile attempt to not have to install the third pump. Automakers and oil companies were busy trying to figure out how to do the job of valve seat lubrication without tetraethyl lead. Lead allowed for increased compression ratios and also lubricated the valve seats. By the time unleaded gas was required for 1975 model cars (light trucks over 6000 lbs. GVW were exempt, and the manufacturers responded with the 150-series trucks with a GVWR of 6150) the infrastructure to support unleaded gas was in place. Leaded gas was still sold until the early 1980s, IIRC.

    Like 4
  4. Troy s

    Not that bad, never realized just how low these sold. Even 77000 in 1970 pales in comparison to the other pony cars when you think of it.
    340 has the bones to motivate, looks like an aftermarket intake manifold here. That can only help performance wise.
    Unleaded fuel was going to be required by ’75 for the all new catalytic converter. Leaded fuel would ruin a cat. Thats the real reason for low lead or no lead gasoline, just like the 55 mile an hour speed limit was all about saving fuel and had nothing to do with highway safety. So I was told by several CHP officers. Despite the fake news that was being advertised. Have a geeat day!

    Like 2
  5. Gary

    Lead was taken out for air quality. Are you old enough to remember what the air looked and smelt like back when it was used? Trust me, that was not “fake news”. It had to be done. Wish it had been done sooner. The GM man who started the use of lead in gasoline, actually suffered from severe lead poisoning. Lead was for engine knock, but ethanol helped with that too, but that couldn’t be patented (and a profit made), so lead was used despite even then knowing how harmful it was. Same old story, follow the money.

    Like 6
    • Dave

      You’re partially correct. Lead is a cumulative poison that has long been suspected as being part of the reason for the fall of the Roman Empire. Once they learned how to use lead, they used it for everything…including drinking water supplies, eating utensils, plates and bowls, and jewelry.
      In the 1960s, scientists had been monitoring the blood lead levels versus IQs of inner city children versus country children and came to the conclusion that lead, from car exhaust, paints and coatings, and city drinking water piping was poisoning everyone and needed stopped. Air quality is influenced by a lot of things, but lead isn’t something you can smell or taste. So, along came the catalytic converter, which converted unburned hydrocarbons into “harmless” sulphur dioxide and water. A few years later fish and wildlife managers began noticing declines in fish populations. Someone tested the rain for pH and found it to be acidic. Since the majority of power plants in the US were coal-fired they got the blame and were forced to install scrubbers. When that failed to do the job then transportation got the stinkeye, and low-sulphur fuels and improved fuel management and improved catalytic converters were introduced. I didn’t mention DEF and oxides of nitrogen, that’s another topic altogether.
      Bottom line: lead, cadmium, and asbestos are bad for you

      Like 6
  6. Desert Rat

    Wow, I feel like I’m back in college Chemistry101 after the last comments and it’s making my head hurt, I just came for the old car stuff. Great looking Challenger, would love the restore this little mopar, love the fact it has it’s org. 4 speed and small block and lastly yellow is one of my favorite colors.

    Like 2
  7. Bmac777 Member

    Dave is correct
    I live in the Boston are and we had Regular gas here until ’82.
    It wasn’t everywhere so we would get a tank of it and then when it got down to half a tank we would top it off with unleaded to stretch it as long as we could.

    Like 1
  8. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    At the current bid of 16K, reserve met, it is a great deal. But this will probably end up close to 25K. 340, manual, numbers matching, hasn’t been messed with.

    Like 2

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