Plum Crazy: Challenger Convertible Barn Find

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Apart from the pole in the picture, I couldn’t have created a “barn find” picture any better than this! The 1971 Dodge Challenger convertible is in a Lincoln, Nebraska barn and is listed for sale here on eBay, where the buy-it-now seems pretty steep but the seller is interested in lower offers.

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It’s pretty clear that at least part of the roof of the barn leaks, based on the drainage lines in this picture. The pictures don’t show a lot of corrosion, but the seller seems very honest about it and explains that “the inner front fender wells are VERY rusty as are the front rails & floors. The back end isn’t as rusty but will need some rail work.” I wouldn’t plan on driving the car any time soon. However, there are some really good points as well!

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This is one of the things that makes the car rare — a genuine shaker hood. Apparently the hood and scoop were kept in a better storage location than the car and are in better shape. This is known as option N96, which according to the seller makes possibly as rare as 1 of 11 (the seller says might be 1 of 20) 1971 Challenger convertibles with this option. A very rusty fender tag is included, as well as at least a photocopy of the original window sticker.

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When I first saw this picture, I was dismayed. Then I looked closer, and the floor isn’t hopeless and the dash actually looks pretty good. Maybe this isn’t a bad find after all. Of course, this one will have to be restored to realize it’s full value, but let’s take a turn for the ridiculous here. Would it make sense to you to get the car running and stopping first? It does have it’s original engine and automatic transmission, and it shouldn’t be too hard to get it running. I’m not suggestion that you do anything unsafe, but what if you could make it run, drive and stop safely? I think it would be really interesting to show up at a cars and coffee weekend with the car looking just like it is–and ultimately I’ll bet you’d get more money for the car if you wanted to sell it.

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Maybe it’s just me and my engineering background. Engineers exist to solve problems. We don’t like unsolved problems. A non-running car is a problem to be solved. When I have encountered barn finds in my life, the very first thing I do is go through whatever is necessary to get the car running. There’s only one time I admitted defeat and sold a car on when I couldn’t make it run, and that’s because a friend wanted it badly. So the first thing I’d do is try to get this 340 running, using procedures I’ve learned about waking an engine back up safely, without causing it damage. Then I’d make it safe to drive–this assumes that the structural rigidity is good enough that you can drive it. Next would come slow and careful cruises after cleaning it as much as I could. Then, and only then, would I list it for sale (if I hadn’t fallen in love with it by then). But that’s me. What would you do?

 

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Comments

  1. St. Ramone de V8

    It’s a 383. The 340 air cleaner is there for “protection”. Very rare car, should get big dollars. Scary rust for most, but it deserves a full resto. Nice find.

    Like 1
    • Rob

      Absolutely right – Shaker hood was an option on the 383, 426 hemi, and 440 six pack

  2. erikj

    the 383 makes sense. I thought if it was a 340 it should be an r/t. But those mostly if not all had a rally dash. And the shaker hood throws me off. Still

    • DREW V.

      No R/T convertibles built in ’71…Also Shaker was available on all the V/8s except the 318 and there are plenty of hemi and 6-pac cars running around that weren’t ordered with a Rallye Dash cluster, so a 383 car with out one is not that odd of an occurrence…

  3. ed the welder

    ” F.Y.I. Not included in this auction but available is a 1971 challenger convertible shell that is very clean & virtually rust free. Feel free to call & discuss details anytime. Thanks”… so just in case you wanna spend 40 K , he’s got a shell you could put the VIN tag and shaker hood on and flip it to an unsuspecting buyer…got it…

  4. Frankie

    Putting the air cleaner to protect the carb was smart, too bad that was the last smart decision the owner/ seller? made. For asking $39,000 when it will pretty much need a full on restoration is pretty high. The floors don’t look bad, from the pics it looks like surface rust.

  5. JamestownMike

    I always restore the body and frame (aka. the “foundation”) FIRST! The engine/transmission are one of LAST in a restoration……….a “cherry on the sundae”. That is unless you want to make it an unrestored runner.

  6. AMCSTEVE

    I want to see the condition of the parts car. Unfortunately the fender tag is wasted and will be a major issue. If the parts car is in no rust condition this could be much easier however 39k in this economy is a bit of a stretch.

  7. Joe

    Nice car, 39K is a bit plum crazy.

  8. The Chucker

    Another, “I’m going to fix it up someday” project that’s been stored in a leaky barn with a dirt floor. Someone will want this and take on the project, and I’m thankful they are out there. But for me, no thanks.

  9. JW

    Way too much work for the asking price.

  10. dave

    not a 340 either a 383 or a 440 (front dist)

  11. boxdin

    Gee, for 12-15 grand or so you can get a new dynacorn body. I know its heretic to not honor the orig body but money being an issue………
    Repro tags are available right? Is the body just a part like a fender? The top stack is included !!

    http://dynacornbodies.com/body-shells/challenger/

    • kman

      but is a convert body shell available? The link is for coupes.

      • boxdin

        Read closer, it says the top stack is included !! but the price is like 18k.

  12. Mike

    The Michigan license plate shown in the eBay pics is a 79′ plate. Wonder if it’s been sitting since then?

  13. Scott

    As far as a quick flip no way, get it shipped to you, then the restoration itself.
    If you wanted one to drive and enjoy then pass it on to someone in your family this fits the bill.

  14. Jay

    As the owner of a ’71 340 Challenger convertible, the asking price isn’t too bad. When was the last time anyone seen one in the wild?

  15. james burton

    after stating how rare e-body converts are here you show 2 in one week,odd. still the most collected car on the market for mopars.

  16. Evan Wells

    You kidding Plum+white+white+hood 1-11 made well ill say 1-15 to split guesses i bet done right restoration / presevation , Barrett Jackson in AZ the be a main event record setter . SUBARU!!!

  17. Dimitri

    The way I see it, $50K + for the restoration. Complete A to Z. All in $90 – $100K +++??? Tires and rims alone are over $10K… $15K for the engine… Will the car be worth $100K+ ?

  18. Keith

    Where are the guys from Graveyard Carz?

    • Jps

      I agree if you want to know everything about this car ,ask the guru of GYC’s. He’s the man! As much as I love mopars if I had the money I would buy it and give it to GYC for resto!

  19. Scott

    In the grand scheme of things right wrong or indifferent Dimitri’s point is the way I see it. Sometimes you have to ask yourself is the orange worth the squeeze I’m sure it is for somebody but not me.

  20. renzo

    Unibody construction means rusted inner fenders are not so easy to replace…At the ask I’m afraid this would be a labor of love to restore-not a money maker.

  21. clint atkinson

    1954 Plymouth Belvedere next to it is rare, it’s a twin to the one I drove.

  22. Dimitri

    I will admit that the car is stunning. Who wouldn’t want a 1971 Challenger Convertible? I would love to have one. The rust and extensive restoration needed for this one is scary. Looks like the rear end needs to be completely replaced. If you have the time and MONEY… You wouldn’t be restoring it to make money for sure.

  23. streamliner

    According to ebay, this Challenger listing “Ended” April 30, 2016. Does not indicate it sold for $37,500. Maybe the market has spoken. If someone gets for under $25,000. the math works., but not at seller’s price. If the ground up restoration is done right this will some day be a very nice car again. As for the math, the jury’s out…

    See alot of people posting Graveyard Carz should take on the many rough Mopars that appear in BF. While they are experts, their math is no different than anyone else’s. The max market value selling price remains the same. As the saying goes…it’s what you bought it for that determines a good deal or not. The selling price is the selling price.

  24. Keith

    Big difference between being someone who specializes in a specific line of cars (Mopars), and the average Joe who is going to take on a project. People like the guys at Graveyard Carz already have a lot of the parts for the build that they’ve accumulated over the years, along with connections & expertise. They also should have a network of buyers. The market price for the finished product might be roughly the same for them as for, say, me. But I’m starting from scratch and they’re vastly ahead of me. Just my $0.02

    • Dave Wright

      I agree totally, also a well known premium shop is able to sell for more than an average rebuild done by even an advanced amature. These sales are never accounted for by price guides. My buddy knows of a Ferrari GTO that brought twice the high auction number in a private sale. I think that is much more common than most of us think. The best seldom come available on the open market.

  25. Bill

    Car was purchased for much less than asking price. It has already been thru AMD Installation center. In primer now, In Violet by July 2019. Engine being rebuilt as of this post.

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