Rolling Project: 1971 Dodge Challenger 340

By the time that Dodge unveiled its pony car, the Challenger, the market had peaked and was on the verge of decline. Higher insurance premiums and – later – more pollution controls and rising fuel costs changed the complexion of the landscape for fast cars. Today, the Challenger (and its corporate cousin, the Plymouth Barracuda) are sought after by collectors. This 1971 edition will live up to its name, being quite the “challenge” to restore if that’s the end game. It lacks a drivetrain and has tons of rust but may have been one of just a few hundred equipped the same way. Located in Columbia, Pennsylvania, this rolling project is available here on eBay where the bidding has reached $5,200.

Both the Challenger and Barracuda shared a new body in 1970, Chrysler’s E-body platform. The Plymouth version had been around for several years but was a Valiant under the skin. That all changed for five years, although the two cars didn’t have any common sheet metal between them. After a successful first year with production of 77,000 units, Challenger output dropped to 27,000 in 1971 as sales of the performance versions of the car were impacted by a changing market. 1,078 copies of the Challenger 340 were built, of which we’re told 358 had an automatic transmission, like the seller’s car.

What may make the seller’s Dodge rare is that it left the factory painted EL5 Butterscotch, which was applied to only 5.5% of Challengers built that year. But that color is long gone in favor of blue and surface rust, but traces of the old finish can be seen here and there. The interior was once tan but now black, suggesting that the seats and door panels were dyed. It also had a black vinyl top and body stripes, but those are long gone now, as is the windshield.

Rust is a big problem with this car, in addition to other damage to the sheet metal. Something heavy, like a tree limb, may have fallen across the roof given the large crease all way in the middle. The floorboards have rusted out to the point that you could put your feet through the ones in the rear. The Challenger’s original drivetrain has disappeared, but the seller offers a date-correct engine and transmission for an additional charge.

While the Mopar may or may not be complete, at least the title is said to match the VIN plate and fender tag. For those choosing to restore the car, the seller is a dealer for AMD and would collaborate with the seller to get replacements parts for the “best prices.” The car currently wears aftermarket mag-style wheels, but those will not go with the deal (rollers provided instead). A 1971 Dodge Challenger 340 can be a valuable car when it’s in terrific condition, but won’t the cost of restoring this one exceed future resale value?

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Comments

  1. Dave, Aust

    The pristine Cordoba with the allegedly under powered 400 CID would be a heaps better choice than this poor old muscle car

    Like 4
  2. Gary

    What swamp did they drag this out of? I am happy to see old cars rebuilt, sure, but this is too far gone. Yet they think they have struck gold, and greed has made them correct. I guess it is not my money, but all the idiots trying to cash in have made the hobby no fun anymore.

    Like 2
  3. James Sayre

    The mark on the roof is not from a tree limb it is a chain mark from rolling this car up on its side. Most likely to get at underneath mounts.

  4. Sam Shive

    junk

    Like 1
  5. Gary

    I love my Mopes but this poor old thing needs every panel repo’ed and then some.

  6. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    SOLD for $5,200.

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