Solid Project: 1972 Dodge Challenger

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I have always considered the 1st Generation Challenger to be one of the best looking cars that Dodge has ever produced. The lines and proportions lend themselves perfectly to a muscle car, or they can be successfully transformed into a cool and classy vehicle with a touch of luxury. This 1972 Challenger would have been more of a luxury car when new, and it is now in need of restoration Barn Finder Ikey H spotted it for us, so thank you for that Ikey. It is located in Vancouver, Washington, and has been listed for sale here on craigslist. The owner is asking $8,500 OBO for the classy Dodge.

When a Challenger project car from this era pops out of the woodwork, it is not uncommon for them to need major rust repairs. This vehicle does have some rust, but it doesn’t appear to be severe. The Dodge isn’t fitted with carpet at this point, which affords us a good look at the floors. I will admit that these have a healthy coating of surface corrosion, but the rust hasn’t penetrated through the steel. There is plenty of corrosion poking its way through the original Gold paint, but I suspect that media blasting will deal with that effectively. It looks like the lower rear quarter panels and lower front fenders will require rust repairs, but the rockers look promising. You can’t miss the corrosion that has developed under the shredded remains of the Dark Brown vinyl top, but I can’t see any obvious holes. The car rolls on its original Rally wheels, although the trim rings are missing from a couple of these. All of the glass is present, as is all of the exterior trim and chrome.

The Tan interior of the Challenger is complete, but once again, it will require a full restoration. The car comes equipped with bucket seats and a console, which adds a feeling of luxury. A complete retrim will be on the cards, but I believe that it would be worth the cost and effort. A trim kit would be the most cost-effective option here, and prices range from $1,800 to $2,500, depending on how comprehensive the restoration is going to be. The cheaper kits don’t include items like replacement seatbacks, while the dearer kits also include kick panels, along with a few other things. The dash pad will need to be repaired or replaced, but I believe that the console could be restored. There is a radio/cassette player hanging under the dash, but getting rid of that won’t be a problem.

The Challenger features the lowest-spec V8 available in 1972, which was the 318. This is backed by a TorqueFlite transmission, while the vehicle also features power steering and power brakes. This was not a muscle car when new. With 150hp on tap, the journey down the ¼ mile would have taken 17.4 seconds. There is certainly scope there to improve those figures if the buyer wanted. The existing engine could be breathed upon, or something more potent could be slotted in place of it. The Challenger doesn’t run and hasn’t done for quite a while. The engine does turn freely, and the owner thinks that it wouldn’t take a lot of effort to get the 318 bellowing once again.

The buyer of this 1972 Challenger is going to have some decisions to make. A faithful restoration should produce a comfortable cruiser that will be relaxed to drive and will eat up the miles with ease. If originality isn’t the key, there are a multitude of engines on offer that would bless the vehicle with substantial power and performance increases. Which way would you go? Meek and mild, or muscular and wild?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Moparman MoparmanMember

    Reminds me of the one owner, 29k Challenger that I bought in 1978 (and still own)! This car does not have power brakes, and although it is relatively intact, the amount of interior corrosion is a concern. I see a lot of small bits and pieces that were easy to source back in ’78 when I bought mine, but won’t be now. With the rust issues and non running status, (IMO) I think $6,500 would be a better starting price. I like this car, and if it had popped up 10 years ago, I’d be all over it! I would chart a middle course: mildly muscular, and mildly wild. GLWTA!! :-)

    Like 10
  2. DON

    Well its got power steering, but no power brakes !

    Like 5
    • Ken Killingsworth

      Think I’d rather have the VW bus in the background..

      Like 8
      • FOG

        Wondering myself what could the VW be bought for?

        Like 0
    • Leland

      I would rather have manual steering and power brakes. Chrysler PS from this era was horrible. I had a Duster with manual steering, it was fine, and if you keep the small block under the hood, it would also be fine here. In fact, I would ditch the PS and go back to the standard, or would a “Firm Feel” steering box improve things? Anyone here ever try one of those? Make a difference?

      Like 5
    • piston poney

      my 1971 Chevelle is that way itś odd most of the time if you get one you get the other.

      Like 3
  3. JohnfromSC

    I liked this until I saw under the hood.
    This car suffered from many years of horrible dampness. Yikes!

    Having just completed an AAR cuda restoration that began with a car in much superior condition, that interior is going to be closer to $5K because you will most definitely have to restore all the gauges and controls, heater box, etc. And Ebody parts aren’t cheap. These later E bodies are available all the time in nice condition for $25K or so. Better to go that route. Remember, a restoration costs about the same whether the restored car is worth $30K or $80K. This one is viable perhaps as a restomod candidate only.

    Like 6
  4. karl

    I had a feeling this car was either in Washington or Oregon – with three of the most rust prone cars all together in decent shape , it had to be in a moderate climate !
    Porsche 914
    VW bus

    Like 4
  5. piston poney

    (correct me if iḿ wrong) in that first pic i see a 68 camaro

    Like 2
  6. George Louis

    I had a 1972 Dodge Dart Swinger 2 Door hardtop. Car had a 318 V8 Automatic Tans Heavy Duty Suspension Electronic Ignition Option, Power Front Disc Brakes D78 x14 goodyear Blackwall tire and no Power Steering. Steering was fine even when doing parking exercises. No vinyl top all the moldings : Belt Mouldings trunk lip , hood surround , wheel lip, remote mirror and passenger side rear view mirror, in Gun Metal Gray with blue hounds tooth fold down center arm rest Purchase Price $3250.00 out the door from Garrity Motors Hamtramck, Mi just down the street from the Hamtramck Assembly Plant, Hamtramck, Mi Address 7900 Jos. Campau

    Like 1
  7. Maestro1

    Well done Adam and Ikey! A civilized Challenger at last. Agreed on the design, very attractive car. The Interiors were mildly bizarre, and show much better in this combination of color. It’s a Prince of a Driver. Restore it and do that.

    Like 1
  8. Cycle Salvage Kevin

    A friend asked me to help him sell his two MOPAR’s a few months ago. I took some pics and put both on a Facebook group. I gave the inquirers his number and when they called or texted got a cold shoulder. I’m like, WTF? Apparently he has no clue as to their value. Well, duh. Anyway, he needs the space in his building. They are ’68 Road Runner w/auto and incorrect 440 but the original 383 goes with. It’s gold in color and rusty. The other is a beautiful red ’74 Challenger w/incorrect ’71 340, supposed to be 318 and something making a racket inside the 340. Neither has been driven for quite awhile. I got him in contact with Robbie Wolfe but don’t know if they’re dealing. Yeah, the American Picker Wolfe, ugh, I rather dislike those guys. Located in rural NW Iowa. Pics on my FB page if you want to see…..just holler.

    Like 0
  9. PatrickM

    Does the boat come with it? For that money, it outta.

    Like 0

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