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Solid Project: 1973 Dodge Challenger 340

Finding a project car that can be enjoyed immediately while its restoration happens as time and circumstances allow can be challenging. However, that is what this 1973 Dodge Challenger 340 offers its next owner. It runs and drives extremely well, allowing the buyer to indulge in the classic motoring experience while planning strategies to return the car to its former glory. If that sounds like a winning combination, the Challenger is listed here on eBay in Port Byron, Illinois. Bidding has climbed to $16,300, which is short of the reserve.

At first glance, this Challenger shows promise as a project car. Its Code B1 Light Blue paint shines nicely, although it features enough minor marks and chips to justify a repaint. The Black vinyl top is impressive for its age, and the buyer may elect to leave that untouched. There is some of the usual rust we might expect in the lower body extremities, including areas like the lower rear quarter panels, door corners, and the lower fenders. None of these problems are severe, and simple patches may prove a viable solution. One offputting problem is what appears to be a substantial hole in the top of the passenger side front fender visible in this shot. It looks pretty nasty and seems at odds with the level of rust visible elsewhere. It may prove repairable, although I won’t be surprised if the buyer opts for panel replacement. The trunk pan wears some heavy surface corrosion but no significant visible holes. The seller describes the rails as solid, and if an in-person inspection reveals the floors to be in a similar state, returning the body to its former glory should not be challenging. The chrome and glass look good, and the vehicle rolls on a set of aftermarket 17″ wheels. These are not included, with the seller refitting the original wheels for the new owner. However, if they have their heart set on the 17s, an additional $2,500 above the sale price would see them remain on the car.

This Challenger rolled off the production line equipped with a 340ci V8 producing 240hp. A three-speed TorqueFlite transmission feeds the power to the rear wheels. When it was shiny and new, this classic would have stormed the ¼ mile in 15.7 seconds. Considering what was happening elsewhere in the automotive world in 1973, that figure looks respectable. Unfortunately, while there is still a 340 occupying the engine bay, it isn’t numbers-matching. It is unclear when the change occurred, but it isn’t all bad news. The engine is in excellent health, with this YouTube video showing that it sounds crisp and clean. Someone treated the TorqueFlite to a shift kit and performed some work on the front end. The seller says the car runs and drives exceptionally well, leaving the buyer the option to fly in and drive home behind the wheel of their new toy.

The original owner equipped the Challenger’s interior nicely, and it remains essentially untouched. They ordered the car with the Rally gauge pack, a factory tachometer, a console, and an AM radio. That last feature has made way for a CD layer, but the original unit is in the trunk if the buyer elects to pursue a factory appearance. The upholstered surfaces exhibit wear, tears, and sun damage, while the carpet is stained and tired. I’m not sure whether a complete retrim is warranted, but some new seatcovers, a carpet set, and repairing or replacing the cracked dash pad would lift the presentation significantly. The path the buyer follows will depend on their budget and how determined they are to seek perfection.

The First Generation Challenger remains a favorite for me because the styling is crisp yet muscular. Even the mandatory 5mph bumpers fail to detract from its good looks, and it has weathered the passage of time better than some classics from this era. This car isn’t perfect, but its solid nature makes it a prime candidate for a project build. Retaining the existing drivetrain combination would provide performance that would satisfy most enthusiasts. However, the buyer may feel that slotting something more potent under the hood is viable. They could do so without the mental anguish of molesting a numbers-matching survivor. If you found this Challenger in your workshop, would you choose that path? Or would you set yourself a budget for the cosmetic refresh and enjoy the performance available in its current form?

Comments

  1. Moparman Member

    The ebay ad pictures are more revealing. Both front fenders are severely rusted, in addition to the other areas; and the vinyl top is peeling back on the passenger side. Remember, rust is like an iceberg, what you see isn’t all you’ll get! It’s going to cost mucho dinero for the metal/paint work and interior on this one. GLWTA!! :-)

    Like 5
  2. Tony Primo

    That’s a real “Richard” move to ask extra money for the wheels and tires. If they are not included in the sale then don’t post them in the ad.

    Like 31
    • BlackTa

      Ha!…Richard…hehe

      Like 14
  3. Calipag

    VIN is shady as F. Correct me if I’m wrong but the rivets should be a flower style. NOT the Harbor Freight pull style!

    Like 1
  4. Rw

    The wheels suck anyway.

    Like 16
    • Grant

      Yes, plus they are too big for the car. The engine would look better with standard valve covers and air cleaner housing too. When in 73 did they switch over to the 360? Or was that 74? The 340 was pretty “weak” by this time, might as well went with the 318 for cost savings all around. If performance you wanted, the 360 was a better option, as it gave up some of the spin for more low end grunt. Better in everyday driving.

      Like 2
      • bone

        1974 was the year the 360 replaced the 340 as a performance engine, but it wasnt better . The 73 340 didnt have the performance the earlier engines did, but it was no slouch. a 73 340 was a better choice than a 74 360 , and no one would opt for a 318 over a 340 , unless you were looking for a grocery getter.

        Like 5
  5. Pman

    Had a 74 318 car in that shade, it had white vinyl top with white guts and black carpet slap stick auto, it had rust around the rear wheel wells under the trim which I’m sure was common. It was bone stock with cold air. Ahh well

    Like 1
  6. Rw

    Tony P your Richard comment were you referring to Rawlings or the D word,our they one in the same??

    Like 5
    • Tony P.

      Jesse and Josh like to keep this site clean. I was referring to the common short form for Richard!

      Like 2
    • Tony Primo

      I was referring to the latter. But now that you mention it, they are pretty much interchangeable!

      Like 9
  7. bobhess bobhess Member

    Get the rust fixed and you have a good looking car that should be fun to drive. Great color, and I like the wheels. No purest here.

    Like 1
  8. Melton Mooney

    The seller would be wise to drop his reserve and get shed of this one toooday. It’s days are numbered and it’ll probably never be worth more than it is right now.

    Like 2
  9. karl

    I dont think “the original owner” ordered a Rally gauge pack or a factory tachometer ; it looks like someone at one time swapped out the dashboard as it should be the same blue vinyl color as the seats and not black.

    Like 3
    • Melton Mooney

      The fender tag has the code for the tach, which automatically got you the rally gauges. But you’re probably right, the original owner probably didn’t order the car, just picked it off the lot.

      Like 1
  10. Emel

    I don’t remember that being a Dodge color. Regardless it’s pretty pale looking as in pale blue. And I have a hard time believing someone would order that
    color. Maybe an Earl Scheib paint special ! :)

    • bone

      Actually it was a popular color for Mopars , although maybe not the Challenger/Barracuda cars. The color was used for several years; 1972-1974 I believe. It was popular on A bodies , but I’ve seen B bodied cars as well as well as full size models . I owned a 72 Fury II ,and the CT. State police used 73 Furys painted this color

  11. Karl

    When I was in high school a guy got his grandmas challenger it looked just like but was perfect condition. It had the 360 which I thought was kind of a dog, I was wrong the car was actually fairly impressive, every time I saw this kid driving the car he was rodding the Dickens out of it. Within a month the HP was way down and it was smoking like an old diesel truck! Pretty sad I remember thinking!

    Like 2
  12. Tahir Khan

    73 was a dog year for these challengers, rusted and abused with a small block. The bidders are in for a rude awakening when they take this on, not worth the current asking let alone after more money is dumped into the crapper.

  13. John Oliveri

    Before we even address the car, those wheels are trash, nice car, needs some money put into it, once you peel back the rest of that vinyl top, your gonna find more rust, so with a repaint, rust repair, interior, drive train refresh, dash cover, and it’s a 73, non #s matching, where are you,

    Like 2
  14. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    At the current 20K, not too bad for a 340 E Body. But those wheels look horrible and I would be glad to leave them with the current owner.

  15. John Oliveri

    Those wheels, horrible!!! Why would anyone put them on a mid 70s almost muscle car, terrible

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