Your Challenge? 1973 Dodge Challenger 340

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By 1973, the muscle car era was waning, but Dodge kept the flames burning with cars like this Challenger with a 340 cubic inch engine equipped with a four barrel carburetor. Despite the emissions controls of that period, the small block Dodge could put out a healthy 240 horsepower.

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This particular Dodge Challenger is for sale here on craigslist in Shelton, Connecticut. Its seller claims it is highly original and has been driven only 71,300 miles. The ad states that the car “runs and drives good” and that the floors are solid. Photos don’t allow us to see much detail, but it’s equipped with the Torqueflite automatic transmission, a vinyl roof and rallye wheels. Perhaps one of our readers who knows these cars well can tell whether this one has the Rallye option package. The interior is showing its age but does look like it is all original still.

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The engine compartment looks clean and well cared for, but there is no way that is original paint, is it? If this Dodge is truly mostly original, and if it has a clean body and frame, it does seem to be worth somewhere in range of the $12,500 asking price. On the other hand, as of today this car has been for sale for at least two weeks, so maybe there is more here than meets the eye in photos. Is it worth an inspection in person? Sources I consulted show that Dodge made 32,956 Challengers in 1973, so it’s not an altogether rare car. But with Mopar values at an all time high, this one might be a relatively low cost way to own a true ’70s era muscle car. What do our Mopar experts have to say about this Challenger? Thumbs up or down?

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Comments

  1. Blindmarc

    Rallye’s had the front fenders with louvers in them. Look at the top banana one that was posted a while back. And I can’t remember one after 70′ or 71′ that had a red engine. I thought they were all blue on all mopars by then.

    • Dean

      I bought a 1973 Challenger new in 1973. You’re right – the engine was blue, like the color of the thermostat housing that you can see on top of the intake manifold. And a true Rallye would have the fender louvres and the slashed stripes running back along the body. And the heater hoses should be black. And the engine bay was not the same color as the body. I’m also concerned about the amount of rust evident on the alternator pulley and brace, as well as on the fan. If I camn pick all that out from four fairly poor pictures, imagine what you might find in person. Cheap yes, and probably for a reason.

      • Elliott Member

        Correction: I just came from looking at my 69K actual mile Challenger, and the engine bay IS the same color as the body. The engine should be blue, and non-original hoses tended to be red. :-)

  2. dirtyharry

    It appears to be “Gold Metallic.” Photos are free on Craigslist, why post only 3? The base engine in 73 was the 150 hp. 318 (the slant 6 was eliminated). The 340 was 240 hp. I always want to see the VIN to determine what the car originally was. The seller says: “highly optioned,” but I don’t see AC or power steering. I guess any solid Challenger is worth some money, even without an engine these days. I am “all in” at something close to 10k.

  3. Billy

    I recall walking into a used car indoor show room and seeing a car very much like this in Rochester, Minnesota. Must have been in 1982 or 1983. The car was either a 1972 or 1973. It was B5 Blue, black vinyl top, 340 four barrel, Magnum 500s, auto with console, power windows, air, pretty much loaded. Only had 7K miles on her, looked brand new and even had the original window sticker on the window (maybe 4K, can’t recall the exact number) I wasn’t too long out of college in those days and money was tight, but that car had my name written all over it and the salesman could read me like a book so he starts his pitch. Supposedly the story goes like this. A local Mayo Clinic doctor bought it new, for his also new at the time, trophy wife. She rejected it, said she wanted a “nice car” like a Mercedes. Eventually the wife got her German wonder car, but the marriage didn’t last. The car sat in the garage mostly unused, and then the doctor used it on a trade for a big block 60s Corvette. The dealer insisted on charging the window sticker price for the ten year old car and I laughed at that, especially when he said it would be a “future collectable”. He wouldn’t budge, neither would I, and the car never saw the inside of my garage. Hindsight is 20.20. The two great automotive regrets of my life are that car and the 1970 Superbird I could have had for a song in 1980. The Baby Boomers are flush with these kind of stories. My kids sometimes do not believe how many awesome now collectable cars we passed on, back in the day, but we all know they are true. Ahh, to build a time machine and go back to that show room with 4000 dollars in hand!

    • Dean

      The sticker price on mine was $5,970 Canadian dollars, including delivery charge, dealer prep fee, and taxes…

  4. Jeffro

    What’s up with the gold color intake?

    • SamM

      A stained aluminum aftermarket intake. They usually clean up pretty easily.

  5. VR LIVES

    These cars were still good looking in ’73, even though the power had gone south. And yes, we all have the proverbial missed opportunity. But I guess we were fortunate enough to have been around to enjoy these cars when they were plentiful. There was no bigger thrill than being young and having the dream of restoring your beater. Getting old is not for the faint of heart.

  6. Fred W.

    If you want to feel better about passing on the incredible deals you could have gotten back in the day, just add up the maintenance and utility bills for a heated and cooled garage for 35 years or so. Because that’s the only way you could truly keep the car in like new condition.

  7. Tony S

    340 was a great engine – every 340 produced was for high performance usage. For that matter many a great 318. Light and robust.

    • Billy

      Yes, 318 was awesome. I have had several over the years. I once drove a CA 4 barrel 318 from the factory, a very nice compromise that wouldn’t have alerted the insurance company, plus pretty good reliability and mileage to boot. Of course, at my age, the good ol’ slant six is more than enough for me, esp. in super six form. My days of ripping up the highway at a hundred are over, just like long pleasantly paced drives in a great running dependable car. Saw a 70 slant six Challenger at Iola, Wisconsin a few years back, made me smile. I cringe to think of all of those (and 318 cars) that now have 440s in them.

  8. Billy

    Yes, that car really was pretty special. I imagine the doc had a garage like that. Presently I am pushing 60, and I still do not. Hardly can keep the mice at bay, much less heat and cool it. Besides, I wouldn’t have left it with 7000 miles, she would have seen the road, a lot. Maybe not snow and salt, but a lot of road. Who knows if I would still have it. Wife and kids, which came after that, wouldn’t have mixed well with that car.

  9. John H. in CT

    There have been more than one of these available “restored” on Mekum auctions for mid twenties, much to my surprise. This car has too much to do for this price.

  10. james burton

    i thought the 340 ended in 73 for the 360 pretty sure i’m right. this chal. doesn’t have a ralley dash or ralley door panels. every 73 chals. t’ve came across had 360s

  11. Darryl Smith

    This car is not a “Rallye” equipped car. As was stated, there is no rallye dash, or side louvers/strobe stripe. You could order the 340 without the rallye package. This is a regular Challenger, with the optional 340 engine package. With that package you got the 340 engine (which was turquoise blue with an orange air cleaner), the R/T hood, the console, and a few other goodies. The 340 lasted through the 1973 model year. 1974 models got the 360 engine, until production was halted midway through the model year.

  12. M B

    At first glance, the car looks pretty good. Some of the Chrysler acrylic enamels of that era did tend to age very well, probably moreso “up narth” where the sun was not as intense. The underhood looks accurate, but … that gold intake manifold and the blue thermostat housing look “tampered with”, plus the missing fan shroud. The fact it has no a/c or power steering will surely kill the deal for many.

    For the 1973 model year and until production ended on April 15, 1974, the fancier interiors of the 1972s were replaced by “the standard interior” items. That means what is pictured as the only interior available (equipment-wise). Although the 340 and the later 360 version were down on horsepower, they STILL had the “good guts” in them from the higher-perf days. Same piston rings, bearings, good timing chains, crankcase windage trays, cams, etc. The intake valves were downsized from the earlier 2.02″ size, though. The 360s were rated for police/hd work, so they had to be tough and durable for that.

    This car could provide somebody with an entry into E-body ownership. Being what it is, it probably will not depreciate, but it’ll be better in a northern climate without factory a/c. Factory power steering could be sourced from the salvage yard, possibly. The basic architecture and DNA are still there, but it will never be as valuable as a 1970-71 Challenger “hot rod”. To each their own.

  13. Canso Mike

    That sure looks like a power steering pump just to the right of the top rad hose.

  14. David king

    I used to blow the doors off .fords and Chevy’s with this engine combination.I had a 73 charger rallye 340.never lost a race with that heavy car.engine was dated 1972 340 cast crank only 240 horse .138 mph . but it would get there fast.oh only hop up was a set of headers.

  15. 56 Olds

    Does anybody know the name of that body color? Is it a factory color? It’s hard to tell in these photos, but it looks gold/green -ish. I love/hate it.

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