1971 Dodge Challenger Convertible
(Featured on 3rd July 2011)
Sellers original description:
Restored #S matching 1971 Dodge Challenger Convertible !
N1B: 383 cubic inch 300 horsepower 1x4BBL
Dodge Main, Hamtramck, MI, USA
166119: Sequence number
E65: 383 cubic inch 4-barrel V8 300 horsepower
D21: 4-Speed Manual Transmission
FE5: Bright Red / Rallye Red Exterior Color
H6X9: Trim - High, Vinyl Bucket Seats, Black
000: Full Door Panels
930: Build Date: September 30
E31317: Order number
V3X: Black Convertible Top
I: International (export) Specifications
A01: Light Package
A62: Rallye Instrument Cluster Package
B51: Power Brakes
C16: Console w/ Woodgrain Panel
C55: Bucket Seats
J25: 3 Speed Wipers
L25: Trunk Lamp
N41: Dual Exhaust
P37: Power Convertible Top
R11: Radio Solid State AM (2 Watts)
V7X: Accent Stripes, Black
EN2: End of Sales Codes
In addition to all this, the owner added the Shaker Hood, dual outside sport mirrors, a Go-Wing, and those gorgeous Rallye wheels, all of which are NOS or original components, not reproductions. And kudos for leaving the original fender tag intact instead of making up a new one to reflect the added upgrades?it definitely adds value to the car because its authenticity is unquestioned. Add in the fact that this is one of only 41 built with a 383 and a 4-speed, and you have one very special car.
The restoration on a matching numbers Challenger like this had to be expensive, and the quality is impressive. Straight quarters, beautifully aligned body gaps, and crisp details set this car apart from many of its peers. That accent line that runs from nose to tail, kicking up just behind the doors, is the first thing that tips you off when something's amiss, so take a moment to look this one over?you'll find it's exact. This car was originally equipped with a flat, standard hood, but during the restoration it received a correct Shaker hood, including the massive scoop, which was painted to match the body. In back, a Go-Wing was mounted and painted satin black, tying in perfectly with the black stripes that run the length of the front fenders and doors. The finish on the paint, well, let's just say that this car needs nothing.
Chrome bumpers front and rear were part of the package in 1971, and they have been completely restored to better-than-new status. The unique 1971 grille is in excellent condition, and the rear panel with the wide tail lights wears a correct coat of argent silver. The glass is in excellent condition, with a fresh windshield up front, and while it was out, all the stainless trim around it was polished like new.
Big blocks were still on the menu in 1971, and this Challenger packs its original, numbers-matching N-code 383. Fully restored to concours standards throughout, the engine bay is simply amazing. Although much of it is hidden under the massive Shaker scoop, you can easily see that the paint on the engine is as good as the finish on a lot of cars' bodies. The inner fenders and firewall are as bright and deep as the body, and there's no sign of rust or damage in this car's past. There's a correct 26-inch radiator up front with reproduction hoses and clamps, and even things like the ground cable are correct, complete with overspray where it meets the engine block. And have a look at those exhaust manifolds?those must have been living in the desert, because there's no pitting or other signs of damage underneath the fresh cast iron coating. The only noteworthy upgrade is an electronic ignition system that's totally invisible. I honestly don't know how you could make an engine bay look any better than this one does.
The chassis is what we like to call properly restored, with original-style undercoating on the clean, solid floors, and no over-restored painted components. The original 4-speed manual transmission still handles the gear changes and drives a tough 8.75-inch rear with 3.55 gears that are the perfect compromise between acceleration and highway manners. The exhaust is a correct reproduction that includes proper resonators, and upgrades include modern gas shocks that help smooth out the ride. And as I mentioned earlier, it rides on Rallye wheels wearing correct F60-15 Goodyear Polyglas bias ply tires.
The black vinyl interior is up to the standards set by the rest of the car, with new materials every where you look. The original high-back buckets feature fresh foam and new covers, and the back seat has probably not hosted a passenger since the car was completed. The woodgraining on the console matches the wheel extremely well, which is unusual even in restored cars, and the Rally gauges, including the optional tachometer, have been rebuilt. AM radio was probably a lot more entertaining in 1971 than it is today, yet the original Music Master is still there, playing its heart out with two watts of power, and the dash-mounted indicator lamp for the reverse lights is always pretty cool. Overhead, there's a new black vinyl power convertible top with a glass back light, and it folds effortlessly into the well, where it's covered by a fresh black vinyl top boot. Open the trunk, and you'll find a new mat, a space saver spare and inflator bottle, and a properly secured jack assembly. Also note that the quarter panels still carry the factory undercoating, meaning that these are the original pieces.
The Chrysler Corporation Broadcast Sheet is part of this car's impressive documentation package, which also includes an owner's manual, receipts, and a clean bill of health from the Colorado emissions board. This car also appeared in a feature article in the October 1997 issue of Mopar Muscle magazine.
Challengers don't get any nicer than this one, and regardless of whether you want to show it or drive it, this one is a no-excuses car. With a top-flight restoration that probably cost six figures to complete, this stunning convertible drives like a new car and looks even better. Full of options, plus a couple nice additions, it will generate interest whenever you open the hood and the numbers guys show up to read the fender tag. Big block power, a 4-speed transmission, and a top that folds? Life just doesn't get any better than that.