(first posted 5/17/2014) When we think of 1971 Challengers, it tends to be the wild ones with 440 Six Packs or Hemis. Of course there was a base Challenger hardtop coupe during its challenged five-year run, with the 225 CID slant six as standard. But for 1971 only, there was an even more austere version: a fixed-rear window coupe, that came with the little 198 CID slant six, rated at 105 (net) hp. That made it by far the most underpowered pony car of the era, especially since these E-Bodies weren’t exactly feather-weight. Good luck finding one of those now; any that ever existed and survived undoubtedly has had a big V8 stuffed into it.
Here’s the full line-up from 1971.
This is interesting, as Dodge chose to publish both gross and net horsepower ratings for their 1971 engines. Look at the 340 and the two-barrel 383: both are rated at 275 gross hp, but the 340 has 235 net hp, while the 383 has only 190.
By the way, if the 198 slant six is not familiar to you, like the more common 170 and 225 inch versions, that’s because it was only built from 1970-1975. It’s essentially a de-stroked 225, using the raised block of the 225 (the 170 had a one inch shorter block). Bore is the same 3.40″ on all of the slant sixes; the 170 had a 3.13″ stroke; the 198 a 3.64″ stroke; and the 225 a 4.13″ stroke.
Presumably, the 170 was too small for the heavier cars and reduced output of de-smogged engines, and allowed them to cast just one block. But within a few years, the 198 was too small to bother with either, and the 225 soldiered on until 1983, in the US.
Why Dodge bothered to install the 198 in the Challenger, which of course cost exactly the same to make as the 225, is a good question. The coupe with its fixed rear window did allow Dodge to offer a Challenger for a slightly lower price, $2727, in 1971, compared to the base 1970 Challenger’s $2851 price tag. But it obviously didn’t sell in any meaningful quantities, and disappeared for 1972.
The rarest Challenger of all. If any muscle car jerk will allow one to survive.
You have that right. When you see all those R/T cars out there and other assorted Mopar muscle cars one has to wonder how many New Yorkers and 300s had their 440 engines ripped out and how many Newports, Furys and Polaras lost their 383 engines with the bodies scrapped.
It never should have been made in the first place. A Duster or Dart was barely tolerable with the 225 /6, let alone a Challenger. If you want to save the original engine for some reason, OK, but the car deserves more than having that lump of nothing stuck in the engine compartment.
I know dudes that have gone 200mph plus on dodge slant sixes. Same with Jimmy sixes. they’re badass motors and deserve to be saved. Just because you think it’s gutless doesn’t mean that someone who wants a challenger or has one with the 195 or 225 doesn’t think they’re cool. They’re like Dodges Mouse engine. People always swap them with the more desirable engines, so you never see a dodge slant six in the muscle cars like you see the chevrolet I6’s in nova’s.
Thank God for Honda. If it weren’t for their simplified inventory approach created by only selling cars where everything that should be standard was standard, Detroit would have us paying extra for seats by now. Charging for windows that wound down?
The compression ratios of the three high performance engines listed suggest that they were not configured to run on the imminent unleaded, low octane fuel. Were buyers just supposed to chase leaded premium until it was gone? Did they have hardened valve seats? Would it have helped?
Door locks were optional for trucks and some cars had optional passenger sun visors.
Everybody just switched over to unleaded premium. Switching to unleaded doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal; it’s never bothered any of my old cars. BTW, Amoco premium was always unleaded, back in the day. There may have been others too. Lead was not universally used.
The old feller I bought my first car from insisted I run lead additive in the old Ford FE as it had never had “fancy new” (as he put it) heads put on it. Of course I did… Until I ran out of the two bottles he gave me. I probably put 100,000 very hard miles on that motor with whatever cheap gas I could find and never had a problem.
Of course it DID run a lot better on premium or, when I was particularly rich/dumb Sunoco, but alas a poor teenage kid with a big block…
By my dad’s account, there was no premium unleaded available initially when they stopped selling leaded gas. I also heard of guys putting extra thick headgaskets on their cars or swapping heads altogether, to drop the compression ratio to run regular unleaded, and Hemi cars that had their engines pulled and replaced with regular bigblocks that were pump-gas friendly.
Well, there was a transition period when unleaded premium was not universally available. The gas companies knew about this some years in advance, and some of the bigger stations in bigger cities switched over to triple pumps/tanks, so they could sell leaded regular, unleaded regular, and unleaded premium. Once lead was banned, they used the third pump/tanks to sell unleaded mid-range.
I clearly remember a big Arco station in Towson that switched over quite early, a couple of years in advance, with the triple pumps. And there were others too. But many smaller two-pump stations didn’t want to invest, and they didn’t carry unleaded premium.
This was during the great gas station consolidation era, when the number of stations eventually was reduced to a fraction of what once existed. Many of the smaller stations were marginal, and knew they would be gone soon, so there was no incentive to invest in the third pump/tank. Undoubtedly, in smaller towns or certain areas, there were gaps in readily available unleaded premium, but one could find it. Owners of high performance cars had to have it, and they just had to go a bit further to buy it. Kind of like diesel used to be.
Unleaded certainly destroyed the unhardened exhaust valve seats of my 70 307 Chev C10. Burnt 3 exhaust valves and seats, after the heads were redone with hardened valve seats never had a problem after that. The truck never overheated, but was used to tow some pretty heavy loads for long distances. I believe 71 and later had hardened seats. At least that’s what the machine shop that redid my heads told me. I always used regular, leaded and then unleaded when finally even low lead went away. I didn’t have detonation problems with the stock ignition timing. It was at about 100k miles when the valves started to burn.
True in that 1971 (GM cars across the board) had hardened valve seats in concert w/lower compression ratios to burn unleaded, low-lead or regular leaded fuel.
I was being re-stationed from Honolulu to Tidewater, Virginia in June of 1982. There was no Premium Lead-Free fuel in the Aloha State then. I had the 1980 Toyota Tercel (which would ping up grades occasionally on Oahu) sent to Oakland. I do not recall seeing any Premium Unleaded available until I hit Texas, and only East Texas. I do remember, once out in Virginia, a tankful of Amoco Gold Super Unleaded usually ‘cured what ailed the engine’ (i.e., cheap ass regular unleaded – the sans additive type sold at Military Exchanges). It wasn’t until a visit back to Northern California in the summer of 1984 that I recall seeing Premium Unleaded . . . and then in the mid-80’s, leaded regular was pretty much gone everywhere replaced with 89 octane mid-grade unleaded.
Funny this talk about valve recession, a good friend recently had to have both heads replaced on his ’06 3.0L Vulcan powered Ranger. Two valves in one head and one on the other were sunken damn near an eighth of an inch into the head.
Concur. I’ve been running a 1970 Malibu with a 350 on unleaded gas since 1987. It runs great.
> Thank God for Honda. If it weren’t for their simplified inventory approach created by only selling cars where everything that should be standard was standard, Detroit would have us paying extra for seats by now.
Have you looked at the new Dodge Challenger Demon? Passenger seats are an option….. (albeit a very cheap one).
Yes, gas stations around here during the transition period generally had Regular, Premium (both which were leaded) and Unleaded (which was lower octane). Later it became Regular, Unleaded, and Premium Unleaded, then finally Regular Unleaded, Plus/Mid-Grade Unleaded, and Premium Unleaded.
And BTW, I hate Honda’s system and think it totally ruined the new car buying experience in the US. Of course obvious stuff like defoggers and dome lamps should be standard equipment, but now we have a system where buyers are expected to buy from dealer stock, resulting in virtually no choice in optional equipment anymore. All you can decide now is which shade of greyscale paint you want, which of two or three “trim levels”/option packages you want, and it’s their way or the highway. I miss choosing your engine, transmission, interior color, upholstery, seating type, audio system, features of all kinds, etc.
Just one example – I haven’t looked at the current models but in 2018 Subaru Foresters came in three or four trim levels, and most of the stuff on the top one could be optioned from the factory on the bottom one individually. There was one bottom level one in the dealer showroom with a whole raft of options on the sticker. All had the same engine/transmission though.
But it’s true – years ago Japanese cars came with whatever they came with, and anything else was dealer installed.
Going farther back to the Middle Ages, a lowest level 1958 Chevrolet came with one sun visor and no arm rests (nothing to close the door with except the door opening handle), no foam in the vinyl covered seats, and no oil filter. The cheapest radio option had no station buttons.
Some years earlier a heater became standard. I can’t imagine anyone anywhere spending the money for a car and not having a heater/defroster, but that was the situation maybe a decade or less earlier. Even mid range British cars into the 1960’s had optional heaters. Ever been to England? I don’t get it.
The seats are optional to save weight if you race your Challenger. A buck is comical to me, Why don’t they just make it $0?
I liked the “Ala carte” setup of the pre package era, where there was an endless series of options and colors available. I wish it was done that way now, but my car has only a couple of options missing, the annoying as hell lane keeping warning, and the adaptive cruise, which I would have bought if available seperately, and a sunroof. No thanks. My first car was a ’74 Roadrunner and the option list was huge. I remember sitting there with the salesman going “nope”, and “yep” for a fair amount of time.
Leaded premium fuel was still readily available in 1971 along with leaded regular at virtually all service stations. Unleaded gas was a relatively new product that year and only offered by a few major oil companies until 1974, when it became mandatory to meet the fuel requirements of 1975 and later models. While GM designed all its 1971 engines to run on regular or unleaded fuel, Chrysler and Ford would wait until 1972 to follow. And with that, Chrysler would discontinue the 426 Hemi and 440 Six Pack after the ’71 model year while lowering the compression ratios of the 340 Magnum, 440 Magnum and the new 400 Magnum.
Leaded premium was readily available in ’71. That’s about the year that low-lead regular started appearing, at least in the midwest. I worked at a Sunoco station in 1973-74 and 260 (the highest octane gas available, other than AV-gas or racing fuel), was still very much sought after. IIRC, GM lowered all its compression ratios in ’71, and advertised that their cars could run on low-lead fuel. AMC and Chrysler lowered most of their compression ratios. I’m sure Ford did the same.
Rear window of 4-door gm 1978-83 Chevrolet Malibus and its A-/G-body siblings didn’t lower . Not even optional .
A rare car but there would be few takers in the muscle car era when gas was cheap.I can’t see many surviving,most will be “tribute” cars,a Deadly Sin in my book.
Re-creating this iteration with a hot turbo Slant Six, then challenging owners of Hemi and 440 engine Challengers to some laps around a track with sharp curves, would be a great way to bend some minds.
I agree 🙂 for instance the 265 cid aussie six, as fitted to the Valiant Charger (with triple side draught carbs and a wild(ish) cam) was a big block V8 eater!! ..and the weight distribution of the slim north/south centreline meant pretty good handling too for the day.. there was/is nothing wrong with the slant six either ..i have heard older highly experienced and qualified racing team mechanics saying that the slant six is one of the best designed six cylinder engines, ever
..and these slant engines are very hard to kill ..i guess this comes down to good design purely and simply, using good materials and lubricating them in service to a high degree so that the engine remains working in service with minimal wear and tear occurring over an extended period of many years
this cannot be said of many V8’s …Holden V8’s for example suffered from a poorly designed lubrication of the valve gear (and had rapid wear and tear in this area) i had a Kingswood 253 that required all new valve gear after only two years’ of service from new ..it has been said the Ford Cleveland V8 did not have a well designed lubrication system ..my own father’s Mopar 318 had to be torn down (when brand new and under warrantee) and have the inlet valves replaced once again due to an insufficient lubrication of the valve gear in that particular engine anyway… and i have seen older Chev 283 V8’s with the cam lobes worn down to such an extent that the valves opened only just enough to enable the engine to fire..
but i have never heard of a slant six failing in service early.. … ….
253 Holden V8s ate camshafts fairly quick best cure was to go aftermarket at least those were case hardened properly.
I bought a 350 powered ’70 Impala back in the fall of ’80 that had only 56k on it and the cam was wiped.
At least it has the” happy face”,there was a sad looking Challenger with a downturned “mouth” which spoiled a great looking car
Export oriented? Who would have bought such a car in the US?
It was a grandma car- sporty, but not overly so. I can see the appeal. It just wasn’t well thought out.
Not for export, certainly. Those in Europe that could afford American cars (which were about twice as expensive there than here), generally wanted a proper V8 to go along with them, especially at a time when V8s were still almost unheard of in European mass-market cars.
Possibly a loss leader to generate showroom traffic-“Challenger from a low $2727!”, then steer the buyer to more expensive, profitable and frankly better value models.
No question about it they put it together as a loss leader to get people into the showroom.
Probably this, with the car in showrooms only so the dealer would have something to point to if someone complained that the actual prices of most of the cars in the showroom were much higher than the ad. As for who bought it, well — my family has a long history of buying cars that were the cheapest, most stripped-down model of their respective lines, discounted further at the end of the model year when the dealer was keen to get it off the lot.
I suppose Chrysler may have assumed a few of these would go to people who liked the look, but couldn’t swing the insurance costs for even the 318. However, if you were going that route, a Duster or Demon was much more practical and really a better deal.
It’s the Cheapskate 1950’s Dad thing, which I learned about here. Actually I already knew all about it except that it was a thing.
Correct. In that era owning an American car (with a V8 of course) meant you were either a successful businessman or a crook. Or both at the same time.
Here’s an ad from the seventies. As you can see the man smokes a pipe and has a chauffeur. Is he sitting in the “L.t.d. Landau” below ? Also a Pontiac Firebird Esprit and a Plymouth Valiant Brougham….
I found the ad on the website of a US-car owner and enthusiast. More Hessing De Bilt ads with US-cars from the seventies on this page of his website: http://ibuko.com/hessing-de-bilt/
It looks like he is sitting in none of the three shown. The car he is in is a four-door hardtop and it has a window in the c-pillar – which makes me think big Oldsmobile.
Interestingly, its the same with the ad right below as she is not sitting in a Mark IV.
It is definitely a GM car as you can see the body by Fisher logo on the front door sill along with many other GM specific items.
That’s a 1974-1976 Oldsmobile Regency 98 for sure. I cant tell anymore from the details of the ad, but a 98 for sure.
What a coincidence, the guy of the website I mentioned above actually owned this 1976 Oldsmobile Regency 98.
“What’s your pleasure, sir ?”
The photos with the model appear to be in a Cadillac Fleetwood Seventy-Five limo, while the rest are from a Continental Mark IV.
Johannes, I have to say that’s an interesting snapshot of the Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight. It appears to have both front and rear bumpers “brought in”, i.e., perhaps the shock absorbers removed as they don’t extend out as in U.S./Canadian market versions . . . (I saw a guy years ago do this with a ’76 Mercury Monarch Coupe . . . dressed with Cragar S/S’s and it looked pretty clean).
Could be that the importer (Hessing) took care of it and that “bringing in” the bumpers was a standard procedure. The company imported all US brands and models and there was no legislation here for the 5mph crash-bumpers, so the bumpers could get a “Euro-look” without a problem.
Javlin K-79 assembled by Karmann Germany included the six.
A bit of a late reply but that’s not true. Most sold new here had the base engine and a manual gearbox. The strangest American car I had was a bright red Fairmont Futura with a white roof, bucket seats with 4 speed floor shift and a 2.3 lima 4 banger…
I had a buddy who had, not the 198 but the 225 with a manual transmission. He didn’t buy it new, but got it used somewhere in the mid-1970s. OK, his was actually a 1970 base model Challenger.
The ultimate E-body unicorn.
Thinking this through some…there were 29,883 Challengers made for ’71; 6.7% were six-bangers. I can’t help but think that of the 6.7% likely 90% were the 225. This assumption of a 90/10 split on engines yields 200 with the 198 cid engine.
That makes the six-cylinder ’68 Charger look downright common.
Believe it or not, there were some 1970 model Chargers w/ the slant six as well! Those that survive are extremely rare and valuable, too! 🙂
The 225 slant six was available on all the Chargers starting mid-year 1968. I found one and we covered them here: https://www.curbsideclassic.com/curbside-classics-american/curbside-classic-1968-dodge-charger-six-rarer-than-a-hemi-charger/
A friend of mine had a ’68 Charger with the six. Blue (B5, I guess) with a black vinyl top. He asked me to change the plugs in it for him instead of paying him the money I owed him. I was shocked to see that /6 inside the engine bay. I didn’t know until then that it was even possible to get a six in a Charger.
It was totally gutless. The test drive after the plug change made me think, “Why the hell would anyone get a /6 in a B-body car?”
Unusual I guess out this way Chrysler installed their small 215 cube single barrel motor in the Charger a poverty pack lopo version of the Hemi R/T I bought one very used and rusty, why? it was cheap I needed a car and I liked the shape it wasnt fast but I didnt want speeding tickets anyway, someone offered me more than I paid for it a few weeks later so I sold it and bought a cheap Holden panelvan far more use for travelling.
From what I remember, those 215s weren’t common. The 245 was regarded as the usual engine you’d buy and the 215 was the el-cheapo option. 265s were sort of regarded like the oppositions V8s. Like everyone’s Holden had the 202 not the 173, and if you had a Falcon with the 200 you were regarded as some sort of weird cheapskate!
The Charger with the 215 was the cheapest Valiant you could buy, bit of a bargain really considering it probably would have outrun a 202 Holden..
The Coupe body style was actually a March 1970 introduction. Unusually, it was given the name Deputy. It is important note that for both years, you could option up all the way to the 4bbl 383 if you did not want the small slant six.
1970 Deputy production was 4,344. This makes Deputy production just over 5% of total Challenger sales for 1970. Of those, 1,864 had the 198 slant six.
1971 is harder to break down with my resources, but it seems Coupe production was 2,506, about 8% of Challenger sales that year. I don’t have engine breakdowns for 1971, but if it was similar to 1970, just under half should have the 198 slant six.
It seems you’re making that assumption based on 225 six sales in 1970. In ’71, both the 198 and 225 were available, so the 198 might have been rarer than that. If I had to make a guess, I’d presume that very few 198s were actually built, as it was a gutless price leader and buyers might have been unhappy with it. I’d bet the majority of Coupes delivered with the six came with the 225. And Dodge was happy collecting the few bucks extra that it cost the consumer.
I’m not positive about 1971, but the 1970 breakdown was:
198 slant six: 1,864
225 slant six: 1,215
318 ci V8: 1,243
383 2bbl: 16
383 4bbl: 6
One of the more interesting things about the Challenger ‘Deputy’ is that it substituted some cheaper Barracuda interior components, like base Barracuda seats and steering wheel.
It also explains why there was no Barracuda equivalent of the Deputy; the base Barracuda was already as rock bottom as you could get in an E-body.
There’s something wrong there, as the 198 wasn’t offered on the Challenger in MY 1970, including the Deputy. Maybe those are calender year numbers?
The 1970 “Deputy” flyer posted shows the 198 as standard and the 225 as optional.
My bad; I didn’t look closely at it. There’s always something new to learn here every day…
The site I always look at for production numbers doesn’t list the 198, or the Deputy model, for 1970 either – but I’m sure they’re mistaken based on that ad and Googling around a bit.
But here’s something interesting it does say: the 198 was also standard on a ’71 Barracuda Coupe (BH21) model that must have been the equivalent of the Challenger Deputy, since it could have the same engine selections (198, 225, 318, 383). It also says that in 1971, the 198 wasn’t limited to the Deputy-model Challenger either – it was also available on the base Challenger hardtop, convertible and Challenger SE. All of these must be impossibly rare, although it doesn’t give any actual figures, just lists the availability.
Sean, that directly contradicts the 1971 brochure (see post) and my Encyclopedia of American Cars, as well as logic. It makes a bit of sense to have stuck the 198 in the price-leader coupe, but not really in the better trimmed versions.
I guess it’s a mistake, then. I can’t find any other source that backs it up.
You’ll have to excuse me for assuming it to be legit, because a 198 hardtop makes as much sense to me as a 300HP big block being available in the price-leader Deputy model, which did exist and which they actually sold a few of. Logic only goes so far when applied to American cars from the glory days.
And the Barracuda Coupe w/198 appears to be real, too. I couldn’t find one online, but I did find mentions of it in factory literature. This site (http://www.mopar1.us/1970.html) says that 461 were built in 1970 and 96 in 1971.
Since I remember sitting in a Deputy (’71 model around ’76) and it was pretty bare, I would imagine a 3 speed on the floor stick, 4 bbl 383 would’ve been a screamer – lighter weight (less stuff) . . . rattly period Mopar sheet metal . . . . I’m thinking a Challenger T-37 (Tempest) equivalent . . .
The Deputy! Remember it well! Price leader Challenger for those who wanted a low-buck, swoopy looking coupe. Looked at one in the fall of ’76 (a used ’71); value-added, I suppose. Full wheel covers, orange with white vinyl roof . . . slant six (225 – this was California, after all), 3 speed on the floor and the fixed rear windows.
I saw a Challenger on the showroom floor as a kid back in ’70.
I noticed the fixed quarter windows so it must have been a deputy.
I never crossed paths with many E-Bodies subsequent to that, so I assumed they were all like that until decades later.
I drove one that was for sale in 1975 with a 225 slant six, red with a black vinyl top. I don’t know why anyone would have bought one, the 318 was vastly superior. The one I drove was burning a lot of oil and soon had the 383 and torqueflite out of a wrecked Roadrunner in it. I saw it for about 20 years after that. I don’t know what happened to it. It was in the garage where I saw it one day, then it was gone. I always wanted to stop over there and ask the guy who owned it what happened to it.
I hope something better than the 7.25″ rear accompanied that swap.
All current “3rd gen” Dodge Challengers have fixed rear quarter windows.
The 2nd gen Mitsubishi Lambda “Hemi Challenger” did have roll down quarter windows.
Such an attractive car. A shame under 30K sales. Poor packaging and cheap interior details may have been the problem.
That, and the A-body coupe was pretty good looking, too, as well as being more solid and, with a 340, just as fast, all for hundreds less. That price difference wasn’t chump change back then. The Duster/Demon was yet another example of a typical Chrysler shot-in-the-foot, ‘catastrophic success’ which cost the company dearly in lost sales of not only more profitable E-bodies, but also B-body intermediates, as well.
It’s not like the E-body was going to be a great sales success, anyway, but the cheaper, better Duster just killed any chance it might have had right from the start, and it’s a certainty that Chrysler never came close to recouping the E-body’s development funds.
Undoubtedly, no one at Chrysler saw it coming because I’m sure the execs figured the Duster was going to turn out exactly like the last time Chrysler tried to make a sporty car out of the Valiant: the original Barracuda, which only sold a fraction of the number of Mustangs sold by Ford.
i always wondered how Chevy sold hot Novas without damaging Camaro sales,yet Ford played safe and made sure the Falcon wasn’t a Mustang fighter.Mopar really shot themselves in the foot with the Duster and Demon.
It may be something as simple as the difference between a two-door sedan and coupe. The Nova was more of the former, with vented and upright side windows and framed front doors. The Duster was the latter, with ventless front windows, much more steeply sloped glass (the most rake of any car at the time), and frameless doors.
Simply put, the Duster just looked a whole lot more sporty than a Nova. I’m sure it didn’t hurt that the Duster was a separate model from the rest of the Valiant line, as well.
Thanks for this info.I’ve a soft spot for A bodies and alway scheck them out at shows
Were any Challengers sold with the 225 cu-in slant six? I’ll bet they’re as rare as the 198 cu-in slant six.
I imagine that this was an attempt to spur some showroom traffic, these were already on a downward trajectory sales wise. I find low spec ponycars kind of interesting. I never really knew they offered such a low end Challenger, really encroaching on Plymouth’s Barracuda. It interesting to see a straight 6 F-body, or even the more unusual 4 banger 3rd gen F-body.
My ex has a 4 cylinder Camaro.He bought it as a part stripped project with the Iron Duke boat anchor already removed and on the back seat and in went a 350 he built for a guy’s unfinished fibreglass 34 Ford.One engine swap that’s definitely not a deadly sin or the ruination of a decent car.
In the UK 6 cylinder ponycars can often be seen at shows.I had a very nice 6 cylinder 69 Javelin in 1981 so have a soft spot for secretary’s specials
If I had just stupid amounts of money laying around, I’d love to get a 3rd gen Firebird with the Iron Duke and exchange it for the SD4 Cosworth version:
That’s an engine I never knew about,what did it go into?I can remember GMs first encounter with Cosworth when I read about the fast but fragile Cosworth Vega.Never seen a Cosworth Vega though I imagine survivors would be very scarce
It was a race engine, originally designed for the IMSA Spice-Pontiac Fiero GTPs that raced, primarily, in the Camel Lights class… but apparently Cosworth built a whole bunch of them because they pop up for sale online from time to time, so they may have been used elsewhere, too. Naturally aspirated 3.0l rated 370HP from the factory and based on a production Iron Duke block! Like CARMINE said below, Pontiac also built their own “SUPER DUTY” Iron Duke and although it was never installed in a production car, anyone could buy the engines (or parts to build one) over the counter through their dealerships or the Pontiac Performance Parts catalog.
The Cosworth Vega actually wasn’t all that fast by the time it hit the showrooms. The engines were severely de-tuned in order to pass federal emissions and only made 110HP. Impressive for a four cylinder at the time, especially in the U.S., but you could get a Monza V8 that was just as powerful for half the price; in fact, the Cosworth Vega cost almost as much as a Corvette!
Despite that, they are awesome cars and, likely thanks to their high price, lots of them have survived.
Thanks Sean,I love this site I find out new things all the time.
Never seen the OHC Super Duty, but there was an OHV one that was available as an over the counter race engine.
This having ANY relationship to an actual Iron Duke is a long stretch, the only thing they have in common is 4 cylinders, though it’s a good looking engine.
I believe this was used in midget dirt cars also.
18 Paint colors available. Life was so much more colorful back then.
Sigh! And the hardest decision was which colour to buy…
Years ago my brother owned what at the time I considered a “fake” 70 -71? Dodge Challenger with 225 slant six.
Years later I found out it was a somewhat rare Challenger in that it was also a SE model with the smaller back window , overhead console , and light group package.
How about swapping in a modern V6, like the Chrysler 3.5 or the Pentastar engine?
If you’re going to do an engine swap on an old Challenger/Cuda, it’s easier to just go ahead and put one of the optional engines in it. All the parts are available, and you can find a 340/360 pretty cheap and it makes a nice driver. The 383, if set up right, is kind of the way to go as it’s a pretty decent engine and is a little lighter than the 440 is.
I wonder what the CC equivalent 40 years from now will be writing about stuff like a 3.9L Mustang or 2.7L Charger.
Are non-Mopar people aware that a bench seat was available on the 1970 and possibly 1971 Challenger, as well as this generation of Barracuda? Very few built I’m sure, and I’ve only ever seen one.
I found this Hemi Cuda on the bay with a bench several months ago. Clearly that justifies the totally realistic asking price lol
Another oddity about this decision was that the Challenger was initially supposed to compete with the Mercury Cougar and Pontiac Firebird, the more “upscale” pony cars. This is ostensibly why the Challenger had a slightly longer wheelbase and a few nicer features than Mustang and Camaro fightin Barracuda. Yet of course Chrysler deleted those with the midyear Challenger “Deputy”. All very interesting, and helps explain why people think it was the Challenger, who was up against the big boys instead of the humble Barracuda.
My guess would be that the Deputy was borne out of a sense of panic at Chrysler. I’m sure the low early sales numbers indicated that the E-bodies weren’t going to garner anywhere near the volume they had hoped. I think product planning thought the numbers were going to be up to around 200k per year and it was quickly apparent sales weren’t going to be but a tenth of that.
So, in a desperate attempt to get people into the Dodge showrooms, the loss-leader Deputy came out, sort of like a ‘reverse’ halo vehicle. It’s worth mentioning that the price spread between the Dart Swinger and the Challenger wasn’t quite as dramatic as that between the Plymouth Duster and Barracuda.
Still, imagine a base, no-frills Deputy in a Dodge showroom parked next to a loaded Hemi-Challenger convertible.
The Challenger Deputy and Barracuda coupe with fixed rear side windows came out in mid-1970 probably in response to new competition from the all-new second-gen Camaro/Firebird that came out in late February, which further cut into prospective E-body sales after the Chrysler products came out at the start of the model year against GM competitors still being sold as ’69s, but with disappointing results due to factors such as a recession, higher new car prices for 1970, and the market shifting from muscle cars to economy compacts and the smaller imports. And then there was the insurance wrath that hit the muscle cars, leading to buyers switching interest from 383 or 440 Cudas and Challenger R/Ts to base versions of same cars with 225s, 318s and 340s.
Ive never seen any /6 71 Challenger but I have seen a handful of 70s (I almost bought one in the early 1990s, what a slow car) and a couple of 72s (the 318 became standard in 1973.) While I like seeing an original, “flat hood” non-R/T Challenger, in an E-Body, I want to turn the key and hear a V8, even if its just a 318. Leave the sixes to the A-Bodys.
The owner of this six cylinder Challenger convertible spent an incredible amount of time and money restoring it to its original specs including leaving it a /6. It made the rounds in all of the major restoration and Mopar magazines a couple of years ago and is at Chryslers at Carlisle every year and always draws a crowd.
Inflation was becoming an issue in 1971, to the point that Nixon instituted wage and price controls. This may have been another reason for the decontenting in order to squeeze a few more bucks out of the base MSRP.
I have driven a ’71 Challenger with the 225 six that had a four speed transmission swapped in, and it was not a bad car to drive. If nothing else the six weighs less than a V8 which translated into better handling. This car belonged to a cousin and I’m fairly sure that he had done some work on the engine, in addition to the trans swap. It had a 6-3-2 exhaust system and certainly sounded more powerful than the standard slanty. This cousin is somewhat of a contrarian which is why he spent the time and effort modifying the six, rather than just dropping in a 340 and being done with it.
I think a car like that would be really sweet – basically a Challenger version of the Firebird Sprint. I love that showroom perfect resto that LT Dan posted above, but if I somehow acquired one of these with the Slant/6 I’d go the same route that your cousin did.
The really interesting thing is that a 2014 Challenger has 305 net horsepower with a 3.6 litre V6 engine which makes it more powerful than anything from 1971 except the 440 and the Hemi and it isn’t far behind the 440!
You’re delusional if you think that a 3.6 would feel anywhere near as potent as a 440 would in an old E-body car. The torque difference, well, it makes all the difference in the world.
I have edited this image of an R/T into a 2-seater. Would this be a model you’d buy if they made it? This is one in a series I’ve been working on of popular vehicles editing them into various models that Detroit perhaps should have made.
Is anyone else using photoshop or other programs for doing this type of recognizable redesigning or remodeling of production vehicles? I’m curious to see other’s similar editing work and compare our designs.
Hot Wheels did this in 1973 as “Show-off”
For many years here there was a lady who owned a 1971 Barracuda convertible with slant 6 and three speed manual–she was the original owner. One of my customers serviced it and when it was in his shop I got a rubbing of the build plate and the car had no options–no radio, pwr steering or brakes. It had a power top but we weren’t sure back then if that was an option or not. She had guys trying to buy it all the time–I’m sure its a Hemi clone car now.
I bought a 71 deputy challenger 2 years ago from the original owner, and still have it.Mine has the option 225 and auto trans only 443 with that combo that year ,look up( dodge challenger 6cyl burnout) thats a deputy, and thats what mine looks like.
I recently bought a ’72 Dodge Charger with a factory 225 Slant 6 in it. While it is not the nicest looking one at the moment-it is rare. Almost no options except power steering.
Here is the body
I acquired a 1970 dodge base challenger 6 cly 225 this year I’m sure this is a very rare car and it is a survivor of time at this time I am cleaning it up inside was a little wore out I have been doing some research to see how many are still available in the USA would like a count before I waste my time taking to a auction for a high bid please let me know of slant 6 cylinders
I have a 70 Deputy. I bought it from the original owner recently after promising to basically restore and not really mod.
Someone mentioned that the current Challenger has fixed quarter windows. Well, guess what, so did the Challenger Deputy! I would guess that the same applied to the base Barracuda coupe since a bit of research reveals that the option code for the Deputy was A93 (also available on the Barracuda), which includes the fixed quarter windows.
It’s odd that Chrysler didn’t have a name for those A93 Barracudas but maybe they didn’t want to be competing with the Deputy.
The musclecar guys who were in the know back then would have been shrewd to order up the cheapest Barracuda or Deputy with the most powerful available engine (383-4v) and a floor-mounted 3-speed since it would have been the lightest E-body, sort of a forerunner of the later Feather Duster and Dart Lite where hotrodders would take out the slant-six and put in something more substantial.
By the looks of it all that’s different is the glass is mounted to the body rather than on a roll up mechanism, and I’d wager it’s a very easy retrofit if one were so inclined, same for going the other way to reduce weight. It’s not like the 68-70 B bodies that had welded in B pillars with pop out quarter glass.
The test car in the bud lindemann road test doesn’t seem too far from that, though it does appear to be a hardtop. But it’s a regular flat hood with a 383 magnum/4-speed
I like these sleeper option sheet muscle cars so much more than the scooped and striped packages.
I’d like to draw an interesting parallel to the third-generation Chevrolet Chevy II/Nova 4-cylinder. This was built and advertised as a loss leader. List price of a 2-door Nova 4-cylinder was a whopping $78 less than the 250-inch six for 1969. I found some production figures for 1969 that say a mere 2.4% of Chevy II/Nova production consisted of 4-cylinder cars, combined coupes and sedans. (62.6% I-6, 35% V-8).
Although to be fair,the Chevy II/Nova was an entirely different class of car, and although it could be “hotted up”, it didn’t come with the pretensions that the Challenger did.
I recall reading a story (whose source I can not cite, sadly) that Marketing had a big push on the 4-cylinder models in one of the 3rd-gen years, but never told anyone in Manufacturing, so there was more demand than supply.
For a few bucks more (as salesman like to say) the six seemed to be a much more popular car, but at least Chevrolet dealers could advertise the lowball price!
(Production figures source: https://www.oldride.com/library/1969_chevrolet_nova.html )
This is probably heresy to muscle car fans but the Challenger looks 100% better with the flat hood than it does the R/T bulged hood or shaker. It has great lines in it as is, and the universally beloved 68-70 Charger didn’t need no stinking hood scoops to look the part.
All ’68-70 Chargers have dual cut-outs in the hood to simulate air vents. There was no flat hood or ram air/hood scoop options on them.
IIRC, the US economy was going in the tank in 1969-70. Which probably explains why this car came to market.
True that gas was still cheap but inflation was high and the environment was becoming a concern for more people as well.
These issues probably helped the Ford Maverick and later, Duster/Demon. Then we started seeing the Pontiac T-37, Heavy Chevy/Rally Nova and the like. All value packages that came out in 1970-72.
True on the economy, and 1970 was another of Chrysler’s periodic crises, one that few remember due to the much more flamboyant versions of 1962 and 1979.
Also, I don’t believe that the E body cars sold to expectation in 70, so Lynn Townsend & Co. were likely looking for any ways they could think of to juice volume. In my experience, just like Mopar buyers tended to not buy convertibles, they tended to buy low-trim cars.
In 1978 my college roommate’s father found and bought the Charger equivalent of these, a red 74 Charger with not one single option. It had the fixed windows too.
If I recall correctly, in the wake of the 1970 Penn Central bankruptcy, creditors began looking at other financially shaky corporations. Chrysler was similarly situated in its type of debt, and had experienced recent quarterly losses. Financial institutions had to intervene to prevent a run on Chrysler Financial Corporation’s “commercial paper,” as the debt was called. Such a run could have been fatal to Chrysler itself.
The result was Chrysler cutting back revamps of models, and eliminating distinctions between various models (for example, full-size Dodge and Plymouths began sharing instrument panels).
The E-bodies did not meet sales expectations. Chrysler expected their combined sales to hit at least 150,000 units. The Barracuda sold about 50,000 units, while the Challenger scored roughly 84,000 (which did best that year’s Mercury Cougar). For the 1971 model year, sales collapsed for both the Barracuda and the Challenger, and never recovered.
FWIW, I think nearly ‘all’ ’73-’74 B-body coupes had fixed quarter windows. IIRC, the only way they rolled down is if the power window option was selected. It’s also quite possible this was the case with the earlier ’71-’72 cars, as well.
This makes a bit of sense (at least with the Charger) since the ’73-’74 SE model had window louver covers over the quarter windows.
Someone once posted that, although E-body sales were always lackluster, relatively speaking, they achieved goals, which were to put a specific percentage dent in Mustang sales. The problem was that ‘all’ ponycar sales (of any make) were taking a hit in 1970. As was typical with Chrysler, their timing was just really bad.
But, yeah, the Duster certainly didn’t help the situation any. It’s easy to say it was Duster sales that killed the E-body since they did sell a whole lot more of them.
The 70 Challenger didn’t do bad but it was one of those models that tanked in sales after the first year, and only got worse. And the Barracuda just plain never sold well, A or E. I doubt E body made a profit.
1969 was a pretty good year. About half of the B body two doors were Road Runners, GTXs, Super Bees, R/Ts and Chargers. No other company had that percentage of outright muscle car model sales during the era.
The product planner who sold the E body program to Chrysler management says that the market turned at the end of 1969. He went to marketing clinics when the E bodies were introduced and no one wanted them.
The downturn in 1970 was a surprise. Chevrolet, Ford, and Pontiac introduced cut price intermediate models in the spring in response.
The Duster usually is blamed for taking Barracuda sales, but the Dart/Challenger sales split was similar despite losing the top Dart models for 1970 (convertibles, GT/GTS, big blocks).
I don’t know about half of all 1969 B-bodies being some sort of musclecar version, but it’s possible, since the figure I always see cited is that a full 25% of ‘all’ B-bodies produced in 1969 (including station wagons and sedans) were Road Runners.
*Plymouth* B-bodies, that is.
I had two Challengers with the 318 and one 73 Duster with the 225. I completely disagree with your adverse comparison of the Challenger to the Duster in your 2014 comment. Further, I had a ’63 Dart, I would have preferred that to the Duster as well. The A body was getting old by the time the Duster arrived and the E body was an evolutionary step forward.
Road Runner production in 1969 was roughly 79,000, with another 14,000 GTXs added to that total. Sales of the Plymouth intermediates had not been that high, so it’s possible that close to half of all Plymouth intermediates were the muscle-car variants.
Dodge is more complicated, as the Charger was considered a separate model from the Coronet. The Coronet R/T and Super Bee were not as popular as their Plymouth counterparts. And while all Chargers looked racy, the ones equipped with a 318 V-8 were not really muscle cars.
1969 Belvedere = 27,015
1969 GTX = 15,602
1969 Road Runner = 84,420
1969 Satellite & Sport Satellite = 114,157
RR/GTX – 41.5% of total production
RR = 35%
From a different perspective, this is just a business coupe. A car with a big trunk and no back seat and an economical engine. We tend to forget that the pre-1955 business coupes were not only fleet favorites but NASCAR favorites. Many of the upper-class BCs in the ’30s were intended as “company cars” for executives who wanted a bit of flash. This fits the same pattern.
Chrysler never understood brand identity, but always had a good feel for the desires of fleet buyers, from cabs to cops.
How times have changed – today 3.2 litres is quite a respectable engine size, and seven litres seems unbelievable!!
This reminds me of a teacher I had in high school in 1971. He had a fairly plain-Jane Duster, but he said that when he turned 25 he would be able to insure a Barracuda. Funny that I can’t remember his name, but I know what he was driving.
The other thing was that the Duster/Demon/Dart Sport was structurally a hardtop, but you couldn’t option disappearing quarter windows on them at any price; for that you had to go to the vintage 1967, 111″ wheelbase Swinger/Scamp body.
Egads you’re right! I guess I’ll hold out for a 1968 Valiant 100 post to build my dream A-body. Admittedly, it has already been done.
How much did Chrysler save with the fixed window?
I never thought the ’70 Challenger was a terribly attractive car. Over styled sums it up best. Even so, the old Challenger still looks better than the bloated, horribly proportioned current Challenger. I think the ’70 Barracuda had a much tidier, better proportioned appearance than the ’70 Challenger. Plymouths always seemed to have cleaner styling than their Dodge cousins.
I have a green 1970 Dodge Challenger ‘coupe’ with a 198.
A230 trans with floor shifter.
White vinyl roof.
I was told they called this model ‘The Deputy’.
Been restoring it forever. Almost done with my part.
Someone else gets to finish exterior to their liking.
I’ve been trying to stick to as original as possible.
It will be on sale soon.
I want a 1/4 mile VS between a slant six Challenger and a 1983 Iron Duked Camaro .