1974 was a sad year for muscle cars. It was the year that Dodge discontinued one of it’s trademark autos, the Challenger.
Despite it’s limited production (only 16,000 made) we still see a good amount of them here at our classics restoration shop and around the Southern California car show circuit. This is probably because the car itself is actually pretty great. For starters, it was one of the best looking cars of the time period. With it’s upgraded body side louvers, tape stripes, and a sportier instrument cluster, the Challenger was a sleek and stylish pony car that still managed to look imposing.
There was no six cylinder option in 1974, but the car was still not as powerful as most of it’s competition. In fact, the standard engine in the Challenger, a 360 cubic inch V8, only produced around 245 horse power. For this reason, a lot of people that choose the ’74 Challenger for their muscle car refurbishment project opt to put in a larger larger one like a Hemi.
The real reason the Challenger failed, however, wasn’t because of it’s lack of balls. New insurance and emissions regulations scared away many money-conscious consumers. In addition, there was an oil crisis that led people to look for options with better mpg ratings.
Despite these apparent negatives the ’74 Challenger is still a great auto restoration choice. We’ve seen fully restored ones on auction for up to $28,000.