1974 Dodge Challenger
2dr Hardtop Coupe
8-cyl. 318cid/150hp 2bbl
With an experienced team and a lot of data.
The Arab oil embargo stunned the U.S. auto industry and dealt essentially the final blow to the muscle car market as fuel gauges became more important to motorists than speedometers. Gasoline rose from 39 cents a gallon to an unthinkable $1.69, and Interstate speed limits dropped from 70 mph to 55 mph.
The Challenger was canceled partway through the 1974 season after only 11,354 were sold. Chrysler was convinced there was no longer any market for a noisy ground-pounding performance cars. Pontiac held the line with the 455 Super Duty Trans Am, but that was dropped part way through the year. Dodge tried to up the ante with a 245 bhp performance version of the 360 cid (formerly station wagon) V-8.
The 1974 Dodge Challengers were essentially identical to the 1973 models but with beefier rear bumpers and big rubber blocks, as both ends were required to absorb 5 mph impacts without damage. The 150 bhp 318 cid V-8 was the base engine, with the 245 bhp 360 cid V-8 replacing the 340. Both surviving motors had improved carburetors. Base gearbox was a 3-speed manual, with a 4-speed or 3-speed automatic transmission optional.
The base Doge Challenger now cost $3,143, but making it comfortable and convenient could easily add $1,000. The A57 Rallye package remained a $190 option and included the same old 1970 R/T hood with the dummy intakes, blackout grille, and fake front fender scoops with strobe stripes. Rallye instruments included an ambitious 150 mph speedometer and 7,000 rpm tachometer. Heavy duty suspension and 70-series tires were also included. A 360 V-8 added $259, 4-speed $195, performance axle $63, air conditioning $384, tinted glass $38, power steering $109, AM/FM stereo $202, dual rear speakers $32 and steel Rallye wheels $56. By now, the price was closing in on about $4,700.
A total of 15 colors were available: Gold Metallic (YJ6), Dark Gold Metallic (JY9), Sienna Metallic (KT5), Dark Moonstone Metallic (KL8), Frosty Green Metallic (KG2), Avocado Gold Metallic (KJ8), Deep Sherwood Green Metallic (KG8), Lucerne Blue Metallic (KB5), Powder Blue (KB1), Yellow Blaze (KY5), Golden fawn (KY4), Parchment (HL4), Bright Red (FE5), Eggshell White (EW1), and Black (TX9). The last high impact color, Top Banana, was gone. As in 1973, four interior colors – Black, White, Blue and Green – were available, while a vinyl roof could be had in Black, White Gold and Green.
At the end of 1974, Chrysler had axed the Dodge Challenger and Plymouth Barracuda and backed out of the pony car business. Meanwhile, Pontiac had sold 73,729 Firebirds and Trans Ams and Chevrolet dispatched 151,008 Camaros.