1971 Dodge Challenger
8-cyl. 318cid/230hp 2bbl
With an experienced team and a lot of data.
Dodge was still selling power and performance in 1971, but the writing was on the wall. Challenger sales dropped from 83,032 to 29,883 while the Barracuda did even worse, falling from 55,499 to 18,690. Visually, the 1971 Dodge Challenger changed little. The grille was now divided into two pieces, as were the taillights.
The numbers tell the story. The Challenger line was trimmed to four models in three series. The vast majority of 1971 Challengers (27,900) had V-8 engines. Only 2,165 convertibles were sold, along with 4,630 R/T hardtops.
This would be the last year for the ground-pounding 425 bhp 426 cid Hemi. Chrysler had pulled out of Trans Am racing, so the Challenger T/A went away as well. Convertible sales had fallen so far that this was the last year. The SE series was discontinued, though the roof was optional as a trim package. Chrysler also reduced compression ratios and cut warranties.
The best-selling Challenger model was the standard two-door Hardtop, with 23,088 finding buyers. Prices started at $2,858 with the slant six and $2,950 with the 230 bhp 318 cid V-8. A basic two-door coupe with fixed rear side windows could be bought from $2,727 with a slant six or for $2,853 with a 318 V-8. The R/T was only available with a V-8.
Optional engines included the 275 bhp 340 cid V-8 for $253, the 300 bhp, 383 cid V-8 for $145, the 390 bhp 440 cid Six Pack V-8 for $460 and the 425 bhp 426 cid dual-4-barrel Hemi V-8 for $790. The base hood was now flat with a slight power bulge, but a shaker hood, twin-scoop R/T hood or 1970 fiberglass T/A hood could be added. The base transmission as still a 3-speed manual, but most people bought an automatic or a 4-speed whose shift lever was moved closer to the driver.
Options included sunroof and front and rear spoilers, rear window louvres, air conditioning and power accessories like seats and door locks. A vinyl roof was popular on base and R/T cars in 1971, and Code A21 coated the front bumper with vinyl, after which it could be color-coded. or blacked out. The Rallye Gauge package was available with a radio group which cost $337 for buyers who ordered the AM/FM cassette. Air conditioning had risen to $374.40. A breaker-less electronic ignition system was introduced.
Dodge offered 18 paint colors on the Challenger, of which five were “high impact.” Base colors and codes were Light Gunmetal (A4), Light Blue (B3), Bright Blue (B5) Dark Blue (B7), Bright Red (E5), Medium Green (F3), Dark Green (F7), Dark Green (F8), Light Green (J3), Dark Burnt Orange (K5), Dark Bronze (K6), Butterscotch (L5), Tan (T2), Bright White (W3), Black (X9), Dark Gold (Y8), and Gold (Y9). Remaining high impact colors included Hemi Orange (V2), Plum Crazy (C7), Bright Yellow (Y1), Green Go (J6), and Citron Yellow (Y3). Panther Pink (M3) was available to special order.
A total of 12 possible interior colors were available. A split bench seat could be ordered on the base Challenger with a column shift. Colors (and combinations) included White, Black, Light Gold, Light Gold Metallic, Medium Gold Metallic, Medium Dark Saddle, Medium Russet, Dark Gold Metallic, Light Blue Metallic, Medium Blue Metallic, Dark Blue Metallic, Dark Blue-Gray Metallic. Other lists add additional colors.