A 1974 Challenger SE 318 Brought Me to The Dodge Brand


 

There are plenty of stars in our long history, but Challenger holds a special place in our hearts. The first generation may have only lasted four short years, but it made a huge impact on both the muscle car scene and how fans perceived the Mopar family. While the big 426 ci and 440 ci equipped cars are thought of as the hero machines, engines like the bulletproof 318 ci V8 were no less awesome. Just ask Robert – the guy bought his first 1974 Challenger for just $300 with no title. After a little legwork to get the paperwork situated, Robert rebuilt the tired 318 himself.

 

From there, the mighty Mopar served as Robert’s main source of transportation while he was stationed at Camp Pendleton in the Marine Corps. That first Challenger was eventually sold to a friend in the USMC, but Robert later bought himself ’74 Plymouth Cuda Rallye 360 to take care of that Mopar itch.
 
Those are some hardcore awesome cars, Robert. If you’ve got a Dodge story of your own, drop it to us in the comments or send it along with your photo on our contact us page. We might just feature it here.

 


  • kurt brazee

    THIS CAR BELONGED TO file:///C:/Users/kurt/Downloads/37641_107245285996144_100001320205457_52888_7094236_n%20(3).jpgA GOOD CUSTOMER OF MINE. WE INSTALLED A $20,000 STEREO SYSTEM

  • kurt brazee

    sorry i need to brush up on my picture posting skills but you can check out the hole install on my face book acct. @ kurtbrazee

  • MoparBob

    Wow! I can’t believe you guys posted my article! This is awesome! Thanks so much! As for whoever is claiming this car had a $20,000 stereo system installed in it, I highly doubt it. I sold this car to a friend of mine back in 1987 to a Marine buddy from Nebraska. Hmmm.

  • http://www.westcoastchallengers.com West Coast Challengers

    Kewl story Bob. You’re certainly a Mopar guy through and through.

  • kurt brazee

    sorry for the doubts but anyone that doesn’t believe it can check out a full pictorial on my facebook @ kurtbrazee

  • SUBLIME

    This is a nice article and don’t get me wrong, however, the way mopar brought in some cost accountants and cheapened up these cars was just a travesty. The big ugly rubber bumper guards, the slapped on side marker lights (when they used to be flush and slick looking), the big frown grille on the Challenger, and those cheap round taillights on the ‘cuda. These cars started out so sleak and upscale and then they got uglier and uglier. I can see why they had to drop them in 1974. Even the big white stripe on the nice looking ‘cuda in this article was just that. Big white stripe with no meaning. Even the center caps on the rallye wheels got big and ugly. It was just too bad because if they made these cars look better, then they would have stayed around longer like the Camaro and Mustang. I will never forget that era. Just when I was able to purchase a car, the cars got uglier and uglier. The Cordoba was the best looking car that mopar could come up with. The only sports cars they could come up with later were imported from Japan. I am just so glad that the new Challenger has come out in the high impact colors with Classic versions and now the 392 HEMI! Although the new Charger isn’t perfect, it is the best darn four door car on the market hands down. It sure beats a Diplomat or a K car. As much as I hesitate to jump on the band wagon for a R/T minivan, it sure is nice that you can dress up a minivan and make it look tuff. Keep the good stuff coming Dodge.

  • 440

    @SUBLIME,
    The rubber bumper guards were mandated by the government,they loved and still love to screw up cars..
    Dont know why they put the cheap looking side marker lights on 1972-newer Mopars..What killed those cars were high insurance rates,threat of no gas and Challenger’s and Cuda’s were always priced higher than the competition..Even the last low compression 360 4bbl cars ran 14′s in the 1/4 mile.I have a 72 Callenger Rallye,changed the side marker lights,grill and tail light panel to a 1971 for about 9 years,now its a 1970 Challenger R/T ,since its running a 440 ! Didnt mind the 72-74 Cuda’s tail lights,but the side marker lights always bugged me since the 70/71 were spot on ! I had a 73 Cuda several years ago, changed the side marker lights to a 70,left the 74 grill and tail panel,just changing the side lights really makes the car sleek..And of coarse I added a 78 440,done to 69 440 Magnum specs,plus a little better !
    I would say the best looking late 70′s Mopars are the 78/79 Dodge Magnum,I owned a few of these cars,they handle,drive real nice and with no lean burn and a decent carb they do have the muscle…also the 79 300 are pretty sweet cars,once again ditch the lean burn and redo the smog car or replace it ,it really wakes these cars up,they actually rev alot higher,engines sounds totally different,and starts better and runs smoother !! I had too many of these style cars for daily drivers they are bullet proof reliable and solid,wish I would of kept one,they are hard to come by today !

  • Duster Dave

    I can’t believe there are “Mopar fans” taking shots at this guy’s car. So it has “big ugly rubber guards” and “slapped on side marker lights?” Big deal. Many of the guys I knew back in the 70s had post ’72 cars, and I don’t recall anyone getting bent out of shape over side marker lights. And the rubber guards were easy to remove if one decided to do so. I would agree that the 70-71 Challengers looked nicer than the later models, but that’s no reason to dismiss this guy’s car as some ugly POS. Sometimes it’s better to keep criticisms to yourself. Idiots.

  • SUBLIME

    Duster Dave, I apologize if that came out wrong, the point being is that mopar had perfected their cars in 1970 and 1971 and it was too bad that everything they did after that time made them worse. These cars in the article are very nice and they were the best thing out there at the time. Again, my point being is that the cars got worse and worse (in fact all the car makers made cars that were less attractive). Do you remember the Charlie’s Angels Mustangs? They looked like sporty versions of a Pinto. The car makers did not know how to incorporate the 5 mph bumpers into the design and dress them up. They lost the sporty spirit just because the insurance rates went up. It seemed like luxury was in and the Charger was a spiffed up Cordoba and the Mirada, Magnum, etc. were more keen on luxury than power. This is why the old muscle cars are worth so much money. Again, I am not trying to put down anyone’s car because they were a great car at the time and that was all that was available. In fact, these were the last of the muscle cars and in 1975 it really changed.

  • 440

    @Duster Dave,
    Never said it was an ugly pos,but to make the cars look the best and be 100% proud to own them and proud to be a Mopar guy,the 70/71 were spot on. I restored my 72 Challenger,stock,then the side marker lights/grill bothered me,the 70/71 looked alot better,so now mine is a 70 was a 71 for along time….. …now to think of it,why did he keep the 318 !! Sure you could build them up,but at least do a 360 for the same cost you get a load more performance ..I did a 318 once,around 330 hp…did the same to a 360 and it had over 400 hp !! Well worth finding a 360 instead of a 318 .. or a 440 is the best !! Did the whole 400 stroker,but nothing beats a 440 !! Unless you have $50,000 for a 426 HEMI ! But my 440′s run those down with no problems..
    I am a die hard Mopar guy and just saying how they took a gorgeous car and slapped ugly side marker lights on them and an ugly grill…it is true,but I do own and buy 72-on Mopars !!
    Speaking of Dusters..they ruined those as well,the 73-on had a hideous front clip…and tail lights were not as nice as the 70-72 Duster’s,that being said they still were nice looking cars,but the took away the high quality,sleek looks. I will and do buy 72,73,73,74 ect Mopars !! I even owned many Cordoba’s that blew away ILE Camaro’s and 5.0 Mustangs back when I drove the hell out of my cars in the 90′s !! I would take any ugly grilled,side marker lights of a 72-on Mopar over any import,any GM any Ford as I do and continue to do !!! Chrysler still does stupid things,like the total screw up taking Ram away from Dodge,does this mean I will buy a Toyota,no ! but it sure pisses me off,just like the 72 models,low compression engines,ugly side marker lights,hideous government mandated rubber bumper guards ect..
    Hell I even painted,rebuilt a 360 for a 1973 Plymouth Satelite 4 door I saved from the junk yard,ever see those cars,the front end was hideous,but I saved it,painted it,slapped a fairly stout 360 in it (had a slug 318) drove it for 2 months sold the car to a co-worker never made a dollar on it,broke even…but I did save alot of Mopars over the years,I think I earned to be a critic on some of their less than stellar design changes..When I did buy alot of Challenger’s when they were cheaper,they sold faster and for more money ,by making them a 70 or 71 instead of leaving them the 72-74 versions.. and always took out the 318 for a 440 !! Some people said they liked the higher reving 340/360 but once they drove a 440,they never looked back !

  • ROADNTRACK

    Since we’re talking late 70s, any Aspen/Volare fans on here?

  • 440

    @ROADNTRACK,
    I had mint 4 Aspen and Volare’s at one point…one was a 1980 Aspen R/T(r.i.p),78 Volare SuperCoupe 360 4bbl,76 Aspen S.E 360 4bbl and another 80 Aspen R/T,I currently have a very nice 78 Volare 2 door with t-tops,318 4 bbl,duel exhaust,magnum 500 wheels I picked up 1 year ago,the 904 is slipping,car is real nice,looks like its from 1982 ! I bought it for $600 off the original owner,oh yeah it has a console,electric windows ect..stored in my shop maybe down the road it will be worth doing a easy resto and make a few bucks on it.Love all Mopars…Really love the C-bodies,my 68 300 (3.54 gears)with a 440 TNT would stick right beside my mid – high 12 second original engine 1968 Charger R/T 440 (still have both) !
    Love the late 70′s Magnum’s the best from that era ! Have to find another one of these days…
    Mopar Rules !