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The Second Generation 1974 Dodge Challenger was a Powerhouse

By Bull-Doser (Own work.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
From Bull-Doser via Wikimedia Commons
The second-generation Dodge Challenger was produced from 1970 to 1974. Over a decade had passed since the Challenger badge was first used. The Silver Challenger was a two-door club sedan added to the Dodge Coronet line in 1958 and 1959.

The 1974 Dodge Challenger was a larger car than some competing models. The 198.2-in vehicle featured a 110-in wheelbase, and it weighed 3,225 lbs. It was one of the last of the muscle cars. For every one of the preceding model years, Challenger sales exceeded 22,000 units. However, only 11,354 Challengers rolled off the assembly line for the 1974 model year that ended in April.

Arrival of the 360 Engine

The standard V6 engine for 1973 was eliminated, making the 318 cu-in V8 the base engine. The engine featured a two-barrel carburetor, and it was rated at 150 hp. For the 1974 model year, the 340 engine was dropped in favor of a 360 cu-in V8 with a four-barrel carburetor. The 245-hp power plant produced more low-end torque than its predecessor, lighting up the tires with ease.

Engines were either mated to a standard 3-speed manual, a 4-speed manual or an automatic transmission. An electronic ignition was now standard. The optional power front disc brakes featured a one-piece rotor for the first time.

Sleek Body Styling

The Challenger’s distinctive body styling made it look fast, although federal law now required the front bumper to withstand 5 mph impacts. As a result, the front bumper and its large rubber pads protrude further out from the body than the earlier Challenger bumpers. The optional Challenger Rallye package included dummy air ducts on the front fenders.

Air conditioning and a rear window defroster were optional accessories, although AC was not available with the three-speed manual transmission. Seats were more comfortable than those in the earlier second-gen models. Consumers had their choice of white, black, dark green and blue interiors.

Highly Collectible Muscle Car

Today, the 1974 Challenger is a highly collectible car. Some enthusiasts have swapped out the engine, adding a big Hemi or 440 big block to invoke the power of earlier second-generation Challengers. According to Hagerty, Concours-quality restorations command an average of $37,700. Those wanting to dress up a Challenger currently in fair or good condition may find examples in the $10,000 to $15,000 range.

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