Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 4
While the Charger is the muscle car most highly regarded today, the Challenger remains a close runner up and, like its predecessor, was available as a R/T model in both 2 door coupe and convertible configurations.
As with all such American cars, the 'base' engine was an in-line six-cylinder unit, but the most exciting of the V8's, and the one which most people bought, was the 426ci 7 litre 'Hemi'.
And naturally it was the R/T model that most lust after today - particularly because it used instruments mounted well forward and recessed into the bonnet panel. In 1971
, and to satisfy drag racing fanatics, there was also a Challenger T/A model, fitted with larger rear tyres, side exhaust
pipes with megaphone ends and fresh air scoops feeding the carbys mounted on the bonnet.
The T/A also had bonnet quick release pins, upgraded suspension
, a rear spoiler, blacked out grille and bonnet panels. Of course the Americans immediately knew that T/A stood for Trans Am, a popular racing series being held in the US at that time. But as the Challengers rivals underwent continued improvement and modification, it became obvious to many purchasers that it was merely a Charger with a face lift, and an ever heavier one at that.
Dodge dropped the optional 7 litre Hemi, which pretty much sounded the death knell for the car. Despite the fierce competition and lack of a 'muscle car' engine option, the sheer beauty of the original design would see production struggle on for another 3 years until it was finally dropped altogether in 1974