Don't Fear the Repo

On the way to Costco to get some petrol last night, I happened to pass the Citizen's Equity Federal Credit Union used vehicle sales lot in East Peoria. Around here, we call it the "CEFCU Repo Lot", since that's pretty much what it is. For folks that got in over their head with a vehicle loan, or life happened and they couldn't keep up...this is the boulevard of broken dreams. It appears that most people's dreams are 2008 Chevy Impalas or 2011 Mazda 3 sports.

My advice: Dream Bigger.

Occasionally I'll check out what they have behind the barbed wire in the off chance that it'll be some late model Shelby GT500 or SRT-10 pickup, but last night this Plum Crazy Purple 1974 Dodge Challenger was front and center. I pulled a u-turn and scampered back there to see what's what.

At first glance, the 1974 Challenger looks similar to the 1972 model, but this year's Hamtramck-built beauty featured a few additional safety features such as retractable seat belts and a seat belt ignition interlock that forced you to buckle up if you wanted to start the car. The federally-mandated 1973-spec 5 mph bumpers don't look too bad on this car. I'll admit Mopar did a better job of concealing these than GM or Ford. 

Aftermarket Cragar wheels complete the 70's muscle car vibe and although the R/T striping package looks factory, it isn't. According to what I've found, there was no R/T offering that year, which means someone called Year One and ordered a set for an earlier car. It looks good on it, I'll admit that.

The window sticker notes the car has a 440 V-8 motor, which is a great powerplant. Sadly, its not original to the car. In 1974 Chrysler only sprang for two engine options: their 318 or 360 V-8. The result was a rather anemic large car. The 440 was added at some point to put this car on par with Kowalski's from Vanishing Point. The truth is, less than 20,000 of these cars sold in 1974. The shininess of the muscle car had worn off on the American public as the 'free ride' came to a screeching halt. Insurance companies clamped down on high horsepower, baby boomers had babies and needed a back seat, and gas started costing real money during that time. Chrysler brass axed the Dodge Challenger after this model year, only to return it in 2008 as a retro model. Blech.


Even if its sporting a non-original motor and stripes package, I still felt bad seeing it sit behind a prison fence. The poor thing just wants to be set free & party like its 1974. $13,000 is too rich for my blood, so I left with my hat in hand, feeling that a conjugal visit was in order. Credit unions allow those, don't they?

Call the governor, and ask for clemency for this Challenger.



  1. That is a factory stripe.. but for a 1971,but car is the same anyways, besides taillights, grille and side marker lights,70-71 were flush mounted on fender and 1/4 panel...72-74 are like this..interiors are the same from 1970-1974..

    The 318 wasn't bad performer,but you could either get a economy 2bbl carb or a better performing 2bbl that would run 8 sec 0-60 and 15.9-16.3 1/4 mile but remember 2.76 axle ratio,1 st gear ratio of 2.45 in the transmission..

    The 360 4bbl was decent you could run 5.5 0-60 and 13.9 1/4 mile times with it...Magazines had 360 non high performance 2bbl in similar weight car running 15 flat 1/4 miles..And a computer controlled 360 4bbl on a late 70's cordoba ran 15.9 (you can remove the computer,ecu and it runs 14 flat..i did in the early 1980's and ran it)

    Remember the 340,383,440,426 HEMI tests were done with tires doing a smoke show down the track,they had 0 traction !

    Drag Tracks were not like today,skiny bias ply tires of that period etc..Todays cars hook up better than old cars..

    Yes the 360 4bbl high performance was a 13.9 1/4 mile beat the 72-73 340

    The 1971 low compression 383 big Block 2 barrel TWO Barrel not the high performance 4bbl with 2.76 axle ratio ran 6.4 0-60 and 14.6 in the 1/4 mile with a low compression 383 bigblock 2bbl..That engine had different heads/cam/crank than the 383 Magnum and that was different than the 383 4bbl..

    I noted the 383 2bbl because that engine the car hooked and went like a modern car,the 383 4bbl and 383 Magnum,440 4bbl,440 6bbl and hEMI would sit and spin,then goe sideways burning down the track and those are the times they gave...A magazine tested one they added wider tires and it still spun but they got 12.30's out of a stock 440 4bbl car..with stock tires it ran high 13's to 14's,all they changed were the tires,and they were not a Chrysler friendly magazine back in 1970..So,better carb,headers those 440's would run quicker,as the 440 6bbl could run 11's bone stock..if they ever would hook..

    I even owned a 1968 Chrysler New Yorker 440 and it would spin the tires when floored even from a 30 mph roll,no brake holding just floored...Those were beasts very fast/quick,powerful..



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