Introduced in late 1969 as a counterpart to the third-generation Plymouth Barracuda, the Dodge Challenger arrived a bit late to the muscle car party. And it didn’t stay long either because Dodge discontinued the nameplate after the 1974 model year.
But the Challenger arrived with a bang and became one of the most desirable high-performance vehicles of the era thanks to its aggressive styling and powerful V8 engines. Just like the Barracuda, it hit showrooms with both the 383- and 440-cubic-inch (6.3- and 7.2-liter) big-block mills, as well as the mighty 426-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) HEMI V8.
These engines were discontinued after the 1971 model year, so the Challenger needed only a couple of years to make a lasting impression on muscle car enthusiasts. Come 2022 and these early Challengers are highly desirable. Even when they’ve spent decades in barns and came out of storage with a lot of rust and with no engine. Like this 1971 hardtop in Green Go.
The muscle car was part of a massive Mopar collection that includes both restored and derelict Plymouth and Dodges. Unfortunately, the owners had too many projects on their hands and never got to work on the Challenger, so the coupe spent a few good decades in a warehouse. But fortunately enough, it got a second chance from YouTube’s “BryceCold,” who bought it intending to put it back on the road.
It will be a difficult task though. The Challenger is missing its 383-cubic-inch V8 and three-speed TorqueFlyte gearbox, while both the exterior and the interior are in rough shape. The Green Go paint has faded away, the body needs a lot of metal work, and the interior has holes in the floor panels and was packed with rat nests.
Yup, it will take a while until this Mopar becomes road-worthy again, but Bryce seems determined to turn the rust bucket into an attention-grabbing classic. Until that happens, he gave the Challenger its first cleaning in more than 25 years. Yes, the Green Go paint doesn’t pop out as it used to but the process is very satisfying to watch. Especially since it’s the beginning of a fantastic revival.