Fast Facts: '71 Dodge Challenger T/A
Charles Chesna • Saugus, Ma
Engine: The original 340 was bored .040-over, fitted with 9.8:1 compression pistons, Eagle rods, cut journals, and fully blueprinted. The LA's cylinder heads were given a three-angle valve job and new valve assembly. The original Holleys were rejetted during a dyno session at Precision Motor Werks in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Using the factory iron manifolds, the 340 uses a new electronic ignition from Mopar Performance.
Transmission: The factory A833 four-speed was rebuilt locally; the factory shifter was rebuilt by Hurst.
Rearend: The original 8 3/4 still retains the factory ring-and-pinion and axles, but has new bearings, shims, and fluid. Charles kept the gear ratio a secret.
Horsepower & Performance: The solid little 340 punched out 356 hp at 5,800 rpm.
Suspension: The Challenger T/A and its sister AAR 'Cuda were meant to take on the Trans Am course and their Camaro, Firebird, and Boss Mustang competitors. Charles rebuilt the stout-from-the-factory suspension back to stock specs.
Brakes: The original brakes needed an update badly, so Charles and son replaced the lines, discs, and calipers with rebuilt original units.
Wheels: Wanting to keep the Challenger original, only 15x7 Rallyes were appropriate.
Tires: Charles used BFGoodrich Radial T/As.
Body: Devoid of rust or any major damage, straightening the body required little effort since the previous owner had taken good care of the original T/A Challenger.
Paint: Since the EV2 Hemi Orange and TX9 black top distinguished the Challenger as one of the rarest of T/A E-Bodies, Charles had the '70 recoated in PPG basecoat/clear finish.
Interior: With more codes than a missile launch sequence, this Challenger sported leather-wrapped buckets with the driver enjoying six-way adjustability. New skins came from Legendary with the backseat using the same leather as the front. The door panels-unusual with the bottoms covered in black carpeting and brandishing a red reflector lens-needed only minor cleaning. A new headliner, carpet, and package tray were installed, and the factory deluxe radio and speakers were replaced with modern 6x9 Infiniti speakers and an AM/FM/CD player.