Your next Mopar may be just...
Your next Mopar may be just a second look away. Finding a numbers matching Roadrunner, Demon, or 'Cuda will probably cost you more coin than you can spend. Don't let that deter you-alternative options do exist. You just have to be willing to get into it for the fun, not the money.
If you're looking for a Mopar to buy, build, and enjoy but don't have the budget for a muscle-era Charger, Roadrunner, Challenger, or 'Cuda, don't fret-there are plenty of Mopars that are either project-ready, or turnkey cruiser-ready.
We scanned the available vehicle ad sources to see which Plymouths, Dodges, and Chryslers fell in a range peaking at around $10,000 for one that's more project-ready than road-ready, or $15,000 for a turnkey vehicle-but our research found plenty of Mopars well under those peak prices.
So, here are our picks . . . remember to look out for rust, collision damage, and missing parts when you search, whether online or in person:
An ultra-rare C-Body to look...
An ultra-rare C-Body to look for is the Hurst '70 Chrysler 300H, of which about 500 were built. Still, the base Newports that shared this body style are no slouches, either! They normally come with big-block availability, and can be fixed up to look really cool. Not only that, but you can haul the entire family and fry the tires with them in the back seat.
1 - '65-'78 C-Body
Big, huge . . . and surprisingly affordable, especially the turnkey ones advertised for sale for well under ten grand. They all have a 727 Torqueflite automatic, an engine no smaller than a 318- or 360-inch LA small-block, front torsion bar/rear leaf spring suspension, lots of features (especially on the high-end VIPs, Monacos, and New Yorkers), and a trunk roomier than many big-city apartments.
Thanks to that trunk, its surrounding sheetmetal and what you can put in it, C-Bodies are serious competitors in burnout contests. Just light up the rear tires and the engine's torque-and the weight of the body's rear overhang-does the rest.
Keep an eye out for ones with factory bucket seats and console shifters, including Plymouth Sport Furys, Dodge Polara 500s, and Chrysler 300s. As for C-Bodies with the factory police package . . . ask Elwood Blues sometime!
Non-muscle A-Bodies have been...
Non-muscle A-Bodies have been overlooked for years. The usual suspects have a Slant Six engine and a 904 or three-speed manual transmission. That doesn't mean you can't make it a muscle car. That's what we did with our Dart Sport; it now has a 340 Six Pack and four-speed with 4.10 gears-how much more muscle do you need?
2 - Non-muscle '61-'76 A-Body two-doors
A lot of people think Dodge and Chrysler-Plymouth dealers' lots were filled with only Duster 340s, Roadrunners, GTXs, Dart GTSs, Super Bees, Coronets, and Charger R/Ts way back when. Outside of "Mr. Norm's" Grand Spaulding Dodge in Chicago, and some other dealers that specialized in high-performance cars, most Mopar stores had lots of "Civilian" cars, especially those on Ma Mopar's smallest domestic platform: the A-Body.
Many were built with option packages that included a Torqueflite at no extra cost-think Gold Duster, White Hat Special Darts and any car with an A06 code (the Easy Order Package) on its fender tag. Once these cars arrived at a dealer, they didn't stay long, as buyers snapped them up ASAP.
Other A-Bodies to look for include the base Duster/Demon/Dart Sport and the Dart Swinger/Valiant Scamp hardtops, all ideal for adding big power under the hood. You want an upscale A-Body? Check out the '74-'76 Valiant Brougham and Dart Special Edition, which included velour seats, cut-pile carpeting, and more acoutic insulation among their standard features.
Cars like the post-70 Chargers...
Cars like the post-70 Chargers have often been looked at as merely demolition derby cars, or parts donors. Now however, they are finally gaining the respect that rightfully deserve.
3 - Non-muscle '62-'79 B-Body two-doors
Same deal here with the midsize Mopars. Dealers' lots and showrooms had plenty of Slant Six or 318-powered Belvederes, Coronets, and Satellites equipped with White Hat Special, A06 Easy Order or A08 Luxury Equipment option packages back then, which included a Torqueflite at no extra charge. '68-'74 Chargers were in on the package deals too, with 318, 360, or two-barrel-equipped 383s/400s under the hood.
Though base-trim Savoys, Belvederes, and Coronets have been discovered by the "Hemi tribute" builders, you can still find Slant Six or 318-powered ones if you keep looking. A mid-'60s Belvedere, Satellite, or Coronet with a 361 makes a great RB or 426 Hemi swap candidate, thanks to the B/RB K-member that the original engine sat on.
Also worth looking for: Luxo versions, including the Plymouth Satellite Sebring Plus, Dodge Charger SE (especially the '73-'74 ones with the triple-glass "opera windows" in the C-pillars), and "the new small Chrysler" introduced in '75, the Cordoba.