3. 1971 Dodge Charger
The Charger is another one of those 70s muscle cars that slowly lost its soul as the decade progressed. The car it was at the start would have been ashamed of what followed. This was the General Lee, the car that jumped over rivers and foiled Sheriff Rosco P Coltrane time after time, and it died before our eyes.
It slowly devolved into a neutered sports sedan. In 1975 Dodge tried to reposition the Charger name and created a luxury car, but that’s not what anybody wanted from a Charger. The 1971 car is the first and the best car that the decade had to offer. It all went badly wrong from here.
This was Dodge’s only two-door car after it moved the Dodge Coronet up to the four-door class. So, they sold lots of them in a bewildering number of combinations.
Engines ranged from the entry-level 3.7-liter Inline Six through to the 7.2-liter V8. An old-school four-speed manual gearbox is by far the best option and just go for as much power as you can. The fastback coupe is the best-looking
Dodge sold 2,659 Chargers in 1971, and just 63 of them had the Hemi engine. It’s not quite the unicorn you’d think it might be, but you will have to pay upwards of $150,000 for the legend that was killed off in 1972 by rising gas prices, the oil crisis, and the changing mood of the nation.
The Dodge Charger R/T is easy to find, but they’re all in the $70,000 bracket unless they need work and most of us will have to be content with one of the lesser models.
Do that and you can pick up one of the most powerful cars in the line-up for just $17,000. That can buy a solid V8 with enough power and torque to send her sideways on command.
The Fastback is a stunning, old-school muscle car. It’s a boat of a machine, especially as it comes with two-doors. The vinyl roof actually works and optional hideaway headlights concealed behind the front grille was a moment of pure inspiration. Get a good 1971 Dodge Charger and you have got a piece of American history.