We love vintage road tests and reviews from our old friend, the late, great Bud Lindemann and his classic TV show Car and Track. Airing for eight years from ’67-75, it featured quite a range of now-classic muscle cars from GM, Ford, Chrysler and often enough, AMC. In this particular episode, he tests the ’71 Dodge Challenger equipped with a 383 small-block powerplant and a 4-speed gearbox.
There was plenty to like about the ’71 Challenger… and plenty to be disappointed about. Even for the era, the brakes and suspension left a lot to be desired (plenty of brake fade with poor heat dissipation and the handling was rather roll-happy), although the power and gear shifter were on point. The soundtrack was impressive and for a small-block of its era as well without a catalytic converter to quell the tunes, and the power was rather responsive — clocking 0-70 in 8-seconds flat.
The ’71 Challenger was mostly carry-over form the 1970 model year, in terms of its styling but as Bud states, it’s not really a bad thing as it would go on to influence the Challenger sitting inside Dodge showrooms today. Of course by today’s standards, owning a one-trick pony would hold much weight with modern muscle car buyers. Twenty-first century muscle needs to be able to handle, stop and perform at least on par with Europe’s best. As classic Mopar aficionados, ask us if we care.
Rick Seitz is the owner and founder of Timeless Muscle Magazine, and has a true love and passion for all vehicles. When he isn’t tuning, testing, or competing with the brand’s current crop of project vehicles, he’s busy tinkering and planning the next modifications for his own cars.