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The June 2018 issue of Muscle Machines ran an interesting article about the history of MOPAR E-body cars. Here are some excerpts:

"By the time the performance wars really took off in the early 1960s, Chrysler was well armed for the fight, even if it lagged in packaging branded supercar models. When it did, the company's Plymouth and Dodge divisions pulled out the stops. Cartoon characters as mascots (e.g., Road Runner, Duster and Demon), fiberglass hoods, Hemi engines, etc.

As Mustang grew in both sales and size over time, Chrysler engineers felt restricted by their A-Body. It was tough enough getting a big-block 383 in there, and slightly more challenging to follow up with a 440, but dropping a Hemi would require major fabrication work., as the Hurst-built 1968 Hemi Darts and Barracuda demonstrated. For 1970, Chrysler debuted the E-body siblings: the Dodge Challenger and Plymouth Barracuda. The E-body was really Chrysler's long-standing B-body platform with a few inches taken out of the middle to tighten things up: The 117-inch wheelbase Charger begat the 110-inch Challenger and the 116-inch Road runner begat the 108-inch Barracuda. Width was not reduced and the entire range of Chrysler engines were available, from the unkillable slant-six to the legendary Hemi. New shapes, endless option sheets, 9 engine choices and bold colors meant that they could be anything you wanted, from a Challenger SE to a Challenger T/A or 'Cuda AAR, modeled after the cars seen in SCAA Trans Am competition: rev-happy 340s with aluminum Edelbrock intakes and six hungry carbs and firm Rallye suspension, front and rear anti-roll bars, fast-ratio steering, big-n-little white letter rubber on 15-inch wheels. There was even a side-exiting exhaust and blacked-out cold-air hoods made of fiberglass. Of course, if you were a hardcore quarter-mile fan, you could order a 4-speed Hemi with a Super Track Pak and 4.10 gears for your R/T or 'Cuda.

Such choice meant that Challenger bolted out of the gate hard with 83,032 built for 1970- Barracudas sold 55,499 cars. Despite this, muscle cars were breathing their last hurrah and, in 1971, Challenger sales fell to 29,883 and Barracuda sales to 18,690. By 1972, the biggest engine that you could order was a de-tuned 340. Challenger sales were 26,658 and Barracuda sales were 18,450. In 1973, sales were 32,596 for the Challenger 22,213 for the Barracuda. In 1974, their final year, Challenger sales were 16,437 and Barracuda sales were 11,734. Overall, 188,606 Challengers and 126,586 Barracuda were made from 1970-1974.

But sometimes, yesterday's sales slump means today's sought after rarity. Consider this, while 315,192 Challengers and Barracuda were built in 5 years, Mustangs topped an incredible 416,000 units in their first 18 months of production! Remember this next time you wonder how E-bodies continue to sniff around the six-figure threshold at the classic-car auctions."
 

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Not to mention, they are damn sexy. If I could have my 71 340 'Cuda back...
that helps......but it really is all about the numbers/

I think back to my high-school years.......'graduated in '78..........my GOD what we did to these cars.

They were cheap second hand rattling, often tired and rusty CRAP....... at least that is what we saw them as. But this also describes what a "kid" can afford. By the early 1980s a lot of these cars Chrysler, Ford and Chevy were all in pretty tough shape. Worse still? Few people if any who owned them even began to appreciate that one day in the not too distant future they'd be seriously VALUED if in good shape and mostly unmolested.

I think back to how we cut holes in the doors for cheap crappy stereo speakers. Ran them into the ground for mileage and abuse and since most cars were still RWD few people in the Northern Climates saw much reason to park 'em when the snow started to fly and the roads got coated with salt. It's almost amazing any of the old Muscle cars and Pony cars are still with us today.

All of this adds up to why all these cars are worth so much today when a survivor is still around in decent shape.

The Chrysler E-body is just MORE expensive than the Mustang or Camaro because of those original sales numbers.

You can wonder why but for those of us old enough to remember......Chrysler cars of that era were just very SECOND RATE QUALITY vs the GM offerings for sure and often the same could be said of them vs Ford. Though Ford sure did try to match Chrysler for cheap build quality and rust issues.

Chrysler's one saving grace was found in how they made KICK ASS drive trains.....the 340 was really strong small block and the Hemi developed it's legendary status early on.......but those bodies......nice looking but I swear they started rattling and falling apart as you left the lot.

Fact is you find a near perfect '70s era Barracuda or Challenger today.......it's had a string of previous owners who kept up with all this as it came up over the years. No big deal for a "car guy" but when cars are new or close to new most fall into the hands of people who just won't take the time. Gotta wonder how many Barracudas and Challengers wound up in a wrecking yard before their time. No doubt this adds to their rarity today vs GM F Bodies and Ford's Mustangs too.
 

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Neat history lesson. I wish I could have been born back then instead of 73.

Mopar or No Car
My high school parking lot was filled with Chevelles, Cudas, Mustangs, Camaros, Firebirds and other big body muscle cars........lots forgettable CRAP too though.

Ford Mavaricks and Pintos, Chevy Vegas and dull as dish-water Chevy Novas, and pretty crappy Dodge Dusters and Darts that almost never had the cool 340 but instead a grocery-getter 318 or slant 6.

Worse still.....I can't emphasize this enough....as cool as it sounds......it really wasn't. These cars were used up and in tough shape .....any of us would have traded what might be a SUPER HIGH VALUE muscle or pony car today away in a moment for a new Trans Am or other emissions era car that struggle to a find a buyer today for less than 1/4 of what a '67-69 Camaro or Mustang fetches now......even less vs the now much rarer old Barracuda.

But trust me......you'd have done it too back then.

We just didn't know.......like so many things.

You often don't appreciate 'em when their around and so often you struggle to understand how you failed to realize it after they're gone.
 

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Here's my perspective as someone who lived back then as a youngster and has owned many Mopars of all 'body' types....


1) The E bodies are top $$ because they simply look gorgeous. Women are much the same.

2) The E body is the 'worst' of what was a very well built line of cars (the 64-74 Mopars). They rattle more and leaks more and generally are not as solid as the A, B, C bodies. But they're still very good cars....sound engineering, great looks, great drivetrains.
3) I disagree with the comment above that people were dying to trade them in on smog-mobiles. Sure, there are always people who want whatevcr is new....but by 75 everyone knew the new cars were not as good as last year's model.In the 80's, the pure enjoyment of the these cars came into being. They were plentiful, cheap, easy to work on, and better cars than anything you could buy new.

4) Things have changed...these cars are no longer cheap and while you can find parts, they are not cheap. Plus, they've become 'known' by far too many people and you actually have people who have owned Chevy and Fords eyeing them. Yuck....

5) All the old cars are great but have become nearly unusable.....are you really gonna leave your 340-4speed 'cuda sitting in a movie parking lot? Or at the airport? I'm not.
 

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Here's my perspective as someone who lived back then as a youngster and has owned many Mopars of all 'body' types....


1) The E bodies are top $$ because they simply look gorgeous. Women are much the same.

2) The E body is the 'worst' of what was a very well built line of cars (the 64-74 Mopars). They rattle more and leaks more and generally are not as solid as the A, B, C bodies. But they're still very good cars....sound engineering, great looks, great drivetrains.

3) I disagree with the comment above that people were dying to trade them in on smog-mobiles. Sure, there are always people who want whatevcr is new....but by 75 everyone knew the new cars were not as good as last year's model.In the 80's, the pure enjoyment of the these cars came into being. They were plentiful, cheap, easy to work on, and better cars than anything you could buy new.
If you're old enough to remember your memories are looking back with a BIASED view of what we know about the era today. I stand by it. CRAZY as it sounds today to think it was ever true......those dumb ass Firebirds with the screaming chicken hoods were the hot ticket. That and Corvettes were all awfully popular choices.... Ford's Mustang was garbage and Chrysler was just trying to SURVIVE.....it came really close to DEATH in the late 70s......Lee Iacocca came within a heartbeat of packing the whole car company in to sell M1 tanks instead.

But really.....as much as Car Guys loved the old muscle cars they just weren't as popular as you want to believe. If they had been.....more would still be around today. The resurgence of their popularity for better or worse is directly linked to the crazy prices they command at auction today. People started to really look at them more seriously in the late 1980s and by the 1990s they were starting to get expensive. I wish you were correct on this. If you were......we'd have a whole lot more running around today. God knows when you look at the #s.....more than enough of the pony cars and muscle cars of the 1960s and early 70s were sold to ensure a lot more would still be with us today. We lost the majority during that period when they were all viewed as just a bunch of dated old cars that were never going to be worth anything. They CRUSHED, as if they were worthless, a lot of old muscle and pony cars in a condition that if you found one today in a barn.....you'd feel like you'd stumbled into GOLD.
4) Things have changed...these cars are no longer cheap and while you can find parts, they are not cheap. Plus, they've become 'known' by far too many people and you actually have people who have owned Chevy and Fords eyeing them. Yuck....

5) All the old cars are great but have become nearly unusable.....are you really gonna leave your 340-4speed 'cuda sitting in a movie parking lot? Or at the airport? I'm not.
"cheap parts" are a function of the aftermarket. This is another reason an intact E body command BIG $.

Lower volume sold amounts to a much harder market to make money in for the aftermarket.

The much bigger numbers of Mustang and Camaros built ensures a much easier time for the Ford and Chevy guys to find parts at affordable prices.

....and while I wouldn't park any car I cared about in airport parking......I wouldn't be the least bit worried about driving an insured 340 Cuda around town or parking it for a short period of time......I'd still only be worried about the things that always worry me. Door dings and other stupid crap that happens. Perfect matching #s Hemi Cudas are in the stratosphere but I think you can still drive your 340 just about anywhere today.....they aren't too expensive or crazy at all. You can still find a decent one for less than or about the price a new Challenger today.
 

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You can buy a 340 cuda for the price of a new Challenger but you can't replace it nearly as easily. So for the average car guy who has years of his life and lots of sentiment invested in his car, he's just not gonna treat it like a commodity. I have old Mopars I've owned well over 30 years and my new SRT is far more expendable and a lot harder to steal.


There's no bias on my part. By 1982, Michael Jackson was outselling The Who and The Stones put together....but that didn't mean he was better. It just speaks to the poor tastes and habits of the public. I could see a Pontiac guy getting hot for a chicken Trans Am because the car was not a lot different than a 1970 Firebird. But a Mustang? Or Mopar? There was nothing new that didn't blow. Only dopes were trading in their Hemi for a 1978 Volare. I'm sure some did, but they were dopes.



1980....my father had a 68 Newport wagon, 383-4 with factory 3.55SG. Basically a Roadrunner drivetrain in a wagon. He lent it to my 19 year old cousin Steve who smoked, drank, and later went on to become an active member of a well known Harley Davidson motorcycle riding club. So we'd go out with Steve in the wagon and lay to waste all of those new chicken TransAms and Corvettes. We had no illusions or biases as to what was real muscle and what was vinyl striping and smog motors. New cars were disparaged...expensive, slow, emissions controls, lots of cheap velour and chrome clad plastic.


As an afterthought, I'll add that no one really cared about Hemi's. They were too scarce and expensive...the 440 was king. No one messed with a 440 powered anything....
 

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You can buy a 340 cuda for the price of a new Challenger but you can't replace it nearly as easily. So for the average car guy who has years of his life and lots of sentiment invested in his car, he's just not gonna treat it like a commodity. I have old Mopars I've owned well over 30 years and my new SRT is far more expendable and a lot harder to steal.


There's no bias on my part. By 1982, Michael Jackson was outselling The Who and The Stones put together....but that didn't mean he was better. It just speaks to the poor tastes and habits of the public. I could see a Pontiac guy getting hot for a chicken Trans Am because the car was not a lot different than a 1970 Firebird. But a Mustang? Or Mopar? There was nothing new that didn't blow. Only dopes were trading in their Hemi for a 1978 Volare. I'm sure some did, but they were dopes.



1980....my father had a 68 Newport wagon, 383-4 with factory 3.55SG. Basically a Roadrunner drivetrain in a wagon. He lent it to my 19 year old cousin Steve who smoked, drank, and later went on to become an active member of a well known Harley Davidson motorcycle riding club. So we'd go out with Steve in the wagon and lay to waste all of those new chicken TransAms and Corvettes. We had no illusions or biases as to what was real muscle and what was vinyl striping and smog motors. New cars were disparaged...expensive, slow, emissions controls, lots of cheap velour and chrome clad plastic.


As an afterthought, I'll add that no one really cared about Hemi's. They were too scarce and expensive...the 440 was king. No one messed with a 440 powered anything....
I still think there is a lot of BIAS in your commentary. BTW- like you.....I wasn't a Micheal Jackson fan but the fact that he was outselling the Rock I liked is proof of my BIAS in music. It completely discounts the argument that I would agree the Stones and the Who were better bands at the time......clearly most of the public didn't agree with your or me. It's our BIAS that has us so confidently speaking out against what the public was clearly saying differently when they bough over 30 million copies of "thriller"

You're coming at this from the thought process of a TRUE CAR GUY and it's coloring your memories of how this all went down.

The thread asks why the E Bodies command the pricing they do today.

Ultimately it comes back to the idea that you were in the minority, in a BIG WAY back then.

Like you I too remember the disparaging commentary of the smog cars. We referred to the super popular late 70s F-cars as "Disco-wagons". It never got anymore insulting and disparaging than it did when the word "disco" was attatched to anything. (I'm sure you remember that)

But here's an indisputable FACT supported in the one and only really objective measure worth pointing to......sales numbers. 1979......was the PEAK YEAR of sales for both the Chevrolet Camaro and Corvette both.

CRAZY AS IT SOUNDS today.....despite stupid low HP and Jimmy Carter's self described "economic malaise" with crazy high interest rates......GM had never before or since sold more F Cars or Corvettes.

I only wish more Car Guys had existed and turned their back on the trend....we'd have more old Muscle cars around today if they had.

Time past tends to provide clarity later though.

Today the E Bodies are far more appreciated for what they are and were far more so than when they were actually still very commonly seen in traffic.

Rare isn't enough to get BIG PRICES at auction. There are plenty of really low production number cars of nearly no extra value today because nobody really cares enough to bid 'em up. But an old Barracuda with all the right options and in original condition is far more popular now than it was "back in the day".

Proof is easily found in those auction numbers. A top of the line with all the right options Camaro from 1970 won't raise anything close to what a similarly described 1970 Barracuda will......but in 1970 a lot of people picked the Camaro over the Cuda. That's just undiniable.....the production #s back that statement up as surely as auction numbers today back up the idea that this has all "flipped" into the favor of the E Body.
 

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Got my first E-body in high school, a 70 Barracuda Gran coupe, soon followed that up with a 73 Challenger, then a 72 Challenger then a 74 Cuda 360, then a 71 Barracuda then a .... well you get the picture. Unfortunately while I knew I was buying examples of the coolest muscle car ever made and I bought them when they were dirt cheap I didn't however keep them long enough to where they were worth big bucks. I can remember selling my last E-body in the late 80's, my 74 Cuda, had 355 posi gears, numerous mods to the rebuilt motor and still in decent shape. I started trying to sell it for $2,200 but after several months on the market I ended up taking $1,600. Parts had become practically impossible to find so I switched to A-bodies, much easier to find parts in junk yards for a 340 Dart, they made a heck of a lot more darts than Barracudas. So naturally a few years later prices skyrocket and reproduction parts become easily available (if somewhat expensive) it figures lol.
 

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Man, I really would like to get an e-body, but the prices and the usability of the new ones made it a bit easier decision to buy a new challenger.

My dad has a 71 Cuda (he bought in high school in 72) and my uncle has a 71 Challenger. Some of my best memories were working on the cuda with him in the mid to late 90's. Might have a few fond memories of a burnout or two riding with both of them in Mexico. This pic is from them lining up against each other at the Mopar Nationals a few years ago.

 

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Be careful around here with those Shivitte terms. :grin2:
Yeah I know it's a "Sure Grip" rear end, just goes to show how far those GM terms have inundated society. But on a positive note although I've owned many muscle cars over the years, I've yet to own a Chevy muscle car lol.
 

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Yeah I know it's a "Sure Grip" rear end, just goes to show how far those GM terms have inundated society. But on a positive note although I've owned many muscle cars over the years, I've yet to own a Chevy muscle car lol.
I was always taught to never say hate... but when come to GM products...

My son calls me a car racist. >:)
Of course, all he owns is Dodges... like me.
 

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...As an afterthought, I'll add that no one really cared about Hemi's. They were too scarce and expensive...the 440 was king. No one messed with a 440 powered anything....
This is 100% true. If you could wave your magic wand you would want to be 25-35 years old in 1967 with a good paying job to afford the cool cars that were coming out back in the day. The hot models came and went very fast, if you were not a absolute car freak, you didn't even know about the really special cars. I never ever saw a hemi on the street. But there is hope, buy one of the new ones now while you have a chance. Do it!
 

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I was always taught to never say hate... but when come to GM products...

My son calls me a car racist. >:)
Of course, all he owns is Dodges... like me.
I tend to show little loyalty to any American Brand over another these days. We own a Ram Truck, the Challenger, a Ford Thunderbird and Chevrolet Corvette and Camaro.

Hate? Any of the brands today?

Why.....none of them are top to bottom all Chevy or all Ford or all Chrysler now anyway.

In the past it was easier to understand the GM or Chevy hatred. In the 1960s and 1970s GM was just all powerful. Real DOMINANCE always breeds hatred. Just ask Tom Brady how this works. For a long time Ford was reduced to a distant second place and Chrysler.......well.......at least a hapless AMC was still around to keep Chrysler from looking completely hopeless as a competitor.

Today really is VERY DIFFERENT though. It's America vs the world now......yet even this is muddied up.

Given foreign sourcing of parts and manufacturing done in different countries.......good greif the Toyota Camary was crowned the "Most AMERICAN car" for a couple of years over the last ten when all the content and manufacturing was considered.
 

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luckily i was around for muscle1, '68 383 roadrunner & '71 340 duster. i was born into the mopar family with a mopar mechanic dad & since he worked for a dealer got great pricing. their was extreme hatred for gm as the where the big dog, mustang not so much because nobody could afford a 428 mach1 or a boss 429. i got to ride in my friends hemi roadrunner many times, with it's 8 miles to a gallon & extreme insurance rates, most of us could not afford it. back to e body. their was a '70 aar cuda on the dealer floor when i order my duster, it had sat a long while. i stayed away for 2 reasons, first back then back seat length mattered for drive-ins, etc & the 2nd my dad said if i bought the aar w/ it's 340 & 3 ducks that i've have to move back home as he would have to tune it weekly. for us enjoying muscle .2, muscle .1 pales in comparison. that 340 duster was a small block monster but the 392 a8 would leave it so far in the rear view mirror & comparing interior & fit to the old mopars well you young guys wouldn't believe the gaps, the rust, or the plastic interior. but big money they are bringing. fun to be at mecum and see a B blow a chevelle or camaro away on value.
 

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luckily i was around for muscle1, '68 383 roadrunner & '71 340 duster. i was born into the mopar family with a mopar mechanic dad & since he worked for a dealer got great pricing. their was extreme hatred for gm as the where the big dog, mustang not so much because nobody could afford a 428 mach1 or a boss 429. i got to ride in my friends hemi roadrunner many times, with it's 8 miles to a gallon & extreme insurance rates, most of us could not afford it. back to e body. their was a '70 aar cuda on the dealer floor when i order my duster, it had sat a long while. i stayed away for 2 reasons, first back then back seat length mattered for drive-ins, etc & the 2nd my dad said if i bought the aar w/ it's 340 & 3 ducks that i've have to move back home as he would have to tune it weekly. for us enjoying muscle .2, muscle .1 pales in comparison. that 340 duster was a small block monster but the 392 a8 would leave it so far in the rear view mirror & comparing interior & fit to the old mopars well you young guys wouldn't believe the gaps, the rust, or the plastic interior. but big money they are bringing. fun to be at mecum and see a B blow a chevelle or camaro away on value.
For Mopar guys seeing these auction prices is a mixed emotions thing.

I's great to realize they are so much more appreciated today vs how under appreciated they were back in the day........but tough to accept that finding a GREAT CONDITION all original car means having to write that much larger check to buy it.

GM guys do have their own problems this way....... an L88 Corvette will cost you too.

.....and they have the holly grail out there waiting to be sold......when this yellow ZL1 '69 Corvette goes up for sale it's certain to bring MORE $ than any Corvette before it.

It may look like just another 1969 Corvette you should be able to buy for $30,000 but .......that isn't even a decent deposit for a car likely to fetch Millions of dollars when it finally hits the auction block.

For the same reason as the Hemi E Body.......rarity and legend is where the money gets play. Estimates run from $3-7Million........depending on which expert you ask.

https://youtu.be/7xt--SOB_Vw
 
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