Traditionally speaking, the market has been good to Mopar. Some of the biggest muscle car pricing boosts in the 2000s went to Dodges and Plymouths, and they’re still among the most valued muscle machines — especially anything with a Hemi.
That leaves buyers in a tough spot. If you want to score a Mopar, in most cases you’ve got to pay up to own one — Chargers, Road Runners, ’Cudas, Super Bees, Challengers and the like tend to be expensive. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t cheaper options out there — and those cheaper options can be really good buys.
In the market for a Mopar? Here’s what I’d suggest buying right now:
1. Dodge D-series Truck, 1965-71
This is an easy one. Trucks are still hot in the market, but Dodge trucks have traditionally not been. That means they’re usually cheaper than Chevrolet, GMC and Ford offerings, and they are fundamentally not very different. This generation of Dodge truck is unmistakable as anything else, and truck builders have started to take note of them — both for restoration and for modification. These rigs are still cheap, but I don’t think they will be forever. Look for original paint short-bed rigs with V8 power, but watch for rust. $8k is a good place to start for something you might actually want to own.
2. Dodge Dart, 1967-76
Fourth-gen Dodge Darts (and Plymouth Valiants) are a good base for modification. These were built and sold in relatively large numbers, and that’s kept prices low. But as is the case with the trucks, people are starting to take notice of these muscle-era cheap Mopars, and I think prices are about to start to move up. Again, look for the most original non-rusty examples you can find, and try to hold out for V8 power, too. A slant-six model will be cheaper up front, and you can always swap in a 340 later on, but it won’t hold value the same way a factory V8 car will. $15k and under will get you a decent enough V8 car — performance options like the GTS will cost significantly more.
3. Dodge Charger Project, 1968-70
Thanks to continued big screen use, the second-gen Charger has a wider appeal than any other muscle car. Complete cars are silly expensive now thanks to their huge audience, and that same premium applies to even the worst of the project cars you might come across. But here’s the thing: A lot of buyers in the market today want a Charger, and a lot of future buyers will, too. Project cars are going to disappear, so if you can find one, it’s a good idea to snag it now while it’s cheap(ish) and available. Expect rust. Plan on missing pieces. It doesn’t really matter. If you buy a Charger right, you can sit on it for a while and flip it for a profit even with a host of issues. Or build it and sell it for more than you have in it. Either way, the time to act is now. What to spend? The car pictured on the left is an R/T that had no title, heavy structural rust and no engine. It made $10,238, and considering how others have done at auction, I think it was fair. Start there.
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