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Just Curious' 74 Charger SE 318 to 440


Well-Known Member
Local time
12:33 AM
Feb 8, 2019
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I recently picked up a 1974 Dodge Charger SE at a great price for the condition it is in.

A little back story on it: This car was originally bought in 1974 and then was in a fender bender in 1976. Another guy bought it in 1976 and replaced front bumper and has had it ever since. In the late 1990s the car was parked in a concrete floor metal building and has sat there since i purchased it on January 26, 2019.

Goals as of now:
  • "frame off" restoration
  • upgraded suspension to disc on all four corners
  • either coilovers or bags (no i don't want to sit it on the frame as of now)
  • swap the 318 for a 440 (around 550-600hp goals)
  • "built" 727 trans
  • 8-3/4 rear or dana
  • not replacing the vinyl on the top
  • have a nice color scheme in mind (the wife is working nailing the details down)
  • No cage, i will take my chances, not taking to the strip
  • EFI conversion, probably FiTech
  • Non stock wheels and tires (15-18" range)
As always will consider any questions comments or concerns. At the end of the day it is my build, but i know a lot of you have the knowledge i do not, and you have been there done that probably.

I guess what you want now is pictures huh? the garbage above does not matter....

Gotta have the essentials, notice all the belts? also sparkplugs and various other things in the rust box


Not sure what this button does... it comes out of the dash!


Looks like a nice solid project. Thanks for posting the pictures. Best of luck with it!
Welcome. Mopar world is Rotisserie. Happy with my Pro Flo 4 for efi on the 440. At least take a look at it. Good luck.
Fantastic car to be working on and it looks like it's in really good shape... have fun!
Seems pretty solid, as long as it is not raining this weekend i may try to get some better pictures of what will need to be addressed. seems like only one quarter panel and maybe the truck need to be actually replaced rest may be able to be patched. Probably will just get the new panels instead of patching.. not sure yet. I would like to do it right the first time to have zero issues later with rust.

I will definitely look into that one as well Dennis, im not sold on the Fitech yet. Coworkers dad just put one on an old ford of some kind (i forgot which one)

You don't think it will come off the frame? :poke:
Nice purchase. Love seeing the 3rd gens getting back on the road. Sounds like a great project plan you have. :thumbsup:
Well found a buddy of a guy that i know that has a 400/727 combo he will sell me...... still think the 440 is the route to go though. he may have a 440 laying around but has to go check in his pile of cars, fingers crossed
I don't see it mentioned that the K frame is different between big block and small block cars.
Not exactly sure what the exact dimensional differences are but it is the placement and height of the motor mount brackets.

Also the pass side inner fender is different.
Big block cars have a cut out to access the spark plugs.
Less of a concern if you will be running headers.
Seems I have not updated here in a while. And I have been back and forth all over on some decisions lately.

Pulled all of the carpet out and cleaned up a bit.



Seats seem decent for the age but will be recovered


These also were in the back seat.. not sure what they are worth would need some cleaning up.. anyone interested just let me know.

My wife and I were at a pull a part yard looking for something and ran across these. She said they would look good on the car..

shined up..

bought them and turns out the lug bolt size and pattern are the same but wont fit due to the hub/dust cap. shown here

and just for kicks

I never got around to going to pick up the 400/727 combo.... so I called the guy Monday and he still has it! So I am, picking it up Saturday or Sunday depending on which day he has to work.

Excited to start with this base platform. I am a little torn on which stroker kit to run though 470 or 512. Directly from 440 source, it seems the 470 "would be great for an engine that will see a lot of street use, but still make some serious power." But then the 512 sort of catches my eye too just because "no replacement for displacement".

Looking into fuel injection more.. the holly sniper kit seems to be nice and also looking into the Flo Pro 4 you mentioned Dennis.

Maybe I can get a mod to change title to 318 to 400+ one day.

Other than this I have not done much.. I was going to get the engine running so I can drive it but why? that would be just a waste of time and money.
Well the 400/727 is in my dads garage, stoked is an understatement! Will work on getting some pictures and other good stuff from it later.

This guy I got the engine from had (4) complete 440s "that he knew of" just sitting around for parts and just would not let any of them go. A couple more 440s in some of the other cars along with 5+ 400s and several 383s and a few 318s.
He also had a restored belvedere, 69 challenger and two road runners.

I did not take any pictures but he really has a lot, hope that I made a friend lol.


I bought the first engine he has sold in 10 years.

He has a U code charger SE too that he thought about trying to sell, rare I think?

Now looking for a 8 3/4 rear, and from limited research 1.xx" torsion bar upgrade.

I was thinking about completely redoing the suspension with coilover or bags as mentioned in the first post but after more reading seems a lot of you keep the factory suspension. I may just try that out for a while instead.
I like the factory torsion bars. All 3 of mine have the factory suspension. You're gonna drop a pretty penny if you want to go to coil springs in the front.

Its a unibody. That's what is meant by coming off in pieces.
Yeah no kidding, and for the type of driving I will be doing I just don't know if I can justify the 5-10k for a full coilover setup like the AlterKtion or similar. The other problem is I see a lot of the kits run up to 72' for B body then most all 72'-74' say E body.

Also yes ha
Put it back stock we drove them 45 years ago, it will still work today. Better tires, better shocks bigger T bars sway bars give her choose a rear gear to fit your driving. heck! No need for all the fancy Nancy stuff. Want to drive like a new car, buy a new car.
Coilovers are nice though.. I have them on my truck.

You bring up a good point though.. I should probably start looking at what rear gears to run. I know it will be an 8 3/4 rear but I am not sure what tire size I will be going with yet somewhere between 3.50-4.10 I am assuming.

Shock brand you would recommend? bilstein is the first that comes to my mind
Thought you all would like to see a dirty looking junk engine that I picked up to rebuild.

I need to check the casting numbers on it to make sure, but it should be a 400.

Welcome to the site. You've got a nice Charger to stat with. It looks to be pretty solid. Good luck.
I bought a 74 Charger from a guy who did conversion from 318 to 440, the transmission, rear, and K Frame. Plus new exhaust, and almost anything mechanical and all lines. I took it over finished off the interior, trunk pan, and now working on adding Wilwood brakes and fixing other small issues. I have the whole cost A-Z but you might be looking at close to $30K-$40K. It might be better to buy one all done to be frank. If you do most the work yourself you will save a lot on labor but it will still cost a pretty penny. I have the whole cost spreadsheet if you want it.

Now where would the fun be in buying one that is complete? hard to know what expenses were spared by the first guy who "fixed it up" too.

My buddy bought a primed ready to go roller Chevelle and has so far had to replace the entire floor, hood and rear quarters. The previous guy did a terrible job.

I'm not too worried about the price, I originally thought I would have 40k into it anyway. It is very awesome to know that it seems like I can come under that budget too! The only thing that will be outsourced is paint/body work the rest I can do.

I would love to have a copy of that spread sheet to look at the companies used (if on there) and what it took cost wise for different aspects of the build.