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I know there are slight diffferences between the front fenders that can be modified...but are there differences between the 1970-73 door shells and the 1977-81???
 

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On the door shell itself, in 74 GM added the steel beam side protection required by law. I believe the door shells sold by parts vender's will work on 70-76 cars.

But since they are made for 77-81, they may require some modification to where parts like arm rests, window channel parts, etc are mounted.

So my conclusion is; yes it will fit the earlier cars, You may have to use 77-81 window parts, arm rests, etc. If you don't want to do mods to shell.

And since shell has the 77-81 door skin on it, the outer door handle is a little different than your 71.
 
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