1-of-4: 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T HEMI Convertible!

When it comes to American car engines, the Mopar 426ci Hemi rates up there with the best of them, and any car that wears its original Hemi engine is going to be a desirable car that will command a pretty impressive price. This 1970 Dodge Challenger ticks both of those boxes in no uncertain terms, and it will be very interesting to see whether this is a car that flies, or if the seller is going to crash and burn. If this Challenger really grabs you, and you just have to have the car in your garage, you will find it located in Gardner, Kansas, and listed for sale here on eBay.

Before I get too in depth with this Challenger, I’ll address the issue of paint color. The owners purchased this Challenger in 1979, and at that time it was still wearing its original paint, which was Sublime Green. They chose to have the car repainted in Plum Crazy to match a Hemi Hardtop that they also owned at the time. As part of the process, the original fenders, passenger door, and decklid were replaced, but the owner held onto these components, and they are included in the sale. So, if the new owner is striving for complete originality, the car will require a repaint. The owner says that the paint is showing signs of wear. Well, it is 40-years-old, but the car has spent its life garaged, and the only rust in the whole car is three small spots in trunk valley trays. One other positive is the fact that if the original decklid is fitted to the car, we can wave goodbye to the luggage rack. What a shame!

It’s under the hood where things start to get really serious with the Challenger. In 1970, a buyer could walk into their local Dodge dealer, plonk down $4,488.20 (or about $29,500 in today’s money) and drive away in a Challenger R/T Convertible identical to this car. In that year, 1,070 people decided to purchase a Challenger R/T Convertible, but only nine of them decided that the Hemi was the way to go. Those nine people joined an exclusive club, but of those nine, only four decided to also tick the box beside the automatic transmission option. Of those original four cars, only three are now known to exist. This car is one of those three. The story of the engine in this car is quite long and confusing, as the engine and car went in very different directions at one point. The engine appears to have been removed from the car very early in its life and served an extended period in a Satellite. In 1984 it was removed from the Satellite and then spent the next 30-years sitting in a corner of a shed. The owners of the Challenger knew where it was, and in 2015 they were able to convince the owner of the engine to part with it. After undergoing a full rebuild, the engine has returned home to the engine bay of the Challenger. It appears that the remainder of the drive-line is original to the car.

As befits a car of this rarity, the interior is essentially unmolested and original. All of the upholstery is the original material that was fitted to the car when it left the factory, and only the carpet has been replaced. There are a few marks on the steering column, but the rest of the interior presentation is close to perfect.

Owning this Challenger would give you access to an exclusive club, but of course, access to that sort of club will always come at a price. For all of its rarity, I find it quite a coincidence that there was a Sublime Green Challenger R/T Hemi Convertible that went under the hammer at Mecum’s in 2016. It was a completely original car which was also equipped with an automatic transmission, so it was mechanically identical to this one. I was able to confirm that the Mecum’s car eventually sold for $1,650,000. The owner of this particular Challenger is firm on their asking price, and they will not haggle or negotiate. If the new owner wants to return the Challenger to 100% original condition, it will certainly require a bare-metal repaint, and will also need to have those small rust holes repaired. So, is it going to be worth it? If you consider the final sale price of the Mecum’s car, then the asking price of $1,225,000 for our featured car would probably justify the time and expense.

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Comments

  1. poseur Member

    awesome. guessing if you’re in at the first bid amount you could probably spring the extra $25k for the BIN.
    worth every penny if it’s what it appears to be

    6
  2. 86_Vette_Convertible

    It is what it is: EXPENSIVE! It’s impressive none the less.

    4
  3. 71FXSuperGlide

    Let me shake out the couch cushions.

    Oh, darn it, I’m $1.25M short. :D

    21
    • NotSure

      Damn couch!

      8
    • Sidney

      Okay, no comments on value, that apparently isn’t popular, but am I allowed to discuss the color? If so, may I say that color purple is best left on a certain dinosaur that we all loath. Perhaps the most over hyped color of a car, ever. Orange, fine, red, sublime. Blue? Good for you! I could even be seen in green, even brown would not make me frown, but PURPLE!!! Ugliest color for a car, ever! I only like it on my grape jelly with breakfast, and even then, I can hardly look at it.

      5
      • grant

        Depends on the car, really. A 50 Ford custom in Candy Purple is pretty sweet.

        8
      • Nate

        I like the color. Doesn’t bother me in the least. But, I’d still put it back to the original color just to retain originality.

  4. Marko

    I would love to hear the story, of why the engine was pulled out of a 1970 model year Challenger, in 1969, and put in a Satellite. Early attempt at buying an unobtainable crate motor, by buying the first available car off a dealer lot?

    4
    • Beatnik Beduoin

      I’m a bit suspicious of the engine’s story. It would have been possible to buy a crate Hemi back then.

      This car sounds like it’s destined to an auction, Mecum or otherwise…

      2
    • Sidney

      No, back in the day these were often lamented as a poor choice months after the sale when it was too late. . Troublesome, hard to tune, rough riding, crummy MPG, and when your insurance salesmen found out, he had a wet dream with delight bumping up your premiums. Many were shed in favor of a more common motor.

      7
      • Beatnik Bedouin

        Sidney, you’re right about what a PITA Hemi cars (and Boss 429s) were back when they were new. I know – I used to work on muscle cars, at the time.

        I remember a lot getting swapped when either (1) they blew up and/or (2) started running ‘racing clearances’, as the engines shook themselves apart. (LOL)

        There are reasons I told friends to choose the 340 option when ordering their new Challengers and ‘Cudas. IMHO, the engine offered the best balance between performance (including handling) and reliability.

        9
      • poseur Member

        Completely agree. For all the hype 400+hp big blocks get, a hipo small block could shut them down on the street.
        Narrow wheels & tires went up in smoke & high strung multi carb’d solid lifter engines didn’t stay in tune on their own.
        An L79 Nova or 351C Mustang or 340 MoPar shocked a lot of more powerful cars.

        7
  5. Beatnik Bedouin

    I’m suspicious of the engine’s backstory. One wonders if it had been stolen, hence the attempt to change its serial numbers or this is not the Challenger’s original engine?

    Certainly, Hemis were available as crate engines, 50 years ago.

    3
  6. Chevy Guy

    I have never liked the convertible challengers, and this one is way overpriced.

    9
  7. Thomas Price

    It does blow my mind as well that people are willing to take the hit that eBay will scrape from the final selling price ( especially at this cost ) … Perhaps it’s cheaper than an auction house?

    3
  8. mike b

    Never been a fan of the dog dish look and it looks especially stupid here. It’s not “sleeper” on a purple challenger. It’s not cost cutting if you paid extra for a convertible. Mostly it looks like “got my wheels stolen & I paid too much for the car so I can’t afford nice ones”.

    8
    • Shingo

      Hubcaps and luggage rack need to go.

      2
    • Sidney

      In the 70s, many of us bought the cheap dog dish caps because they were standard, we all were going to put Cragars or Keystones on anyway. Any fool that leaves them on is an know nothing from another era.

      8
  9. nessy

    Just think about it. Regardless of how much money you may or may not have in your pocket. Think what kind of beautiful house you could buy for 1.2 million with a pool and a huge garage full of fancy cars. Or, you can have this purple automatic transmission granny hubcap Dodge.

    24
    • glen

      Those that make these types of purchases, already have a beautiful house, with a pool and a huge garage, and probably a beautiful wife, too! So don’t concern yourself with their living arrangements.

      14
      • Johnny R

        …and you may ask yourself my God how did I get here?

        2
  10. Robert White

    This must spell market top for a 90s Man Cave & requisite rococo flooring, methinks.

    Must be redecorating year too given the red curtains must be out-of-date by now, man. A bit of the Hefner era being lost to history if the man cave is any indication.

    Bob

  11. Mountainwoodie

    One million for a color change?

    3
  12. Superdessucke

    With my luck I would get a door ding in the Target parking lot the first day.

    9
  13. 433jeff

    Oh its an auto forget it

    6
  14. Derek

    Nah. Automatic.

    4
  15. Dan

    Why does someone post a pic of a damned ole Mercury on a muscle car page?…Like the Mercs and Fords, but do not belong here…

    5
    • Robert White

      I colour outside the lines, Dan, that’s why.

      Bob

      9
      • Gaspumpchas

        Love your Pics Robert–keep posting ’em please! If others don’t like it they can scroll over them. Variety is one of the things that makes BF great!!!

        Cheers

        GPC

        6
      • Sidney

        You rock, just like the Edsel pic the other day, keep’m coming. I might just pop a picture of an outhouse or something. Don’t worry, it will be car related, maybe someplace Henry Ford left a surprise after a big greasy meal.

        3
  16. MB

    At the hight of the Mopar Hemi craziness about 10 years ago, the owner of a Hemi Cuda convertible turned down 4.3 million, he wanted 5. Want to bet he’s still kicking himself in the butt? But then again I turned down opportunity to buy 1971 Hemi Cuda 4 speed for $3,000 in 1975. Yes I am still kicking myself.

    12
    • 86_Vette_Convertible

      I hear you on the price. Back in the mid 70’s after the advent of OPEC, I picked up a 55 Dodge pickup with a Desoto Hemi. Talking with a friend of mine on how to get it running again, he knew a guy who was big into Hemi’s, Turned out the guy was single, had a good paying job and a big shed out back of his place full of cars. He was into Hemi’s and was picking up any Hemi he could find for something like 10 cents on the dollar (due to gas prices more than doubling plus limitations on gas supply) whether a stick or automatic.
      I got a chance to look at this collection and one was a Hemi Challenger hardtop. Fury’s, Polara’s, GTX, RR, even a Hemi Dart.
      I wonder if he’s still around and has the cars or not. If he does, he has a fortune in that shed based on the current prices Hemi cars are going for. I will say they were in exceptional condition compared to most I see around here today.

      3
  17. Ron

    Would be interesting to know what the production date of the car was vs the date on the engine block.

  18. Eli

    Who sells a million dollar car on Ebay???

    2
    • UK Paul

      If I were a millionaire I would still shop on ebay. I know what you mean though ..
      I do like this .. engine and colour are a shame but guess price reflects. Does leave an element of doubt on the history of the complete package though.

      1
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      Smart millionaires who don’t want to get ripped off by the auction houses.

      3
  19. Joe Mac

    “Get da hell outta here….”

  20. Ted

    In 1977 I drove a 71 Hemi/auto Charger at the used car lot I worked on in Vancouver, and I can still remember the rush of firewalling that beast. Dave the salesman rode shotgun, and he gave a 16 year old kid a memory that will never die…..Everyone should be able to drive a real Hemi at least once……..

    11
    • Craig M Bryda Member

      In 1984 or thereabouts my lifelong friend, cohort, brother from another family somehow lucked himself into a ’66 Plymouth Belvedere ll body from the original owner that had a HEMI from the factory along with a 4 speed. The engine was out of it & was at the engine builders for many years, so Botchagalupe tracked it down, bought it, put it all together for very cheap money. He decided he wanted to go drag racing with the car, try as he might he had a tough time shifting it properly. So it was my turn to take a trip down the 1/4 mile , his response was that the car didn’t sound like that on his try. Lemme tell ya, the feeling of coming outta the hole was like getting rear ended by a Peterbilt & banging 2nd, 3rd & 4th was equally epic. Unfortunately the next week he put a Fairbanks torqueflite & converter in the car . We got the car to run mid 12s consistently @ 124/125 mph. It was fun. I ran a best of 12.7 when it was still a 4 speed.

      4
  21. Ron

    A 4-spd will be at Mecum next month with a warranty replacement engine. https://www.mecum.com/lots/AZ0319-366594/1970-dodge-hemi-challenger-rt-convertible/

    2
  22. Sidney

    Couldn’t help myself. Long day, had to do it to unwind, let off some steam (or maybe some gas!) See the car, it is pertinent here !

    11
  23. Jay E.

    If you think that a purple challenger with Cragers was a poor choice of color, you didn’t have one in high school in the 70’s. You were the coolest car in the parking lot and never had a problem getting a sweet young thing to go for a date. Man I miss those days. Triple black hemi Cuda (which I now understand was 1 of 1!), hemi dart, Shelby Mustangs,Panteras, were all available for around $3500.00 or less. it may as well have been a million at a buck eighty an hour. Now I’m just happy if I can wake up without too much pain for the day.

    7
    • UK Paul

      It still happens .. I remember the Aston Martin V8 and Lotus Esprit Essex Turbo I was offered for sub $15k (each) in the mid 90’s … if only I had found the cash ..

      I hope the pain is not too bad.

      1
  24. Jimmy

    Over a million dollars and not original paint, suspicious story on the motor. There’s a fool out there somewhere.

    6
  25. Woody

    Hemi Cuda that y’all think was too many American dollars seems to be a damn good deal,and probably more original than this “tampered-with” drop top!

    2
  26. Del

    The fact that owner attempting to auction like this may indicate a coming big price adjustments on muscle cars.

    Downwards

    1
  27. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Does anyone know if there is an advantage to the seller for holding this fake “auction” over just offering it with only a BIN price?

    • UK Paul

      He gets his $1.225m in the bag which would potentially panic another into offering more. Not a bad tactic but this won’t sell for that money .. at least not on eBay.
      The fees saved by doing a deal offline will be too tempting.

      1
  28. cmarv

    I never was a big Mopar fan , but I knew a deal when I saw it and bought sold and traded cars often . I had 442’s and GS’s some GTO’s , a few Camaros and Novas even an AMX back in the late 70’s and early 80’s . I had two memorable Mopars though . I never had an original Hemi car with it’s elephant motor in it but I had a 69 Charger R/T with a 440 Magnum , 727 trans that was a born with Hemi car , it ripped . I had a 1 owner 70 Duster Twister 340 , 4 speed that was mint for about 3 weeks . They both were awesome cars . I’ve had a couple Mopars (or Fiats) lately too , a 2010 SRT8 Challenger stick and a 2016 Hellcat stick . I liked the old ones I love the newer ones . 1.2 million is a big hunk of money to me that I would spend on more than a car .

    1
  29. UK Paul

    I wish they would sell Challengers in the U.K.
    I rented one in the US and it looked fantastic in the outside. I was in love.. Interior let it down but that’s been sorted on newer models ..
    I would buy one in heartbeat if they put the steering wheel on the RIGHT side.

    1
    • MB

      Steering wheel being on the right side, it would be on the wrong side….LOL

      4
      • UK Paul

        Not for me :)

        2
  30. Terry Bowman

    Plum Crazy is the name for the Purple cars and the rarest of them all is “Panther Pink”, Big Bucks in any format. I just don’t understand why this car has a AC alternator. Wonder how many other items are off. Maybe this is why it’s on Ebay.

  31. Terry Bowman

    Plum Crazy is the name for the Purple cars and the rarest of them all is “Panther Pink”, Big Bucks in any format. I just don’t understand why this car has a AC alternator. Wonder how many other items are off. Maybe this is why it’s on Ebay. I also question the luggage rack on a Hemi car. Dog dish hub caps I can understand, to change for an after market set of cragars.

  32. Morley Member

    Another strong “oral history”. Use to be a picture was worth a thousand words–now a thousand words is priceless. Who cares, it a stupid Mopar!!!!!!

    1
  33. Troy s

    Hydraulic lifters for 1970, right? Very stiff valve springs, man that engine was self abusive! Heard of camshafts wearing out prematurely, I don’t understand why they offered this engine only with dual quads. I’m sure a big single 4 barrel would have worked well, especially on the street. After all, that’s how the Hemi was set up for NASCAR. Well, it truly was a detuned race engine, an exotic so to speak. Only made four Convertible Hemi Challengers with the auto and only three are known to exist? Hey man, three out of four ain’t bad!
    Ill take the red hemi cuda from a few days ago over this and save a cool million bucks… Nah forget it. To rare and expensive to ever drive either one but it sure is nice to see these two legendary screamers! Enjoy…

  34. Terry Bowman

    Interesting!!!! I have known, seen and even touched a 70′ Challenger Red Hemi convertible, around 89′-90′. I do recall that something was odd about the car and the police got involved. That was the last I heard of it. May even have a couple pictures of it, if I dig down deep in my photo stash.

  35. al leonard

    Ahhh..but folks…just remember it’s still a mopar…Mostly Old Parts And Rust..:>)

    2
  36. Ward William

    Jesus H. Christ on a poppy seed bun ! The price of mopars is getting crazier every day. Could Worman’s Graveyar Carz program and his deep pockets when it comes to buying used mopars have anything to do with it ? Could this be helping push prices up? Anyone ?

  37. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Says it all. Ended: Feb 05, 2019 , 11:53AM
    Starting bid:US $1,225,000.00
    [ 0 bids ]
    Price:US $1,250,000.00

    • MB

      Some member of the “I have to have a Hemi MOPAR” gang will end up with it someday. Me, I rather have a 67 SS L78 Chevelle, a 74 SD Formula Firebird, 72 GTO, a 70 Rebel Machine, or a 67 440 GTX than the offered Challenger drop top.

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