1970 Dodge Charger RT: Is It Worth It?

Jamie PalmerBy Jamie Palmer

While it may look pretty sad right now, this genuine “U code” (440 cubic inch) 1970 Dodge Charger RT could be a real looker when it is restored. It’s for sale here on eBay, and based on the over 20 bids that have driven it to over $10,000 we’re not the only ones that feel that way — but it hasn’t met the reserve as I type. The car is located in Buckeye, Arizona. Thanks to Patrick S. for sending in this Mopar find!

By 1970 the Charger RT was marketed as the hottest of the Charger line. It’s probably not coincidental that the Plum Crazy color was featured in the 1970 Charger RT brochure pages. I have to take a moment to compliment sites like oldcarmanualproject.com and oldcarbrochures.com who make it possible for folks like me to research things like that!

Back to the car at hand. Or perhaps I should say what’s left of the car at hand. That’s right, the factory lightening program* has been hard at work here. According to the seller who has listed the car for his buddy, there is over $3,000 in new sheetmetal included with the car. It’s a good thing. If I were going to bid on the car, I’d want an exact listing of the new parts included before I determined what I was willing to spend.

Here’s the interior. Although there are a lot of components that are here–well–let’s just say they could be in a lot better shape. And those are holes in the driver’s side floor. What’s left of the floor. The rear seat is missing, too.

This was a huge disappointment for me. Despite being listed as a U-code car, there’s only a 340 cubic inch V8 in that hole right now that the seller thinks is from a 1972 or 1973 car. NOTE:  several commenters have pointed out that this is actually a big block; my only defence is that when I wrote the auction up it said the 440 car had been fitted with a 340!

In addition to the new sheet metal, a new fuel tank is included as well. I’m wondering if the view is worth the climb on this one, but perhaps you readers can explain that to me in the comments?

*The “factory lightening program” is a jovial way of noting that as drive train performance deteriorates over time, the metal rusting away makes the car lighter and therefore maintains the performance level!

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Comments

  1. Miguel

    None of us knew back then that junk yard cars would be selling for so much money in the future.

    If we only knew.

    21
  2. Gunner

    2nd generation Chargers command premium money, and are one of the most sought after Mopars. This one is a R/T to boot. Although there is rust needing repair, this one may hit 20K or more as it sits. A correct date coded 440 can be sourced. It is optioned quite well including body color and will looking stunning when properly restored, as it deserves. A timeless and beautiful design that remains very desirable.

    11
  3. DAN

    add does not say 340, says 440,just look at pic
    but not # matching

    2
  4. Joe

    That does not look like a small block to me…

    4
    • Billy 007

      If these things were not so valuable and I was to buy it to drive, then the 340 would be my choice of engines. Good for the straights and the twisties. The 1970s were not all that balanced to begin with, and the heavy big block made it worse. Of course it is beautiful, but there is more to life then that, kind of like having a trophy wife who is no good in bed, leaves a huge disappointment in your life.

      8
      • Mark-A

        This one if we’re using your reference, she’s not only terrible in bed but also hopeless in the kitchen!

    • Fiete T.

      It’s a BB- distributor is in the front. It may be an RB, too, but not willing to say either way since there is too much “Up in the air,” about it…

  5. Steve R

    Coastal California cars tend to rust everywhere there is exposed exterior bare metal, especially horizontal panel also around door and trunk openings, that’s where the salty ocean fog will settle and pool. This looks more like it’s rusting from the bottom up due to road salt.

    Steve R

    4
    • YooperMike

      Steve R, I believe that you are correct with the road salt statement. Cars near the beach rust from the top down.

  6. cold340t

    Its NOT a 340/small block. Distributer is front for 440/383. In rear for 340/318 smblks.

    13
  7. Dan in TX

    How many rotted hulk chargers are there? Where any of them crushed back in the day?

    7
    • Billy 007

      My 1970 RR sure got crushed, I paid to have it done because my folks wanted it out of the driveway in the spring of 1980. Probably should have begged a little harder to let me keep it until I was done with college.

      4
  8. Derek

    No. The M3’s a far better bet*. Faster, handles better, better shopping car too…

    *but not at the asking price!

    1
    • Miguel

      Yes the M3 is a far better bet if you like electrical problems.

      1
  9. Hide Behind

    As previously noted not small block, who the f realy knows what block resides in this hulk.
    Chargers were always hyped up mythical pieces of crap, except, from streight line 1/4 mile and then hope the breaks did not fade so you might be able to match radius of return lanes curve.
    STILL, this looks like a viable flipper for small shop or hobbyist to make good bucks with.
    But man these got belly center sway sinking, torque twisting bodies, cheapest bling or blank interiors and rust everywhere.
    But tell next buyers these were fast, great icons of muscle era and they get a woody at mere mention of MOPAR.

    6
    • Jeffro

      I get the feeling that you are not a MOPAR fan.

      9
      • Ian

        I am a Mopar fan and I pretty much agree with him. These are good looking cars, but they drive like crap. I test drove a General Lee replica back in 1990. Even by 1990 driving standards I was shocked at how bad it was.

        That said, I wish I had bought it, assuming I wouldn’t have wrecked it as a 20 year old kid.

    • Billy 007

      I remember back in the day when ever considering a trade at a dealership, I was always reminded by the salesman that Mopars had the lowest resale value of any brand known to man. Fate sure can be fickle.

      4
      • Miguel

        I think that is still the case.

        1
    • Jim

      Put a 68 Camaro SS next to a 68 Charger RT. Charger is better looking, tougher suspension, tougher powertrain, faster, higher resale, more exclusivity. Yeah- Mopar is heavier. But its partly because the Camaro has no doors from the Charger surgically removing them. There are a lot of people who REALLY disagree with you with your take on Chargers.

      4
  10. sparkster

    Brakes is spelled B R A K ES, learned that in 3rd grade

    18
    • Blackie Carbon

      Sparkster, while you’ re commenting on other people’s grammar, the correct phrasing is “brakes are” not “brakes is”.

  11. Fred W

    Think how many of these were scrapped in the 80’s….

    5
    • Superdessucke

      Heck, the 1970s. My grandparents bought a 1969 Dodge Coronet 500 brand new and the trunk floor was completely rusted through in several spots by 1975 or so. I remember they couldn’t put groceries in the trunk when it rained or when there was slush on the roads, and my grandma would b—- about having to put them in and take them out of the back seat. No “paper or plastic” back then LOL! Mopars from this era rusted very quickly in salt states.

      1
  12. Superdessucke

    Wow, $16k and still time to go. That’s a price which would make my mint condition low mileage E36 M3, which outperforms this in every way, envious!

  13. Vern

    Dont get me wrong. I love the Mopar B body. I have had a couple nice ones. 1970 RR 383 and 1970 Charger 500. Why spend so much money to start restoring the car? Not worth the money. There is a reason these shops are selling these off.

    3
  14. john leyshon

    Totally market driven guys… People are paying the asking prices across the board of late. Leads others to believe roached out “car-casses” with VIN plates and resto-mod imitations are worth much more than they may be. To each his own, will be interesting to watch this market play out over the next few years. Buy it, drive it for the love of it. Don’t worry so much about retail & resale.

    5
    • Billy 007

      Listen to John boys and girls, he speaks pure truth. Over all, a good idea anyhow. Buy to own and love, not to invest. If we all practiced that, then maybe more of us could relive our misspent youths. For me, the only car of this vintage I would prefer would be the exact 1970 I owned and had crushed, and only because it was mine, another car like it would never do. (Okay, might be nice to have that pristine 80K mile 71 Challenger convert I turned down around that time for $800, but I digress). I today drive modern cars with more abilities that put these old cars to shame. (Love my 2006 Miata!) Driving should be about the experience, not image.

      5
      • GO-PAR

        Yeah, Billy 007, and that’s exactly why many of us love to drive the classics. For the classic experience!

      • Miguel

        Go-Par, I don’t call it the classic experience.

        As I drive a 1972 Ford LTD Brougham every day, it is just my experience.

        1
  15. Mike

    Classic cars have character and that is one thing new cars definitely lack. New cars may have more gadgets and better road manners, but they have no personality.

    I think driving is about both…the experience and the image. Driving a classic is just a different type of experience (a much better on IMO), and no new car can compete with the image of a classic.

    4
  16. Jerry Brentnell

    because its not! its at least a 383 or 400, or 413 .or 440! distributer up front makes it a b engine

    1

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