383/4-Speed: 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T

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It’s confession time. I admit I once wasn’t a fan of Mopar products. I treated the various marques with contempt, but the passing years confirm that my attitude was derived from a bitter family experience as a lad. My father purchased a Chrysler that defied all logic and was beset with a long list of mechanical gremlins. The happiest day of the time it spent in our garage was when my father acknowledged that its developing rust was past the point of no return, and he consigned it to the scrapyard. Today, I have a fresh respect for these cars. Chrysler V8s are some of the best motors produced in North America, and the E-Body cousins that graced showroom floors from 1970 scream muscle and attitude. This 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T is a perfect example of the breed. It is a rock-solid classic that should provide a straightforward restoration experience for its new owner. The seller has listed it here on eBay in Allen, Texas. Bidding sits below the reserve at $5,200, with plenty of time for interested parties to stake their claim.

This Challenger wears a coat of many colors, but most of the exterior retains its original Dark Burnt Orange Metallic paint. The first owner teamed this with a Gator Grain vinyl top, electing to follow the stripes-delete path. The results would have been striking, with only a few subtle badges confirming it was a high-performance model. Regaining its former beauty should be straightforward because the car is a genuine dry climate survivor. The panels sport minor bumps and bruises, but the comprehensive selection of supplied images confirms the floors and underside are rock-solid. There will be many hours of work to return the Challenger to its original form, but the grinder and welder can stay safely tucked away in a workshop corner. A competent enthusiast willing to be hands-on could produce excellent results without breaking the bank, with potentially the most expensive part of the cosmetic restoration the cost of sourcing the replacement vinyl top. They are available but typically sell for around $1,200. The trim generally looks good, although a close inspection may reveal components requiring restoration or replacement. The luggage rack will undoubtedly divide opinions, but removing this will add little to the restoration costs.

Interior retrims for Mopar classics are typically more expensive than for vehicles produced by Ford or General Motors. However, the photos suggest the shopping list for this Challenger might be surprisingly short. A new dashpad will lighten the buyer’s wallet by approximately $690, with a carpet set adding $220 to the total. Add a further $600 for new seatcovers, and this interior will be well on the way to looking its best. The console, dash, door, and rear trims should present well with a deep clean, and the faux woodgrain seems surprisingly good. The headliner is an unknown quantity, but these are cheap if replacement proves necessary. The Challenger retains its original radio and Rally gauge cluster with a factory tach.

Dodge didn’t build a slow version of the 1970 Challenger R/T; it was just that some were faster than others. This classic rolled off the line equipped with the entry-level 383ci V8. The term “entry-level” is relative because an engine churning out 335hp and 425 ft/lbs of torque created a potent package when teamed with the four-speed manual we find in this car. The ¼-mile journey would have taken 14.6 seconds, with the 383 running out of breath as the needle topped 135mph. The seller confirms the numbers-matching 383 disappeared many years ago, but this R/T retains its original transmission and power front disc brakes. The engine turns freely, making revival a potentially realistic goal. As usual, I advise factoring a rebuild into the restoration budget because delving into this engine is a voyage into the unknown.

It seems that time heals old wounds, and my feelings towards Mopar classics are poles apart from those I harbored as a young man. However, my experience has taught me one of life’s most important lessons: We should never let one experience cloud our judgment. Doing so could mean missing out on countless great ones as a result. Today, I look at cars like this 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T and wish that I was in a position to tackle its restoration. The results would justify the costs and effort, especially if someone chooses the DIY approach. Are you tempted to accept the challenge? I will hardly blame you if you do.

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. JWKJR

    That will need a roof………….daunting task

    Like 2
  2. rbig18

    It’s almost like they cut two cars apart and put them together. One side one color and the other another.

    Like 11
    • sg

      This brought back an old memory. Years ago we restored a ’70 RT Challenger that was originally Sublime with white top and interior, but had been partially repainted root beer brown. It was also a western car with beat up body and worn interior…This could be its twin. That combo was just revolting and I was glad to get it into a solid coat of primer!

      There’s something about the human psyche that makes us repaint cars in exact opposite color schemes. Never red to orange or black to purple, but white to black and so on…

      Like 2
      • Paolo

        I’ve seen many red to green repaints.

        Like 1
  3. Phil D

    And what’s normally one of the most desirable features of a 1970 Dodge or Plymouth muscle car equipped with an A833 four speed manual — the Pistol Grip shifter — is missing, as well.

    Like 9
  4. Shuttle Guy Shuttle GuyMember

    Reserve not met and it’s already to much.

    Like 5
  5. Yblocker

    A buddy of mine in high-school had one, although with a 318. When the doors closed, they sounded like they were full of beer cans, fun little cars, but poorly built

    Like 9
    • DON

      I doubt an early 70s Mustang or Camaro would be any better once they got to the stage where a high schooler owned one.

      Like 5
    • Jay

      That’s funny, I have several friends who wish their Camaros and Mustangs were as solid and drove as nice as my unrestored 1971 340 Challenger convertible. I have driven many Camaros and Mustangs in my life and their build quality is nothing to brag about.

      Like 1
  6. Dan

    Restore this car without the vinyl roof. I see the buyer pouring $30k into this restoration. A correct pistol grip shifter can be had through the aftermarket and a date-correct 383 would be a great add.

    Like 0
    • bone

      If you “restore ” it , it should have the vinyl roof as that’s what it had originally. The new vinyl material and the adhesive is far better today they what they had 50 years ago … and its not like its going to be driven in the rain and snow anymore !

      Like 3
  7. Fordor

    Could be a good project for the right person, if the bidding doesn’t get out of hand.
    btw, may want to correct “typo” from ft/lbs to ft-lbs(or as most of us like to use lbs-ft)

    Like 0
    • Yblocker

      Torque is rated at ft/lbs, always has been, never mind the newbies and their lbs/ft.

      Like 11
      • Fordor

        Sorry exhaust breath: you need to get your facts straight:
        Torque is expressed in pound-feet (lb-ft) or newton-meters (Nm). The interaction of torque and engine speed (rpm) determines the engine power.Apr 13, 2021

        Like 1
      • Yblocker

        Sorry newbie, FT-LB

        Like 0
  8. Hammer

    And we’re off to the moon and back with the bidding. Gotta say auctioning is the way to go if your the seller. And what no pistol grip? Also no mention of what yr the motor is or what it came out of? Could be hp 383 or a boat anchor. Glwts

    Like 1
  9. Melton Mooney

    A solid project IMO. A great model with good options, and maybe some usable sheetmetal. Worse things about it: Stripe delete and no A/C. Best thing about it: The luggage rack is not coded on the tag, so no guilt it tossing it in the creek. I’d like to have that trailer hitch.

    Like 1
    • Herbert

      Luggage rack, a dealer add on favorite. As if anyone ever put actual luggage on those. Plenty of trunk space for that. On a clean car, they did occasionally look sharp, but not here, you are right. Toss it, but please not in a creek. The hitch is odd, yet back when these were just old used cars, I guess not that unusual. I knew a guy who put one on a 1500cc Honda Civic. Even with a four speed, sur[prisingly useful.

      Like 0
  10. stillrunners stillrunnersMember

    Local boys to Dallas and Cali that restore and sell cars – funny they are passing on this one – it’s pretty nice and solid. And note : I owned a 383 R/T as well with Gator top back when nobody new what a Gator top was…..sold it cheap as the top grains were starting to come apart…..oh those were the pre – sale days.

    Like 1
  11. angliagt angliagtMember

    Paint job for conflicting eyewitness reports when you do
    something illegal?

    Like 1
  12. TRUTH

    Willing to bet the high bid is the seller trying to push it to the reserve. It’s already overpriced considering how far gone it is.

    Like 0
  13. DonC

    Bidding at $20k, 5 days left, reserve not met. Sheesh. No way.

    Like 0
  14. Cisco

    The seller wants $35,000.

    Like 0
  15. DonC

    Auction ended. $25100 and reserve not met. Seller is on delusional.

    Like 1

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