440-Equipped: 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T

I admire the owner of this 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T. So often, we see project cars where the restoration process stalls before it has had a chance to start. These cars can then be left to deteriorate beyond the point of no return, and they are no longer a viable proposition. However, the owner openly admits that he will never get to this car, so he has decided to sell it rather than see it rust away. The Challenger is located in Smithfield, Virginia, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has reached $6,700, and the reserve has been met.

The Challenger rolled off the production line in Hamtramck, Michigan, wearing Dark Tan Metallic with a Black vinyl top. However, it has received a color change at some point and is now finished in Sublime. The quality of this paint job is, at best, pretty ordinary. It is literally a case of an external coat only, with areas like the door frames still showing the original color. There is also evidence of some amateur panel work, especially on the passenger-side rear quarter panel. Beyond that, there are rust issues that will need to be addressed. This has afflicted many of the common areas, including the floors and the trunk pan. There is also some evidence of rust in the lower front fender on the driver’s side, along with the rear pillars and rear window area. Surprisingly, the lower rear quarter panels, rockers, and the bottoms of the doors look to be relatively sound. The damaged rear quarter will need to be replaced, but it appears that the buyer of this Challenger might get off quite lightly when it comes to addressing the rust issues. I suspect that the same person who performed the previously mentioned panel and paint work has also decided to try their hand at rust repairs. That would explain the large patch that has been riveted to the trunk floor.

With the interior of the Challenger, it is a case of what you see is what you get. The dash and Rally gauges are present, as is the console and a few other trim pieces. There are no seats, so replacements will need to be sourced. The interior is a blank canvas, so the next owner might choose to return it to its original Black vinyl, or they may have other ideas. There are no engine photos, but we know that the Challenger originally came equipped with a 383ci V8, pumping out 335hp. That engine has made way for a 440, while the vehicle also features an A727 transmission, an 8¾” rear end, and power brakes. It isn’t clear what state the drivetrain is in, but it does appear that the Challenger has been sitting for an extended period. It might take a bit of work to coax the Dodge back to life, but if the engine is in relatively good health, then this could be a potent package. It offers the possibility of a low-14-second ¼ mile ET, which isn’t slow in anyone’s book. The next owner might also choose to source a correct 383, and that would still allow the Challenger to cover that same journey in 14.6 seconds. Either option sounds pretty attractive to me.

If this 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T were a numbers-matching car, then there would be no reason why it couldn’t command a value well over $50,000 once restored. Even with the original motor long gone, the potential is still there for it to command a price of more than $40,000. It has a long way to go to reach that sort of level, but the spirited bidding up to this point suggests that there are plenty of people who see the potential that is locked away here. I’m just happy that the owner has seen the light and has decided to move this car on. The motoring world has lost too many classics, and I would hate to think that we might lose this one. It deserves better than that fate.

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  1. Moparman Member

    Open air “storage” with interior open to the elements is never a good thing. This car has potential, but also has the potential to become a money pit due to the undoubtedly unseen rust/corrosion repairs that will become necessary; as well as sourcing missing components. Hope that the new owner does not get in over their head, lured by the low cost of entry. Best wishes to seller and new owner! :-)

  2. Arby

    Oh yeah, park it out in a field with windows down or missing.
    A real peach of an “owner”.

  3. Classic Steel

    The whole in passenger rear roof lets plenty of fresh air inside.

    Its an abused child for sure …

    Pass .,,

  4. George Mattar

    Gonna fix it up someday. A quote I have heard 1,000 times from cars I tried to buy that are rotted beyond belief with rats living in them. So many idiots still breathing our air today that treat cars like this. Ship it to GYC for a $150,000 resto and then it sells for $35,000. Pass

    • Tom Nemec Member

      Thank you George !! Right on!

      I will add to the “gonna fix it up someday” while they think it will keep appreciating (as it sits literally rotting away LOSING value)…..sorry folks, those days ARE gone. That window IS closed – minus the super rare cars like a 69 Trans Am, 67 Z28, Shelby’s, Yenko’s and the like. You CAN TODAY buy it done/restored for HALF the price OR LESS than what it would take to restore it to that same level.

      I have been preaching it and I am sad to say that our beloved cars are NOT on the radar of future generations…and IF they ARE…..like my kids in their 20’s…..it will be decades before they pay off getting married, kids, college funds –HECK, paying of THEIR college funds, on and on. My son graduated with $11K in college debt and married a girl with $200K in college debt now working in a industry where the jobs pay $40K per year. Unless I leave him a car, he will probably never have one…and do intend on leaving him one.

      TO the write up, “worth 40K restored without the original motor”….yes probably too bad like George said it WILL take $80K to $100K to get to a $40K sale….and yes GYC concours resto will be $150K with a market price of MAYBE $60K to the RIGHT buyer.

      The only good news is for guys like me, 54 years old, buying and building these cars since I was 17, had to sell my small but awesome car collection during the recession to stay in business, keep food on the table and a roof over our heads…..where I will in just a few short years be able to BUY back at dimes on the dollar when I finally have a few bucks back in my pocket. Mark my words. My company is part of the industry AND I have been watching this market like a hawk for more than 35 years.

      • Ken Jennings

        Truth indeed. My kids too, no interest in this. Why should they? A Honda Civic Si is 100 times the car this is, and can be had for a third of the restoration costs brand spanking new. Of course, a buyer here is of a different generation and wants different things, but unless you fart out money, best to use a little fiscal common sense, because the values will be dropping with each and ever baby boomer who drops of the celestial plane. Now here is an idea, how about buying a nice base Challenger, with say, a 318? That is what most of us drove anyway and it will cost much less then some ex-delinquents car.

      • Steve R

        People have been saying similar things for decades, it hasn’t happened yet. Desirable cars will always have a following. Muscle cars are still fixtures in popular culture. What will likely happen is the marginal cars, such as the one featured here, should have never been anything more than a parts car. Makes and models without much of a following such as many 4 doors, unless in near pristine condition will have litttle value. It’s up to buyers to be smart and make better choices. But the hobby and interest in 60’s and early-70’s performance cars isn’t going away anytime soon.

        Steve R

      • Stevieg Member

        Why is it assumed this car had belonged to a former delinquent lol?
        Ok, whoever did the bodywork & lime green paint might not have been the sharpest knife in the drawer, but why assume they had legal issues in the past?
        I would assume that with the original paint scheme (dark tan with a black vinyl roof & black interior) combined with the lower horsepower 383 engine it was probably a middle aged person who didn’t know much about cars, probably a person who figured it wasn’t either the biggest or the smallest engine, and that middle of the road is best.
        In 1977, my grandfather on my Mom’s side of the family, a conservative upper middle class Italian American, walked into a suburban Milwaukee Chrysler dealership & traded in his tan 2 year old Impala for a snazzy ne Cordoba, white with dark red bucket seats, dark red vinyl roof & dark red pinstripes. It had the rally wheels and the 400 V-8. It was by no means a rocket, and he didn’t know anything about cars (he never even learned how to gas up his cars, he either went to full service or had me do it lol). He bought it because he thought it was pretty & he ordered it with that engine because he thought bigger was better.
        No need to assume someone is a delinquent just because they didn’t get the slant six. I love the slant six too. But variety is what makes this big blue ball so interesting.

  5. Joe Backer

    Could we roadkill this one together? I just love it because its green. Plus close enough to being a AAR Cuda of my dream car.

  6. TimM

    What did the dog say when it stepped on sandpaper?????


    • T

      I have never heard that one before. Thanks.

  7. 370zpp

    Dark Tan Metallic with a Black vinyl top? No wonder its green now.

  8. Kelly

    It’ll cost what it’s worth to restore, if not more. Heartaches by the numbers.

  9. John

    “the owner openly admits that he will never get to this car, so he has decided to sell it rather than see it rust away” – uh, too late. An honest seller would’ve said “Now that it’s rusted away, I’m ready to sell it before it falls in on itself”.

  10. Tired of being priced out

    This car is a basket case, like most of the builder challengers and cuda’s Iv’e seen selling for too much money for too long. I would welcome a little sanity in the market and hobby for these type of cars. I also think that those restorers are too high on their collective horses for the work they’re doing. These cars are old tech, and nowadays you can get new metal, wiring, upholstry in kits. So basic welding, sanding and paint. Hasn’t changed much over the years except better welders, primers and paint. Yes they are skilled, but they are not surgeons. Just sayin!

  11. Ronnie Hunt

    Make it a artificial reef so the fish can have a place to play.

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