Competition Challenger: 1970 Dodge Challenger Drag Car

For some classic collectors, that real moment of truth can come along and force them to make some pretty tough decisions. These are the sorts of decisions that the next owner of this 1970 Dodge Challenger will face. The 1970 model is seen by many as the most desirable of the early cars. This one has undergone some extensive modifications, but it isn’t beyond being returned to its original specifications. Alternatively, it could be driven and enjoyed as it currently stands. Take a look and see what you would do. The Challenger is located in Maidsville, West Virginia, and is listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has now reached $11,100, but the reserve hasn’t been met. There is also a BIN option available at $19,000.

According to the owner, this Challenger has a bit of racing history, dating back into the 1970s. It has spent its life on the West Coast, and it seems to have survived quite nicely. There are a number of shots of the underside of the car, and it looks about as clean as you could possibly get. The custom paint has a real ’70s feel about it, and while the owner states that he believes that the majority of the panels are original, the car does wear a new T/A hood. The past racing history of the Challenger poses our first dilemma. To accommodate those fairly substantial rear tires, the rear of the car has been tubbed. It isn’t an over-the-top job, because there is still room to fit a gas tank in the original location. Returning the rear to standard should be no more difficult than undertaking rust repairs. So, do you return it to standard, or leave it as it is?

When we delve into the interior of the Challenger, we see more evidence of its competition past. The front seats are original but have been fitted with new covers, while the door trims and carpet look quite good. The stock gauges are still present, although there’s a pretty substantial tachometer with a shift light screwed to the dash pad. I can also see a few additional gauges hanging under the dash. The car is fitted with a roll-bar behind the front seats, and tubbing the rear of the car means that there is no longer room for a rear seat. If the car is returned to original, this won’t be an issue. If it is left how it currently is, it looks like this will be a 2-seater, because threading a rear seat in there is going to be pretty difficult.

When this Challenger was new, it was fitted with a 383ci V8 and a TorqueFlite transmission. Once again, this is where we see more evidence of the car’s racing past. What is now occupying the engine bay is a 440, while the transmission is a 727 auto. The rear end is an 8¾” Sure Grip, which should allow the car to put the power to the pavement quite nicely. The owner is in the dark about the engine’s specifications, but he does say that the engine runs on pump gas…and that it is fast. Everything in the car (lights, etc.) work as they are supposed to, with the exception of the wipers. The owner has discovered that there is no wiper motor, so that’s one little job for the new owner to tackle.

There are plenty of people (including me at times) who really hate the idea of what they see as the destruction of a classic car. This Challenger is a little bit different. If the modification work was performed in the 1970s, then it occurred before these became the true classic that they are today. While it would be tempting to try to return the car close to its original specs, I can’t help but wonder whether it would be possible to trace the car’s racing history and maybe attempt to return the car to its full competition specifications. Both ideas have their merits. Alternatively, it could just be driven and enjoyed as it currently stands. Which path would you take?

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Comments

  1. KeithK

    Drive and enjoy. Maybe take some time researching drag history. The X factor makes for good stories. Assign a ridiculous sale price to it and maybe pass it on when someone gets close. Move on to the next. As we all age I fear we are creating the next generation of dead man’s cars. (Bought it from a dead man, won’t sell it til I’m dead) Pass it on responsibly with no regrets.

    5
  2. bobhess Member

    Nothing about modifying these cars for drag racing was unusual in the ’70s. There were plenty of cars available and a lot of folks drag racing them. It’s a piece of ’70s drag racing history, why change it.

    4
  3. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Old drag cars can be very interesting. There’s an aura about them that can be reflected by the ghosts of the past and all the challenges they have encountered. I honest don’t know if I’d return it to stock or leave it as it was when raced.
    Bit pricey for someone going back to stock but may be right for someone wanting a former drag car.

    1
  4. Steve R

    It’s more street/strip than pure drag car. I doubt there any racing history to can be found.

    I’d leave it as it is and drive it.

    Steve R

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  5. Ted

    “Everything in the car (lights, etc.) work as they are supposed to, with the exception of the wipers. The owner has discovered that there is no wiper motor, so that’s one little job for the new owner to tackle.”

    Along with, “The owner is in the dark about the engine’s specifications, but he does say that the engine runs on pump gas…”

    Curber speak, this car changed hands in the last week or so and the flipper writes the same comical copy every other flipper uses. Raise your hand if you didn’t know your own car didn’t have a wiper motor……….right……………and again if you have no idea about what’s up with the powerplant…..

    Sheesh……………

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    • KeithK

      I sense a bit of flipper hostility. Don’t get me wrong. It burns me too but , is it possible to be a flipper and do it ethically? These guys are in business like a lot of other people. It takes a significant investment to root out and buy these cars. Transport them ,clean them (sometimes) and market them although sometimes vaguely perhaps because of the lack of personal interest in the details. I’ve spent the last 36 years in the new car business and that’s long enough to know that the used cars make way more money than the new ones because essentially they are Flipped.

      2
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      And spotting that shiny metal plate under the hood that surely is the spot for the wiper motor must have taken a lot of detective work – LOL!

  6. Mats Bergholm

    Where is the HEMI???

  7. Troy S

    Destruction of a classic car is letting it sit in the elements for years and years, filling the interior with a mountain of garbage, using it for storage space, growing mice, etc, etc…
    Gotta keep in mind what these high performance cars were all about originally and the transgression to street/strip, or full blown drag racer just seems natural, or maybe inevitable is the word I’m looking for….. well into the eighties. Leave her as is, have some real fun with it.

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  8. Jay

    Drive it like you stole it.. enjoy it ,race it ,cruzze it,, park it and do it all over again.👍🇺🇸🇺🇸👍

    2
  9. TimM

    Looks like all kinds of fun!! I don’t think the buy it now is to bad for what it is!!!

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  10. Dave S.

    I’d drive it as it is other then adding a wiper motor . But hey that’s just me.

    1
  11. Steve

    This Challenger needs some nice 23 inch rims, a black paint job, a decent modern motor with 7 speed tranny. a complete modern interior redo, led sequence taillights a 20,000 watt sound system and more.That’s the only way to have a desent vintage Challenger that’s road wothy.

    • jerry z

      You are deeply disturbed….;)

      1
  12. Greg72

    Leave it as it is and enjoy a cool street / strip car. There are enough restored or original Challengers out there. Dont take away this vehicle’s uniqueness and make it “just another stock Challenger”.

    1
  13. Woody

    Absolutely nothing wrong with this classic it can still be drivin as a mean street machine while tuning,even the paint looks good to go!

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