Nearly Finished: 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T

Sometimes project cars come along, and the owner sings the car’s praises, but in the end, they turn out to be a horror story. Well, that doesn’t seem to be the case with this 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T. The owner was undertaking a restoration on the vehicle but has decided to part with it. All I can say is that if his workmanship and attention to detail on the car mirrors the details in the listing, then someone is about to be on a real winner with this car. It is located in Fillmore, California, and is listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has now reached $18,100, but the reserve hasn’t been met.

The owner provides an extremely comprehensive insight into the Challenger, and what will be required to return the Go Mango classic to its best. Essentially, everything under the skin is done, and the car is now rust-free and completely straight. The external panels will need some minor bodywork, with the most difficult of this being to get the front fenders right. Then a fresh coat of that distinctive color will need to be applied. As part of the restoration project, the original roof was found to be rusty. This was replaced completely and given a rust preventative treatment before a new vinyl top was installed. All of the floors have been cleaned and treated, and if you check the gallery at the bottom of the article, you will see just how clean the floors are now.

When it comes to the interior, what the next owner will need to do is…absolutely nothing. This is one area of the car that is complete, and the presentation is nothing short of amazing. Any items that could be restored to an acceptable standard, such as the gauges, have been. Everything else, including the carpets, headliner, and much of the trim, has been replaced. The orange exterior and black interior combination always create a good look, and this car is no exception on that front.

The Challenger also retains its original 383ci V8 engine, 4-speed manual transmission, and 8¾” rear end. The engine has been given a rebuild in the recent past, and the owner believes that a camshaft upgrade was performed at this time. The rest of the engine is original and stock, with the exception of the carburetor, which is now an Edelbrock. The transmission functions okay, but the owner is honest enough to admit that it will occasionally jump out of top gear and that the clutch will need to be replaced sooner rather than later. Otherwise, everything is good, and the Challenger is said to drive nicely.

When I read a listing like the one for this Challenger, I do so with a feeling of confidence. The owner appears to be very candid about the car and talks willingly about its shortcomings. He also makes it clear that he is happy to talk to potential buyers, to supply additional photos, and also welcomes personal inspections. When you combine all of those attributes, it makes this a classic worthy of serious consideration.


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  1. Ken Tilly UK Member

    Why would anybody fit a new vinyl top before re painting the bodywork?

    Like 17
    • Dusty Rider

      A body man told me that he leaves the old top in place with the edges cut back a few inches. he said that the adhesive that holds the top down is very difficult to get it all off and it has a tendency to make the new paint fish eye when even a little blows into the new paint.

      Like 4
  2. dirtyharry

    Nice project. It is always great to find a project that has been done well, at least the parts that are done so far. I always thought these were better than Mustangs and Camaros, they rode better and were a little bigger. I still lust for the an all white, 440 model. I think the movie, Vanishing Point corrupted me.

    Like 12
  3. Tom Justice

    I can’t imagine getting this close to finished and parting with the car. Hope no big financial or health reasons are the cause. A 383 is the best engine for most people, plenty of power and not the problems with 3 carbs or hemi heads. I also really like the color.

    Like 4
  4. Jim in FL

    Regarding the top, maybe he was hoping to preserve the original paint. Given the attention to detail on the rest of the car, I have to think it was intentional. Maybe blend the fender and see how it looks. Great, very attractive find. I’m sure it will go for big money.

    In high school wood shop I made a custom grip for our pistol grip Cuda using the plastic as a guide. Looked really cool but that was a console car. Without the console the shifter and giant boot look even more brutal. I like it.

    Like 2
  5. 86_Vette_Convertible

    What has been done looks good to me. It does appear that this one will just be finish off what’s been started, so it could be basically a buy and drive for now. Whether it’s a good value or not depends on the reserve.

    Like 1
  6. IkeyHeyman

    Too many times somebody is selling a project and says “all the hard work has been done!” – and either the hard work is just beginning or what you’re looking at is a pile of crap you wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole. This is a refreshing exception.

    Like 6
  7. JohnfromSC

    Seems to me that he could have farmed out body and paint at this point and have a much more sellable $$$ car. Of course that’s assuming he had the cash to do so which he might not.

    Also will be curious to see reserve. Maybe it’s crazy high.

    Like 1
  8. Gaspumpchas

    Hate to be a wet blanket, but this outside body work might make it a mud queen, by virtue of the good sized hunk out of the quarter. Confused as to why they didn’t do the fenders before installing, gaps look good. I’m wondering if the vinyl roof is hiding sin. Off course for nearly 20 large a prospective buyer would look it over carefully. Take Kowalski with you.
    Good luck to the new owner~

    Like 1
  9. JoeNYWF64

    I wonder how many new ones they would have sold if Dodge retained the LEFT side HVAC controls, which preclude passenger control, let alone DUAL climate zones/controls.
    & how many would they sell today w/o a/c or p/w or navigation screens – maybe only to non millenials.

  10. Billieg

    Red flag: Engine was rebuilt but the clutch will need to be replaced soon and it jumps out of high gear.

    Why wasn’t a new clutch put in and the tranny fixed when the engine was taken out for rebuild or was it a quick and dirty in-car rebuild?

    Like 1
    • grant

      It sounds like the “rebuild” happened before the current owner.

  11. Gaspumpchas

    Great point Billieg- was wondering that myself. makes no sense. maybe a rattle can rebuild??? With that and that hunk of Bondo missing out of the quarter, plus why didn’t they do the work on the fenders before installing>> Caveat Emptor. on paper it looks good. Looker over good.

    Like 1
  12. Grandpa Lou

    I think the days of over priced Mopars is almost over.

  13. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Because someone drove it ? If that’s original paint showing – being a Cali car – it looks okay from here….lotsa folks going for survivor bodies…….

  14. TimM

    Nice clean job!! Someone will get a nice ride if it doesn’t go sky high!!!

    Like 1
  15. Steve

    Looks like the floors have been replaced. I would bring a bondo detector and check the rest of the car. Dents are OK, they can be fixed. but bondo rust repairs not OK in my book.

  16. OhU8one2

    I’m thinking, maybe whatever shop that installed interior also did vinyl tops and owner just had everything done at once. Agree though, proceed with caution. Could be a smokin deal?

  17. Del

    Candid Camera

    No fender tag

    Lot of cobbling together.

    Have you ever cobbled ?

  18. Mike

    Hi everyone, this was my car. I found it randomly while google searching colors for my next challenger project. The article is nice. To answer a few questions, I sold it to a guy in Sweden and he was very happy to pay $26k. I detailed every inch of this car in a forum post ( with 100+ pictures of every metal repair I made. I enjoy doing metal work and I only wanted to get it into a state where I could enjoy it as a solid but ratty looking classic or sell it for someone else to finish. Roof skin is new along with the upper cowl and some other minor stuff. I screwed up by not rebuilding the trans and clutch while it was out figuring it would be fine. Dumb mistake but at the time, I was trying to keep unnecessary costs down and that would have been a big cost. The car drove beautifully. In fact the new owner drove it two hours after picking it up and praised the car for how well it drove. His plan was to finish the exterior and add it to his collection.

    Like 1

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