Original Barn Find: 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T

Back in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, I always thought of Dodge as being the “what about me” performance end of Chrysler Corp. I think it had to do with the Plymouth GTX and Road Runner surfacing before the Dodge Super Bee, the Barracuda/ ‘Cuda before the Dodge Challenger’s introduction and then the Dodge Demon arriving after the Plymouth Duster. This may not really be the case but it seemed that introductory level Plymouth kept beating Dodge to the punch. The ‘Cuda seemed to occupy all of ChryCo’s performance bandwidth for pony cars even though Dodge’s Challenger, like this R/T, located in Chalfont, Pennsylvania and available here on eBay for a current bid of $11,001 was an excellent alternative. Thanks to Patrick S. for the tip!

What swung me around to Challenger appreciation was the 1971 movie “Vanishing Point” starring a 1970 Dodge Challenger. There was a plot and a storyline of some sort but it was really all about Barry Newman’s character, “Kowalski” and his quixotic journey in the Dodge.

Our subject car, according to the seller, is a real R/T model equipped with a 440 CI V8 engine, good originally for 375 HP. The seller is pretty forthcoming in telling us that this 440 is not the original engine, it is a 1971 motor but it does start and he tells us that it runs “strong”. It appears to have had some mods installed including an Edelbrock intake manifold and carburetor along with an Accel ignition and aftermarket valve covers. Backing up the big RB engine is a TorqueFlite three-speed automatic transmission. On the downside, we are told that the brakes do not work.

The body on this Challenger is worn, to say the least. The finish is faded and flaking off with a lot of surface rust evident, especially around and under the vinyl top covering a typical problem. It also appears that there is rust around the rear wheels in the quarters. The seller makes no comment regarding rust or corrosion but he is generous with the images so you can get a pretty good idea of what’s going on with this Dodge. The trunk pan is rusted too, but it doesn’t look like it has been perforated.

There are no comprehensive images of the interior so I included this sample photo of the dash. You can probably imagine from this picture how the rest of it looks. The seller simply states that it’s complete and has all of the factory glass in place. No discussion regarding the condition of the floors.

This Challenger appears to be pretty complete. It has been sitting in storage for the last 34 years and perhaps the storage wasn’t the best venue for this car but it certainly seems like a good base for a restoration project. There is no denying the value of these mighty Mopars, even in poor condition, which I do not consider this one to be, they command strong prices. The seller states that the body (fender?) tag is missing so I’m not sure if that is cause for concern. I would ask our Mopar informed readership to comment on that matter. The Dodge Challenger has had a true Lazarus-like second life with the second-gen that has been in production, with few changes, since 2008. Dodge has seen fit to keep the party going with continual options, improvements and specialty models like the Hellcat. Obviously, there was reverence for the 1st gen, which only lasted five years, but the second-gen has been so strong for so long, I am sure there are many who don’t know anything about the originals. Well, here is the original, 1970 in all of its R/T glory. So, what would you do, go for an original like this one and bring it back to motoring life or just skip it and buy a newer one?

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Comments

  1. Steven

    Alot of rust in this one especially around the back what a shame.

    Like 6
  2. 8banger David Mika Member

    Not to be naive, but why the missing tag? Fishy.

    Like 8
    • Nick P

      It seems that some years back when these cars began to rise in value, many owners removed their fender tags either to preserve them from rusting away or saving them from the body rusting around them. Then, many were lost. The vin will identify it as a true rt model. I’m not a mopar guy, but I believe you can have them reproduced for your specific car after you’ve verified your options.

      Like 3
      • Chris M.

        Usually you can, provided you have the correct build sheet.

  3. Dave

    This one is a rotbox that’s missing too many pieces. I’d rather have a new AWD one.

    Like 7
  4. Gaspumpchas

    There’s a world of hurt under the vinyl top and the bondo has popped under the r window. Allmost looks like it spent some time underwater. Kowalski would be ashamed.
    Cheers
    GPC

    Like 3
  5. Troy s

    Seeing the dash reminded me of Vanishing Point a bit. I like the Challenger a little more than the ‘Cuda, not because of the movie though.
    The new ones are definitely a throwback, more than the Camaro or Mustang. Hope they keep building them.

    Like 4
  6. bob

    Turn it into a General Lee!!!

    • DonC

      General Lee is a Charger.

      Big difference for us Challenger owners

      Like 5
      • SDJames

        And us Charger owners…

  7. George Mattar

    I live 20 minutes from this car. Might take a look see. Missing fender tag a red flag. Hardly anyone was removing them in 1985, but it was about then that “old” musclecars were starting to be valuable. Plenty of rust to deal with and not orig engine. Good luck to buyer and seller.

  8. tom king

    got to send it to mark worman get cousin dougie and will on it

    Like 1
  9. CCFisher

    The current Challenger is technically not the second generation. There was a Mitsubishi-sourced version available from 1978-1983. The current Challenger is either the third or fourth generation, depending on whether the facelifted 1981 Challenger is considered a separate generation. Then again, most enthusiasts simply ignore the Mitsubishi years.

    Like 4
    • Jim ODonnell

      “Then again, most enthusiasts simply ignore the Mitsubishi years.”

      Exactly!

      Like 2
  10. DonC

    I’ve replied in the past that I grew up with a 70 Challenger convertible with a 383 Magnum and slapstick automatic. White interior and candy apple red outside.
    I’d be interested in this one because I can do my own bodywork and know the mechanicals very well. Yeah…it’ll take a bankload, but I’d restore it to drive, not to go to Mecum.

    Like 3
  11. David Harris

    Could at least buy a battery, how many jumpers does it take

  12. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Yep….for some reason the data tag is right next to the battery…..lot’s disappeared because of that and just plain rusting of the two screws that held them on.

  13. TimM

    To much rust by the roof for me!! It looks like if you remove the vinal top you might end out putting on a new roof!!! No for me!!!

  14. DonC

    TimM…..I hear ya. But I’m a ragtop man, so rip off the vinyl, punch out the rust, and convert it! Yeah Baby!

    • TimM

      That’s the way to go DonC!!!

  15. Del

    I agree with George.

    Missing fender tag a big problem.

    Also a red flag.

    Lot of issues. Is this unreserved?

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