Parked For 20 Years: 1970 Dodge Challenger

If I were to pick a Mopar classic that ticks the boxes for me from a styling perspective, the First Generation Dodge Challenger would sit close to the top of the list. While considered a top-end pony car, its body possesses lines that give it a muscular presence. This 1970 Challenger has spent twenty years in storage but is a complete classic that offers its new owner plenty of options. Restoring it to a showroom fresh state could be a reality, but slipping something more potent under the hood to transform the vehicle into a genuine muscle car is possible. If anything surprises me, it is the lack of significant bidding it has attracted since the owner listed it here on eBay. The Challenger is located in Greeley, Colorado, and has received a single bid of $19,000. For those wishing to bypass the auction, the seller offers a BIN option of $24,000.

When I scrolled through the listing photos, the first thing that struck me about this Challenger was its lack of penetrating rust. There may be some developing under the shredded Black vinyl below the back window. However, the rest of the exterior seems to show nothing beyond some staining where corrosion is appearing around a few edges and from under some moldings. The trunk pan sports some surface corrosion, and the same is true of the underside. However, I can’t spot any genuine rot. It isn’t surprising that it also appeared under the vinyl across the vehicle’s roof, but someone has peeled the vinyl away before the deterioration caused steel penetration. The overall impression is that this Challenger shouldn’t require much cutting or welding to whip its body into shape. It would be worth attacking the trim and chrome with a high-quality polish because that approach would cost nothing and could produce positive results. The tinted glass looks good, and although the Cragar wheels aren’t original, they don’t look out of place on this classic.

Lifting the Challenger’s hood reveals a 318ci V8 that produced 230hp in its prime. The power found its way to the rear wheels via a three-speed TorqueFlite transmission, allowing the car to cover the ¼ mile in 16.5 seconds. While that may not represent genuine muscle car performance, it would have satisfied most owners. This car recently emerged after twenty years in storage, and it appears it doesn’t run or drive. Mopar V8s are renowned for their toughness, so if this one turns freely, reviving it may prove straightforward. If the new owner desires more power, there is no shortage of options worth considering. A 340 should be the most cost-effective solution, although a 383, a 440, or a Hemi may prove too tempting to resist. With the components required for such a transplant available off the shelf, the choice will depend on how much money the new owner is willing to sink into the build. If they happen to have a spare motor hanging around in their workshop, that question becomes academic.

The consistency of this Challenger continues when we examine its interior. It is serviceable, although new front seat upholstery, a carpet set, and a dash pad wouldn’t go astray. The factory radio has made way for a rather nasty-looking radio/cassette player, with the installer cutting the door trims to house matching speakers. Locating the parts required to return the interior to its former glory is not tricky, and many readers will confirm that there are few parts of a project build more satisfying than stepping back and admiring a spotless interior you created with your own two hands. That is one of life’s great pleasures that could await the buyer on this build.

Considering the overall condition of this 1970 Challenger, I’m surprised by the solitary bid it has received. Restoring it to its original form would seem a straightforward proposition. However, if the 318 under the hood doesn’t offer potential buyers the performance they seek, slipping something with extra ponies into that space shouldn’t be a problem. After all, if Dodge could slide a 440 into the engine bay on its production line, there’s no reason why you couldn’t do the same. If 230hp offers respectable performance, imagine the fun you could have with 375hp available under your right foot. It’s a point worth pondering, but is that enough for you to drop a bid or two on this classic?

Comments

  1. Moparman Member

    This looks to be a good starting point, although (IMO) the pricing is a little on the high side for what is essentially a base Challenger. The front bench seat is a rarely seen item on these E bodies; I also like the placement of the non original hood scoops on the base hood. If the running gear is viable, it looks as though a cosmetic restoration would put someone in a nice car. GLWTA!!

    Like 4
  2. gaspumpchas

    Many red flags here, The seller has 2 feedbacks; and the opening bidder has 8, making the whole thing highly suspect. Other red flag is whats left of the vinyl top; needs to go so you can assess any roof. Having said that, Where is Kowalski?? And its near where his journey began. Good luck and get your ducks in a row before you hit the buy button!
    Cheers
    GPC

    Like 3
    • Emel

      If it was the model Challenger Kowalski drove it would have tons more bids and be worth over $60K or more. That was an all White Challenger RT with a 440 magnum under the hood. 4 speed stick. But luv the reference to Vanishing Point.

      Like 3
      • DON

        Two were 440 cars, the third VP movie car was a 383 – that was the one that ended up pulling the Camaro shell into the bulldozers . The cars were loaned to them by Chrysler, and were returned when the filming ended. No records have ever been found as to what vin number cars were used, but its assumed Chrysler scrapped all of them .

  3. Grant

    One of the first things I bought after coming to this country was a used 1971 Challenger. The 318 was maybe the best thing about it. Beautiful car that I kept for 100,000 miles. Never gave me any trouble. Made me feel like a regular American driving such a big car with such power under the bonnet.

    Like 3
  4. timothy r herrod

    those scoops look so out of place

    Like 20
    • angliagt angliagt Member

      Aren’t they from a ’70 Coronet.

      Like 1
  5. Melton Mooney

    A 360 would be more cost effective than a 340 if you wanted more muscle. You could likely stroke the 360 to a 408 and still have less in it than what you’d have to pay for a 340.

    Like 1
    • Michael Berkemeier

      You need some education regarding MoPar…the 340 will run CIRCLES around a 360. 360’s suck in comparison. Also, if you’re swapping engines, why would you even contemplate a crappy 360 when you could build a 440?

      Like 2
  6. Melton Mooney

    One of my side hustles back in the 80s was detail and paint work for a used car dealer who happened to love Mopar stuff. I painted that black tail stripe on just about every Challenger he brought me. Blacked out the humps on a bunch of rally hoods as well.

    Like 1
  7. Michael Berkemeier

    Lose the Dart or Super Bee scoops, they look ridiculous on an E-Body.

    Like 7
    • Ed Casala

      I was thinking the guy who did that really needs to stay out of “That Isle” at Pep Boys.

      Like 1
    • Emel

      They wouldn’t look as bad, if they just the color of the car. The black doesn’t work for me either. Anything Dart-ish should be avoided, lol.

  8. erik johnston

    Nice project, but those scoops look way out of place they belong on a duster,dart,superbee

  9. joenywf64

    Mag wheels, RWL tires, bumble bee stripe & hood scoops + 318 will do nothing for the Chally’s reputation & will only bring on disappointment in the driver, after he challenges those wanting to race him at the traffic lights – unless he’s racing a
    another 318 or slant 6, or 307 chevy, etc. lol
    Better to remove all these addons, & install whitewalls & wheel covers.
    But more likely, this motor will be pulled by the new owner.
    Could you get the optional tachometer with 318 or even slant 6? & was floor shift required?

  10. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    One of one with that rare bench seat……..and it’s GONE………

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