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Restore or Restomod? 1970 Dodge Charger R/T SE


Restomods are far from a passing fad, as more and more vintage American muscle is re-imagined in this form. In some cases, I find it to be anything but an improvement, especially on some classics that looked best when left alone. But other cars make a compelling argument for such modifcations, such as this 1970 Charger here on craigslist. It lost its original motor and paint long ago, so perhaps this is one you can have some fun with. 


As a counterpoint, there could be an argument made that the spec sheet demands you return this one back to its original form, even with the non-numbers matching powerplant. It came from the factory wearing an unusual shade of paint known as Dark Tan Metallic, the remnants of which you can still see in the door jambs and under the hood. In addition, it came equipped with a tan leather interior, one of only 187 cars ordered that way.


The engine is not the one it came with from the factory, but the Charger still does have a 440 on board that hasn’t run in 25 years. I suppose this is the car’s greatest sin, especially considering all of the sheet metal is said to be 100% original. The motor does turn over by hand but the seller is not going to attempt to start it before the next owner takes possession. You can see more remnants of the original tan paint still in the engine bay.


The Charger retains its original V21 hood option, along with the Sure Grip axle, bucket seats and front disc brakes. The more I think about it, the more it seems like this relatively solid Charger R/T deserves to be restored and not resto-modded, as even with the non-matching engine, this is still an impressively straight and true piece of Mopar muscle. The seller has tacked on a hefty asking price of $27,900 but claims the lack of rust will make this one cheaper to restore. Do you agree? How would you bring it back?


  1. 68 custom

    I think the combination of the RT and SE packages make it pretty desirable to a mopar guy. I would restore then sell it and replace it with a GM musclecar. If was one of those 500’s with the window plug I would keep it but I think those were from 69?

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  2. The Chucker

    Cool, but not nearly $28K cool.

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  3. Mitch

    DEFINITELY restore a car with rare options. How many of these are left? Original engine or not. Resto-modded true Mopar guys would barf on the hood of it.

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  4. JW

    Yes restore to original even with the crappy tan exterior color. Who would have ordered a Charger in that color is beyond my thinking, especially with the hot colors of the musclecar era.

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  5. Gary

    There’s a reason only 187 were ordered with that color combination. Yuck. Restomod and turn the ugly catepiller into a beautiful and extremely fast butterfly.

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  6. Spence

    I say restore to original color, Hellcat Hemi w/matching 6 speed, rear end, coilovers, keep the orange wheels, though I’d opt to have them custom made in aluminum, finish off with chrome beauty rings.

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  7. JW454

    This seller is correct about some things but, I think he’s incorrect about others. Example; On the trim tag in the second line from the bottom you will see the color code FT6 listed twice. I believe the second one is for the top color. That code is the same as the exterior code so the top was the same color as the bottom. It also has V1G in the third row. That means it had a Gator grain vinyl top. So the top would have been Gator grain Dark Tan not black. Maybe someone knows more than me can confirm to not. On the other hand, the N95 code is for the California spec. emissions standard for cars sold in California. So it looks like the statement it was from California is correct.
    I think he’s about 10K too high.

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    • Rspcharger Rspcharger

      The 2nd FT6 is for the interior door frame color, pretty much the only exposed metal on the interior.
      According to Legendary Auto Interiors: GATOR GRAIN TOPS ARE THE CORRECT “ANTIQUED” BROWN COLOR WITH SLIGHT GREEN TINTING, which appear almost black.

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  8. Rob

    I’d clean it up, fix the interior, put on some nice period mags, and rock it as is. If I was going to paint, I’d go back to the tan, but no vinyl top.

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  9. Chebby

    Doesn’t seem like it would take much to attempt to make it run, wouldn’t you even be curious? I’d love to know what he paid for it.

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  10. Kincer Dave

    I’m guessing this is what it looked like as new, not a very nice color in my opinion for a Charger but it’s a real sleeper color though lol

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  11. Doug Towsley

    Im not a Mopar guy, But I love the orange and black color combo. Without a dog in the fight and my own unsolicited opinion, I would be tempted to repaint in new paint that Orange/black layout, Black interior, and as some one else posted a Modern Power train and brakes but do it so it could be returned all original. In the meantime restore the OEM type power train and other parts. If you ever sell it then new owner can return to stock or run as is . WIN-WIN as it would be SO MUCH NICER to drive with updated powertrain and brakes. Plus looks wise,, the stock color is ugly so have some fun, drive it, show it off and let people enjoy it instead of hidden away.

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  12. Yellowjax Member

    I really like that color. In today’s world it would be called “latte”.

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  13. Junior Johnston

    $1295.00 for just the Gator Grain vinyl top on the B bodies from 70. I have sold and installed 5 of those tops in the last 15 years.


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  14. Jubjub

    Just my opinion, but that dark tan metallic looks awesome. Even more so with the vinyl top. I like the orange too, but it’s just another cliché muscle car color. These Chargers are still outstanding in subtle colors. A testament to their truly great design.

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  15. stillrunners

    I had the gator top on my 70 Challenger R/T…..I knew it was rare top back then and in the late 80’s the guy at the bank made me an offer I didn’t refuse….one I’m sorry about letting go…..

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  16. moosie Craig

    Anybody know what the hood option code V21 is ? I am thinking its the directional lights in the recesses ? I’d turn it back to what it was when new.

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    • Rspcharger Rspcharger

      L31 is the hood mounted turn signals. The V21 appears to be the black painted recesses, at least thats what all the forums seem to think.

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  17. Fiete T

    I just want to shake my head…they are one of the coolest car’s ever styled under Elwood Engle, but the pricing is just a head scratcher. I like it, I’d restomod it (after all, why have something you aren’t going to enjoy/use), but not at an opening salvo price like that. Nope

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