Simply Spotless: 1970 Dodge Challenger Convertible

Some classics come along, and they just knock your socks off with how nicely they present. This 1970 Dodge Challenger Convertible is just such a car. It is hard to find anything that can be criticized about its condition or originality, but it will be interesting to see just how opinions fall on this one once we’ve looked at the entire vehicle. The owner refers to the Challenger as having interesting options, and I can’t really argue with him on that point. If you read this article and decide that you would like to pursue this one further, you will find it located in Live Oak, Florida, and listed for sale here on eBay. After initially opening at $25,000, bidding on the Convertible has quickly raced to $35,000, but the reserve hasn’t been met.

The first thing to note about the Challenger is that it is said to be completely rust-free. The floors are solid, the trunk looks good, and there are no external indications of any rust issues. The vehicle has recently received a repaint in its original Light Gold Metallic, and this has helped it to present beautifully. Generally speaking, all of the panel gaps look tight and even, although the hood looks like it needs to be adjusted slightly. The Black power top is said to be original, and not only does it feature a glass rear window, but it fits tightly, with no signs of any problems. I find it difficult to change my views on luggage racks because I’m really not a fan of them. I would prefer it if this car didn’t have one. However, it’s there, so if I were to buy this car, I’d probably learn to live with it. It could potentially be removed, and that would come down to a matter of personal preference. The external trim and chrome appear to be quite good, and I have the feeling from its appearance that the majority of this is original and unrestored.

If you want to talk about the “wow” factor, then you only need to look inside the Challenger. The owner states that what you see here isn’t restored, that nothing has been replaced, and that this is original. If this is true, then the condition is outstanding. About the only thing that I can spot that could potentially require attention is the fact that the seatbelts have started to fade. Beyond that, I don’t see any splits, tears, seam separations, or cracks anywhere. The console looks to be in amazing condition, and the owner says that everything, including the clock, works exactly as it should. The only non-original item inside the Challenger is an FM converter for the radio, and this was installed by a previous owner. Still, if 100% originality is what the next owner desires, then removing this should be no big deal.

So, this is the moment where we get to what the owner refers to as the “interesting options,” and it will be fascinating to see what our readers think of this. What we find under the hood are the venerable 225ci slant-six engine, a 3-speed TorqueFlite transmission, power steering, and power brakes. I’ll be honest because when I first saw this car, that wasn’t even close to what I was expecting. Am I disappointed that there isn’t a V8 occupying the engine bay? Maybe a bit, but I do rather like those slant-sixes anyway. So for me, it isn’t the end of the world. The owner does actually float the idea of the Challenger being the basis for a restomod or maybe slotting a Hemi under the hood. Both ideas do have their attraction, but I’m not sure that I’d rush into that at this stage. The reason for this is the fact that the Challenger is said to be in extremely good mechanical health. The entire drive-train has just received a full rebuild and restoration, including the motor, transmission, rear end, suspension, brakes, hydraulics, and exhaust. Given how bulletproof all of these components tend to be, it would seem to be a shame to scrap anything immediately. It might not be a muscle car, but as a relaxed cruiser, I think that it would work quite well. Anyway, if you took it to a car show or the next Cars & Coffee, it would really grab some attention when you popped the hood and people spotted a six instead of a V8. The saving grace here is that with the car in such great mechanical health, it should afford the next owner plenty of time to consider and investigate all of  their options before they take any action, or make any changes.

Before I spotted what was under the hood of this Challenger Convertible, I quite liked what I saw. The car presents so nicely, and it shows a lot of promise. For some people, the slant-six is going to be a deal-breaker, but for others (including me), it simply wouldn’t be an issue. What do you think?

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  1. KSwheatfarmer Member

    Do not remove that engine.

    • Shawn Fox Firth

      perfect – add a TorqStorm supercharger .

    • petemcgee

      Secretary car.

      • SMDA

        I take offence to that terminology. Secretarys are highly organized hard working people. If they use common sense in the purchase of a good looking car, who are we to judge? Besides, in 1970 when this “secretary” was buying this brand new car, what were you driving? A 59 Lark with rusty quarters and a tappet noise?

      • CCFisher

        Get a grip. Nobody said there’s anything wrong with being a secretary.

        Also, if you’re going to complain, check your spelling. The word is “offense.”

      • SMDA

        CC, my “offense” is to the general attitude that a sporty looking car with a socially responsible engine is something to be looked down upon. Most cars were with these engines, not the ones todays youth seem to think were the norm.

      • CCFisher

        That’s a distinctly different message than your first comment. Beyond that, most of the comments here are supportive, so your offense seems misplaced.

  2. Moparman Member

    As I grow older, I’ve started to appreciate old cars for what they ARE, rather than how I would like them. Having said that, I would have like to have seen a 318 c.i. at the very least, but I would happily drive this one AS IS ( I’m w/ you Adam, on luggage racks, though!). The newer generations of car enthusiasts need to see and know that not every Mopar had a rip snorting, fire breathing Hemi/440/383 under the hood. Everyday people for the most part, drove everyday cars like this one. Really beautiful, GLWTA!! :-)

    • SMDA

      I’m with you. I have owned both 225s and 318s. Both fine engines. The 318 would be far better here, esp in a heavier convert, yet the SS performance was still quite reasonable. A Challenger was about a hundred pounds heavier then a Dart as the front end was based off the mid sized car to accept those big blocks as options, add in the convert, even heavier, yet I still find this wonderful, esp restored to new. A 3.23 or 3.55 rear end would really make this come alive also. If I hit the lotto, I would own this car for sure. Converts are just for leisurely Sunday drives anyway, not like you are going to drag race them. Just relax and watch the world go by, life is too short to be in a hurry.

      • Dave

        Than not then!

      • SMDA

        Attack of the Grammar Police!

  3. doug

    Some fool will ruin this car by swapping in a monster engine.

    • Lynn Member

      Needs a 6 pack. Or maybe I need a 6 pack!!!

      • John Oliveri

        It’s a shame w a 6cyl

    • Jerry Ramey

      That’s what I’m afraid of. The last thing we need is another HEMI or SIX PACK clone.

  4. DRV

    The concept of a pretty convertible and not a hot rod is desirable to me. I would prefer the six for a driver and love to hear the conversations with the hood open at a cruise in.
    Imagine the gas you’d save as a driver.

    • SMDA

      Actually, in a heavier car like this, I think the 318 might actually be better MPG as it would be less taxed. The early 80s J cars ( Cordoba and Mirada) with sixes, in the real world got worse MPG then the 318s as you had to stomp on the 225s to get up and go, whereas the small V8s not so much. Over a big block, of course better MPG, no issue there.

      • Thomas Parker

        However, this car was built before the bogged down smog required EPA equipment. The 6 for this car is a little more economical than a 318.

      • SMDA

        Mr Parker, you make a good point. These sixes before 73 were something to behold, that is for sure. Hey, I like clean air as much as the next guy, but I do miss the old engines before they were smoged down.

    • Walt

      I got a straight 69 Mustang black fastback, 2nd owner [cal car],no rust any where, w a rebuilt 66 Borg Werner 4 spd[Selby] w/newly installed/325 posi, Magnum 500’s & all spoilers, louvers. These wish me toads want/ask me what I want 4 it & they don’t even now what year it is! So all U Cheap dreamer toads keep on Dreaming! & it’s got a sweet in line six, a perfect Cruiser that hasn’t been trashed out! Keep on Dreaming girls!

  5. matthew B steele

    Yes leave it alone..resto mod something on the rougher side..appreciate what this is

  6. Del

    Beauty find.

    Too bad about engine

  7. Gaspumpchas

    Love the leaning tower of power. Beautiful example.Good luck to the new owner. Sitting at 35 large and reserve not met. Seller points out that the reserve is low for this caliber of car. That means you, me and Joe Sixpack need not apply. Look it over good.

  8. junkman Member

    “Direct Connection” had a ton of upgrades for the 225 in the 70s. As long as the oil pressure is good at idle hot, no need to mess with success. Black seats in a convertible can burn yo arse if you not paying attention. Nice car.

  9. Bob S

    IMHO, the leaning tower of power makes this car! Hats off to the owner for keeping this original. A whole lot rarer than any of it’s V8 brethren, and one could only hope that it stays original with the new owner.

  10. Dave Rhodes

    what a shame

    • Mountainwoodie

      I’m with you. A very strangely optioned car. Someone put a whole lotta money into restoring it though. Kind of different but whether its 40 large different only time will tell

    • TinCanSailor

      Why? These cars are particularly rare. People kept or restored big block, six-pack, Hemi, four-speed cars because they thought (knew) that someday they would be collectible. In the meanwhile, the 318 and slant sixes were stripped for parts and then sent to the salvage yard.

      I have been to Chrysler Carlisle, and you can count on one hand the number of E-body cars with this powertrain. I would keep it original and drive it as much as possible.

    • David Ulrey

      I have to agree with you. I have absolutely nothing against a slant six. I actually respect them. I’ve had a couple vehicles with it. One was a pickup and did an excellent job in the truck. I wouldn’t worry about about a big, high performance engine in this but ideally at least a 318. For me it would ideally have a decent 360 in it. Not even a high performance one. Gas mileage in a car like this isn’t an issue. It’s doubtful that it will be a daily driver. Even if it does become a daily driver, if you can afford the car you can afford the gas.

  11. Chris H

    Beautiful. Leave the drive train alone, roll the top down, and dive that thing!

  12. Gunner

    Wow. Well, a ‘vert Challenger is pretty rare by it’s own right. Add the six in and that would make it a unicorn. Everything about the way it is optioned makes it unique and beautiful. There has been write ups on second generation Chargers with the six and why they are valued and unique also. I would put this Challenger in that category. As stated, there are mods that can be done to the six to give you more power, should you desire and still be able to return it to stock. 50 large is a chunk of change, but on the other hand, people drop this all the time on new. Show me another one like this. I absolutely love it for what it is and so would many people that complimented you on it. If I had the 50, this is where I would put it. Drive it and enjoy it.

  13. JoeNYWF64

    I seriously doubt this car came with those wheels or gas filter.
    Even a lot of v8 cars back then had wheel covers.
    IMO this car is a bit too heavy for that motor,
    let alone a charger or bigger! lol
    & the 225 should only have been offered for dart, duster, etc.
    A 318 2 bbl in a Chally probably got close to the same mpg as the 6 – due to power to wt ratio.
    Maybe the lighter 6 was offered for better performance in the SNOW?
    The extremely rare ’70 Chally & Cuda convertibles with 440 6 pack or hemi, draw inSANE money. Even clones.
    & with 80k miles I am surprised for the need here for a “Full mechanical restoration”.
    With rust free floors & body & the fact these leaked water inside even when NEW, this car was no doubt always garaged & hardly ever driven in the rain. & therefore, why the repaint? & was maintenance all but forgotten on the motor, front end & rear?
    & if all those mechanicals needed rebuilding, why spend the money to rebuild what’s here, instead of droppin in a 426 or 440 6pk & torqueflite?
    & one could make a HELL of a lot more money selling a ’70 convertible that way, or much better yet if converted to a 4 speed!
    Remember – ’70 chally & cuda convertibles are a special rare case.
    & i can not think of ANY 6 cylinder car from this era with ORIGINAL motor that’s worth more than a decent tranplanted v8 – except maybe for the pontiac OHC 6 vs 350 pont v8 – maybe.

    • A Kepka

      You could order all of those as options. Or the factory prep cars came with random options. The slant-6 even had a Scat-Pak option with a dealer installed Offenhauser 4bbl intake, AFB 4bbl carb, necessary linkage and with split dual-exhaust headers. If memory serves, they built less than 230 six cylinder Challenger CVs. One final note, the Slant-six K-member was nearly identical to the Hemi K-member. with only minor modification needed to one of the mount supports.

    • Buffalo Bob

      The wheels, maybe. The gas cap? Perhaps. The flip-open filler was an option, but I can’t see someone getting it on a 225 powered car. Should be a body-colored twist-on.

      • A Kepka

        Customer pre-ordered car as opposed to a factory-prepped car. Need to see the build sheet. With such a “original” car one of the three build sheets in the car when delivered should still be in place.

  14. art

    Hmmm…I’m sort of echoing Joe, there are no under carriage pictures and that should be included. The other uh-oh is that black undercoat(?) sprayed all over the trunk floor, quarter panels and partially onto the wheel wells. That is not a factory application. Chrysler would never spray an asphalt based coating and then put a rubber or vinyl mat on top. Bad combination. My guess is that they are hiding some rust caused either by a leaking rear window or from that luggage rack. 50 years old, top down sunshine, over 81,000 miles and the seats look pristine? I don’t think so. My dads’ 68 Coronet 440 with 27,000 miles (and 11 years old at the time) started to have a seam separation on the drivers seat bottom cushion, so I just can’t buy the statement of original seats with the age and miles of this convertible. Passenger seat maybe, driver, no. Plus the wrinkles on the seat backs looks more like a so-so quality, recent installation. I’m doubtful. Inspection needed for sure.

  15. Ken Member

    Beautiful car. Lose the luggage rack but do not touch that engine.

    It’s too bad someone will. We don’t have enough fake Hemi Challengers already, I guess.

    • A Kepka

      Actually Luggage rack was/is a very rare option. Even in the 80s they were worth up to $350(NOS)

  16. TimM

    In my mind this car has survived as long as it has because it has a slant 6 with an automatic in it!! Can’t grab gears and not a horse power monster with a 6!! I honestly would have a hard time leaving it alone if it were mine but it is a really nice car!!!

  17. Dan

    I think Art is on to something. Something is not right about this car. Looks nice but I feel cosmetics are hiding something. The build tag has holes rusted through it and the body behind and around it have very deep pitting from rust. That tells the story of what this car has been through.

    • A Kepka

      Build tags were stamped of tin plate ribbon and painted while riveted to the fender apron. Even as cars shipped to dealers moister accumulated between the unpainted surfaces and remained there anywhere but the driest areas like Arizona or New Mexico. Even as early as the late ’70s/early 80s in the junk yards of SoCal, we found many Mopar build tags nearly disintegrated on otherwise aged but pristine fender aprons. btw; beware replica build tags not stamped from galvanized or stainless steel ribbon. Be sure to ask.

      • Terry Bowman

        A Kepka, I never seen a fender tag riveted to the enter fender. always screwed on by a phillips screw(2). Now the dash pads, yes, they are “star” riveted on. Note: be careful painting the dash by taping off the vin. plate. I pulled the tape off and also pulled the white writing off with it. I was able to find a company that made the white print to replace it. I would like to add, my 72′ B300 dodge van, does have the vin, plate in the driver door opening that is riveted, but I never seen it in a car.

  18. chillywind

    The 6 is fine. We had a Volare wagon with a 225 in it. We drove the car everywhere. I just looked it up, the cars are just about the same weight! 3650! Now the Volare was a neck snapping 19.6 in the quarter so no speed demon by any means but I did get the thing to spin one of the snow tires on dry pavement one day.

    This is one oddball combination for sure. Never heard of one of these.

    • SMDA

      By 1976, the 225 was pretty strangled, yet quite adequate in performance. This less inhibited car should be much better. I do love this car so, though the color, while historically correct, was never one of my favorites. A nice light blue was.

  19. schooner

    Yeah, lose the rack. They should be on cars that cannot otherwise hold a long weekend worth of stuff. Opel GTs and Sprigets come to mind. Plenty of ways to spice up that 6, Clifford 6=8 comes to mind if one needs to.

    • A Kepka

      It was faddish back then to add a luggage rack for that ‘Sport GT’ look. Like ‘rally’ strips, ‘flip-top’ gas cap, etc. Even my 70 Charger RT/SE Hemi had a luggage rack, huge “HEMI” hood decal callouts but no ‘wheel-lip moldings’, or even dual sport side mirrors. One of nine given to the highest volume dealers at cost if left on the showroom floor for the complete model year.

      • schooner

        Yup, the Missus-to-be to be wanted a ’70 240Z, went to the dealer. That awful orange color, rack, Anson slot mags, slats on the back window, anything and everything to extract the last dollar for an in demand car. No, she ended up with a 2002tii. Spartan in comparison. First response: “It’s a sedan!”. Took her for a ride and that sealed that deal.

  20. 86_Vette_Convertible

    As some have said or implied, the slant six is a solid, substantial engine. No it won’t ever match a hemi in performance, but it was never intended to. It’s powered a lot of vehicles and machines in general. IN fact it was the engine in my Dad’s self propelled combine. It started every time for me, so it was a dependable engine.

    • A Kepka

      With the Direct Connect Scat-Pac added, the old stoic Slant 6 developed a rather impressive 240 horses. Imagine back then if a supercharger had been offered?! LOL

  21. Buffalo Bob

    To the eventual buyer: PLEASE, don’t ruin this car by swapping in a V8. Leave it’s originality alone. The novelty of a 225 in this car is what makes it special. These things could take a .50 cal & keep on running, I’d take one over a 318 any day. Simple & built to stay that way. I personally think 35 large is a lot of coin for this car with a six, but WTH. If it were around 20, I’d be all over it. Looks like a beauty.

  22. A Kepka

    Had three 70 Challenger CVs; Red with White Slant-6(w/Scat-Pak), Red on red 340, 4spd RT/SE(yes, a factory SE convertible) and a Hemi Orange & blk 440-6. Sold the last one in ’94. All SoCal rust-free originals.
    FYI – all cars, whether pre-ordered or factory prep cars came with random options. Even seen both E and B bodies without drip trough mouldings! The slant-6 even had a Scat-Pak option offered, with a dealer installed kit comprising of an Offenhauser 4bbl intake, AFB 4bbl carb, necessary linkage and split dual-exhaust headers. If memory serves, they built less than 230 six cylinder Challenger CVs. One final note, the Slant-six K-member was nearly identical to the Hemi K-member. with only minor modification needed to one of the mount supports.

  23. Terry Bowman

    I always thought a “Scat – Pac” Mopar had to run 13.99 or better in the Quarter mile, stock. I see many “B” and “E” body cars at car shows with the “Scat – Pac” stickers on the side rear windows, with 383’s and don’t think they can run in the 13’s. The 340 “A” bodies, Yes!!!!

    • A Kepka

      No… The “Scat-Pac”(Decal), was a marketing gimmick, along with “Dodge Boys”, etc. I asked my business partner whether he recalled anything about dealer installed scat-pac kits for other coded cars but all he could recall was what the original owner told us and that the invoice included it, along with the unit still in their Mopar Direct-Connection boxes. I recall the window sticker/final invoice she provided, and I even may have pics taken at the time of the kit in their boxes. I ended up trading the car in 1988, along with a 70 GTX for a 69 Hemi SuperBee coupe… The Scat-Pak I sold seperately to a kid in Colorado who was planning on sticking it on his ’70 Dart….?! Hey? It was the 80s.. what can I say.

      • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

        The Dodge Scat Pack and the Plymouth Rapid Transit System!
        I remember looking at the ads in my father’s early 70’s car magazines and loving them.

      • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member


  24. John Oliveri

    Someone is dumping that 6 cylinder, unless a real collector buys it, I would pass on it because of the 6, but I’d hope they would leave it alone

  25. A Kepka

    The slant-6 challenger cv I bought from the original owner told me it was on the car originally when she bought it in Irvine, CA. She said that it got such horrendous gas mileage than she expected that she took the car back to the dealer within three weeks and had everything replaced with stock. I assume under warranty as she did mention it didn’t cost her anything and they merely put everything back in the boxes and left it all in the trunk. I was nearly gone with the car when she suddenly remembered she still had it up in her garage….

  26. Jon B

    I learned to drive in Dad’s 70 Challenger. 318 auto, buckets, console and no a/c, p/s or p/b. Ran ok. The 225 will do cine in this car. Dad traded a 66 Coronet with the six and it ran really good. Plenty of power and it got good mileage. They put the six in trucks and C bodies and they weren’t lacking for power unless you were trying to tow or carry heavy loads.
    Changing this car to a Hemi or another engine requires the k member an torsion bars to do it right. People! Leave this car alone!

    • A Kepka

      The K-members are nearly identical between the Hemi and the Slant-6. Minor mod. to the mount support brackets, If I recall. In the 80s everyone would scour junk yards for either E and b bodies with Slant 6 K-members. Both were identical except the driver’s side engine mount bracket had an extra reinforcement plate welded… When modified you can’t tell the difference.

  27. moosie moosie

    Imagine how much fun this car would be with a 4 speed instead of that torque flight, personally that rack ruins the car for me but its not my car nor can I afford it. The positioning of that fuel filter is pretty much where they had them from the factory.

  28. A Kepka

    Only a column 3 spd was standard. The AT was optional equip. I even once briefly owned a ’71 383 ‘Cuda(B5 Blue with matching interior), with a ‘bench seat’ AND column shift!!! I swear to God! LOL! My ex-wife drove it for nearly 2 years.

  29. Richard Martin

    It would be a good car for a lazy day cruise on Daytona Beach, if it’s not too crowded.

  30. Maestro1 Member

    I would put my hands on the car, get it in the air to look at its bones and make the owner an offer he/she can’t refuse………

  31. Ron Cain

    Leave it alone – very rare. I would look at hot rodding the six before removing it in Australia they raced these engines – triple carbs and cam etc . As a cruiser its fine as it is!

    • schooner

      Raced in the bullrings, the old Limited Sportsman class. Crewed one in a misspent youth. We did OK, won a few against the bigger Chevy and Fords. The pit parties were legendary.

  32. Terry L McNutt

    Love to drop a helephant in this baby.

  33. Brad G

    That thing got a hemi ?

  34. junkman Member

    I don’t think this has a 727 torqueflite but a 904 I can’t remember what the name for the 904 was. Maybe someone can set me straight one this, memory getting a bit foggy in my old age.

    • Terry Bowman

      junkman, they are both torqueflites, just what Chrysler called their automatic transmissions. The 904 was lighter, with a wider gearing, but could be made stronger for racing. The 727 was factory built strong for their HD motors, but was limited on their gearing. Built, the 904 is a better for racing. I have a 727 in my B300 Maxi van with a built 70′ 340 and have been beating the crap out of it for 25 years.Did brake a band once, but it was my fault. Never drop into 1st at a high idle. LOL

  35. Angel Cadillac Diva

    In 1966, my cousin (a secretary) bought a new 1967 Chevrolet Camaro convertible. Six cylinder, no p/s, no p/b, no p/top, 3 speed on the floor.

  36. Louis Chen

    There’s nothing wrong with this set up! It looks near perfect in every way except the owner is asking too for this. What about the mileage?

  37. MoPar Mike

    I absolutely love this car! It’s refreshing to see one NOT cloned into an R/T. I suspect that nearly all of the base E bodies on the road now are clones of R/Ts and Cudas. I personally would have a hard time with the 225, If it were mine I’d probably do a 340 swap and some period correct aftermarket wheels and leave the body looking the same. I’m not buying the original survivor story though. Seats have been redone and that rusty fender tag has me wondering.

  38. John Oliveri

    That sounds like a nice upgrade, 340, intake air, I’m sold

  39. A Kepka

    Yeah, you’re right. After 30 years I forgot that the build tags were screwed on before painted. Also exact OEM replacement rivets are available.

  40. Jerry Ramey

    That car reminds me of a similar Challenger convertible that my Dad took pictures of when he and Mom went to Florida for a vacation in 1990. This one was also a 1970, it was red with a black top, and it also had a 225 slant six in it. Except this one had a manual transmission in it. I forget how much the elderly owner was asking for it. I seem to recall it was either $10,000 or $12,000. I came across those pictures not long ago. I’ve wished a thousand times I’d bought that car. But, if I could go back in time!

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