Stored 26 Years: 1970 Dodge Challenger

Dodge was the last major player to field a “pony car” – more than five years after Ford got the ball rolling with the Mustang. The Challenger rolled out for 1970 using the new E-body platform that the revised Barracuda was deploying over at Plymouth, although there was no common sheet metal between the two. Most Challengers rolled off the assembly line with a V8 engine, but about one out of every eight had the 225 Slant-Six under the hood, like the seller’s car. This is an estate sale listing for a car that we’re told has been garaged since 1995, so it’s not in running condition. Available in Mokelumne, California, the starting bid here on eBay has been set at $18,000 – but there are no takers so far.

The Challenger would be produced through 1974 and retired along with the Barracuda as muscle/pony car sales had pretty much run their course. Nearly 77,000 Challengers would see the light of day for 1970, the car’s best year in terms of output. Around 10,000 of them were targeted at buyers who liked sporty looks, but preferred economy over speed, so the 225 I-6 went into those cars. This machine was one of those cars, finished in Dark Burnt Orange with a matching interior, the seller’s car accumulated nearly 84,000 miles over 25 years and then was exiled inside the seller’s mother’s garage. We don’t know if it became dormant due to a mechanical problem or if Mom had just stopped driving and never let the car go.

The mostly original paint (the car was involved in a rear-end collision at some point) is flanked by a white Landau vinyl top. The body seems to look good with the occasional minor paint chip or ding that you would expect to find after five decades. We’re told there is some minor rust in the trunk, but no photos. The car comes with a salvage title from the accident. Apparently, the damage was repaired but the title never rebuilt (this was prior to Mom’s ownership). The interior is said to be in good shape except for the dashboard which is worn and discolored and there is a cover to hide that stuff.

Chrysler’s 225 Slant-Six was a heck of a motor, but after sitting for so long the seller recommends the engine, transmission, and brakes all be rebuilt. I’d be inclined to try to get it going first before yanking all that out for refurbishing (that all could be done if those efforts fail). We’re told said hardware is original to the Dodge. The carburetor was taken off years ago and rebuilt but never put back on. The wheels turn freely, so this should be an easy roller to load onto a transporter.

Hagerty tells us that the average resale value for a ’70 Challenger is about what the starting bid is for this car and can easily be double that based on condition and the addition of some muscle under the hood. The lack of said power, the non-running condition of the car, and the title situation may make this car a hard sell at what the son is hoping to get.


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  1. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    This is a dilemma with the controversy of it being original but titled as salvaged without the officially rebuilt “sign off”. With that is its location, a ways off the beaten path (once a GREAT road for a weekend through the Sierras/Wine Country). If the rebuild was done correctly would you want to keep it original or because it was salvaged could you beef it up some structurally and go Resto Mod?
    Either way it’s just as you said-the son may need to be patient for a buyer who’s willing to overlook it’s (unjustifiable?) premium price.
    Then again, we’ve seen some once very desirable machines that were all but destroyed by rust fetch silly money when sold so maybe…

    Like 5
  2. S

    It is not hard to re-install a carburetor on a engine. Why not do that before selling the vehicle? Just get it running so there are fewer question marks.

    Like 5
    • ed casala

      Just takes time, patience and a skill set. The owners son may not have enough of any of those at the moment. All he knows is he has a 70 challenger.

      • Steve R

        Flippers often make the claim they are selling a car for family members or friends so they can avoid paying registration and sales tax, while maintaining credibility with potential buyers.

        I’d never buy a car from a private party if the car wasn’t in their name, I have a several friends that have gone through hell with the DMV which has included significant unforeseen costs.

        Steve R

        Like 5
      • Dave

        Pennsylvania demands that both seller (whose name is on the title) and buyer both be present for the transaction. Unlike voting, government provided identification is required.
        That said…in 1997 I bought a car in South Carolina from a lady who happened to be a notary. Papers in hand, the DMV issued me a 30 day plate and the appropriate titling and registration documents. Back home, the process was free of drama. In 2001 I bought a Dakota from a dealer in Wheeling, West Virginia and it was drama-free. My son bought a minivan from a dealer in Ohio with similar results. Bottom line is, do your homework!

        Like 2
  3. cold340t

    Out with the 6cyl and in with a Hellcat/Demon drivetrain! $20k to restore a 6cyl? Really? Why?

    Like 2
  4. Ralph

    This is a plain Jane bare bones 1970 car. Lots of stuff needs to be addressed here, and you still have the title issue.
    With a wrecked/salvage title it is worth almost nothing to some folks.
    Would be looking this over with eyes wide open, if at all.
    I understand the love for the old 6 cyl. cars and appreciate those who go to the effort to restore/save them.
    If the asking price was 10K maybe would be worth looking over, but someone is asking big money for something not all that special.

    Like 3
  5. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    While you will see plenty of column shift Barracudas, you won’t see too many Challengers.

    Like 1
    • GLENN S

      I own a 32,000 mile 1972 Challenger Rallye 318 with auto column shift in Dark tan Met and white top/interior I bet is a 1 of 1 car

      Like 1
  6. MikeB

    Nothing special about this car. Certainly not worth the money or time to restore. Might be a good parts car but that’s about all. 6 cly. Pony cars were never sought after and still aren’t IMHO of course.

    Like 3
    • GLENN S

      That landau top is very unusual, a friend sent me a photo of one once and I thought it was not original. I have never seen this listed on a Challenger, only full vinyl tops. Anyone have an info on that option?

      • MikeB

        Not a factory option. The SE package included the small window full vinyl roof. This is after market.

        Like 1
    • Curt Lemay

      Oh, I don’t know about that. Seems to me something like almost 20% of Challengers were sixes. They were a nice car, but with a six, you would be better off with a Duster/Demon as they weighed about 100# less due to the heavy front end used in the pony car to easier fit an optional big block. Of course, the pony cars were prettier, though the Duster was pretty nice too, and a lot cheaper up front. Also easier to get in and out of as they sat a bit higher.

      Like 2
  7. JB

    Cold340 where do you get that baloney $20,000 to restore a 6 cylinder???? Thats just ridiculously dumb!

    Like 2
  8. GLENN S

    Actually re; Pennsylvania often wrong; the sellers name must be notorized and the buyers name can be notorized in his state, I know you will argue, but I did it once> I bought a car in NJ, guy neglected to tell me he had a PA title and mailed it to me, NY DMV let me get my signatue notorized in the bank nearby and it all went though> PA needs to handle it’s DMV not mom and pop tag stores, I got 3 different answers from 3 different places once with 3 different prices for services once. I know you will argue, but I have checked and double checked this fact. If the car is not being registered in PA they can’t force you to have the buyer sign in PA.

    Like 1
    • Charles Sawka

      California DMV can be a nightmare. Depends on where you go.

    • Dave

      Nothing to argue about. In 1979 I bought a car that had an unsigned Virginia title from a neighborhood garage. That’s when I learned Pennsylvania’s rules had changed since the previous time I’d bought a used car. Bottom line is do your homework before you buy.

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