Garage Find:

1970 Dodge Challenger R/T
440 Magnum!

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The 1970/71 Dodge Challenger and its brother from another mother, the 1970/'71 Plymouth Barracuda -- also known as MoPar's fabulous E-Bodies -- are worthy contenders for the crown of Most Beautiful Muscle Car of All Time .

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Needless to say, finding an unrestored E-Body survivor today, almost half a Century after it was built, seems almost impossible. We got lucky - meet our original Plum Crazy '70 Challenger R/T 440 Magnum.

Found in a Central California garage, this MoPar is a true California car with only 88,788 miles -- believed to be original -- on the clock.
The car starts, runs and drives amazingly well.

Built in December 1969 at the Dodge main plant in Hamtramck, Michigan, one of only 1,886 R/T Coupes built for the 1970 model year featuring the 375hp 440 Magnum engine and Torqueflite automatic transmission, VIN *JS23U0B219454* is a dream car, one that must rate very high on any red-blooded American male's "Most Wanted" list.

Not a stripped down muscle machine by any means, the Challenger is fairly loaded with options! We decoded the fender tag (still installed in its original location) and came up with the lengthy list above.

Above left: page from local Auto Trader mag dated August 12, 1988 featuring the Challenger for sale - - asking price was a measly $5,200.00! Color was described as "krazy purple."
Above right: fender tag codes and mileage log.

Factory books, manuals and a bunch of service records from back in the day accompany the car.

It even comes with the old, small California pink slip (title). E-body's last caretaker -- from Goleta, Calif. -- owned the car for 30 years and drove it sparingly.

Under the hood lives the fire breathing 440 Magnum engine (block is NOM) delivering 375 proud Detroit horses via a Slap-Stick shifted 727 TF to the 8-3/4 rear. Oh yeah! Once the big block comes alive, accompanied by the whine of MoPar's gear reduction starter, all hell breaks loose. Nothing beats the sound of a healthy Chrysler Corp. muscle machine!

Challenger's coachwork looks straight and true. Equipped with the iconic Magnum 500 road wheels, car's stance is picture perfect.

Gator grain vinyl top has not aged gracefully, surely adds to the "barn find" look.

Plum Crazy -- factory code FC7 -- paint, arguably the most popular and desirable choice of all the eyecatching Pentastar offerings for 1970, shows its age. Finish is old, very old, with plenty of crazing, dulling and other signs of a life well lived, but there are no visible rust bubbles, dents, or signs of any prior accident damage. Personally, we'd enjoy the car just as it presents itself today.

Inside, all is well.

Miraculously, the dash remains un-cracked. Note Rallye instrument cluster and A/C controls. The A/C is fully hooked up but has not been used in many years. Car also features its original AM stereo radio.

Front bucket seats are in good condition. Check out the center console with Slap Stik shifter.

The Challenger R/T (for "road and track") is a sports car that seats five. Neat!

Intact tail lights, dual exhaust trumpets, old California vanity plate. What's there not to like?

Trunk looks clean and tidy.

Under the trunk mat, it's all factory sheet metal.

Compared to its Mid-West or East Coast brethren, Challenger's undercarriage looks excellent. Not known for thorough corrosion proofing, most of the surviving '70s have needed -- or still need -- extensive rust repair. Not so this California example. Yes, it's unrestored, but it's super solid and you won't have to worry about having to replace acres of sheet metal.

It's an oldie but a goodie.

Friday, January 28th was another sunny day in Ventura and we were looking forward to our test drive and photo session.

From the moment you fire up the big block motor, you are experiencing a fun time. The car idles, runs, drives, handles and stops with aplomb. Fitted with power brakes and power steering, it's easy to maneuver, even on tight city streets. Open 'er up a little and you are in for a surprise: this '70 is fast, very fast, indeed. Car does not rattle or squeak and displays no unpleasant habits at all. Lights and gauges work.

Comparing this happening to any "plastic car" of the third Millennium, you can't help but feel sorry for the kids who have never experienced unadulterated, classic Detroit muscle. For sheer enjoyment and confidence behind the wheel, the Challenger is virtually unbeatable!

Perhaps the epitome of coke-bottle styling, the '70 Challenger holds a special place in the collector car universe. Finding a nice, unrestored U-code 440 Magnum specimen that can be used right away is quite unusual today. This R/T can be driven proudly in all its barn find glory, or use it as a blank canvas and re-do it cosmetically, as desired, if and when you'll feel like it. Either way, this one's a winner!

We sold this '70 Challenger late in 2018.

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