1970 Dodge Challenger R/T – Go Mango Goodness
George Lawrence’s 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T is a well-preserved piece of muscle car history. As you may or may not no, the Dodge Boys came late to the pony car wars. As the Ford Mustang and Chevy Camaro duked it out in the late-’60s (with Plymouth occasionally throwing a punch with its Barracuda), Dodge’s performance offerings were limited to larger platforms like the Charger and Super Bee, or the compact and boxy Dart. It wasn’t until 1970 that the brand fielded a true midsize long-hood, short-deck pony car, the Dodge Challenger.
Though late to the fray, the Challenger was a strong contender, with crisp styling and Dodge’s full range of engine options, up to and including the mighty 425hp 426c.i. Hemi. The platform proved competitive on the street, strip and even road courses, and a white 440-powered Challenger R/T even found silver screen glory in the cult classic film “Vanishing Point.” The model peaked early, though, as changes and challenges to the overall performance automotive market resulted in declining sales and performance before the Challenger bowed out of Dodge’s lineup in 1975.
Beyond its obvious appeal, this Challenger was also extremely well-documented, with paperwork tracing it back to its original owner, a Connecticut state trooper, and comprehensive coverage of its award-winning restoration at Blue Star Performance. The restoration team was almost maniacal about using NOS parts when the original pieces were missing, right down to a 1970-vintage paper air filter and NOS (not reproduction) Goodyear Polyglas tires on the 15-inch Rallye wheels.
The inside is just as correct, from the black vinyl bucket seats, to the original radio, to the Rallye gauges in their woodgrain dash panel. It’s like climbing into a time capsule.