autoevolution
Car video reviews:
 

Rare 1970 Dodge Challenger With Mysterious V8 Spent Decades in a Junkyard, Gets Saved

Introduced in 1970, the Dodge Challenger was a bit late to the muscle car party, yet it established itself as one of the hottest Mopars out there. And even though it was short-lived, being discontinued in 1974, the first-gen Challenger left a few highly desirable collectibles behind.
1970 Dodge Challenger R/T SE 6 photos
1970 Dodge Challenger R/T SE1970 Dodge Challenger R/T SE1970 Dodge Challenger R/T SE1970 Dodge Challenger R/T SE1970 Dodge Challenger R/T SE
Dodge sold almost 77,000 Challengers in 1970, so this model year isn't exactly rare overall. However, if we break it down to trim levels and engines, we get quite a few combinations that are hard to find more than 50 years later.

The Challenger T/A is one of those models with 2,399 units built, but HEMI-equipped cars are even rarer than that, with only 355 examples sold. The Convertible is a rare bird, too, as Dodge delivered only 1,078 of them. And get this, only nine came with the mighty HEMI V8 under the hood.

The R/T was the nameplate's range-topping model in 1970. Fitted with V8 engines exclusively, it was pretty popular with more than 13,000 examples sold. However, we also have the R/T SE, which was ordered by only 3,706 customers. Again, not impressively rare overall, but just 59 had the HEMI and only 296 were fitted with the 440-cubic-inch (7.2-liter) 3x2-barrel carburetor.

With many of them wrecked or left to rot in junkyards, the R/T SE is a 1970 Challenger many of us won't get to see in the metal too often. How many are still out there? Well, it's a number we'll never know, but here's a junked R/T SE that just got a second chance at life.

Rusty and missing a long list of parts, this rare Challenger spent a few good decades off the road. And by the looks of it, it was probably kept outside, fully exposed to the elements. It's not a pretty sight, but someone saw the potential in it and decided to take it home.

So how rare is this specific car? YouTube's "Heart of Texas Barn Finds and Classics" claims it's one 253 known to exist, but he doesn't say where that number comes from. And since we don't know what's under the hood, we can't really use the existing R/T SE database to narrow it down.

That figure is pretty close to the 296-unit production run of the 440 6bbl Challenger. On the flip side, it could be a 440 4bbl version (875 built) or even a 383-cubic-inch (6.3-liter) V8 car (2,476 built) narrowed down to a specific gearbox and color option.

Either way, the 1970 Challenger R/T SE is a rare classic regardless of what's under the hood, so this car is definitely worth a frame-off restoration. Yes, it will swallow a lot of cash, but it will also become a six-figure collectible once completed. And hopefully, we will see it back on the road soon. Until then, watch it get hauled from a field in the video below.

Video thumbnail


 
 
 
 
 

Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories