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Vitamin C 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T SE Flaunts Rare V-Code 440 V8

Introduced in late 1969, the Dodge Challenger was a bit late to the muscle car party. But that didn't stop it from becoming a legendary Mopar. The Challenger was quite popular in its first year on the market, moving almost 77,000 units. Far from rare as a whole, but this model year spawned a few configurations that are hard to come by and quite expensive nowadays.
1970 Dodge Challenger R/T SE 9 photos
Photo: Vanguard Motor Sales/YouTube
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 SE1970 Dodge Challenger R/T SE1970 Dodge Challenger R/T SE1970 Dodge Challenger R/T SE
The R/T is obviously the most desirable version of the 1970 Challenger. Short for "Road and Track," the performance package added a beefier suspension, a Rallye instrument cluster, heavy-duty brakes, and a choice of three stripe options. And, of course, the "R/T" badge also came with a selection of big-block V8 engines.

The 383-cubic-inch (6.3-liter) "Magnum" mill rated 335 horsepower was the base V8, but Dodge also offered a larger 440-cubic-inch (7.2-liter) RB good for 375 horsepower. The same engine came with 390 horsepower on tap in "Six Pack" trim, which means three two-barrel carburetors instead of the four-barrel setup. Finally, the 426-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) HEMI V8 topped the range with 425 horsepower.

Dodge sold 18,512 R/Ts in 1970. Most of them left the factory with 383 V8, the engine of choice for 12,281 customers. Next up is the 440 RB with 3,840 units, while the 440-6 moved 2,035 cars. The 426 HEMI wasn't that popular, though. Due to high insurance rates for high-performance vehicles, only 356 buyers went with the top-of-the-line V8. And that's precisely what makes golden-era HEMI Mopars rare today.

But while some of these figures are impressively low, they can be narrowed down even more if we factor in the Special Edition package. A 1970-only bundle, it included leather and vinyl bucket seats, a woodgrain steering wheel, a matching instrument panel, unique pedals, and a special lighting group with turn signal indicators mounted on the hood. Dodge sold almost 10,000 SE-equipped Challengers in 1970, but only 3,753 were also fitted with the R/T bundle.

About 2,500 of these cars got the 383-cubic-inch V8, while 875 came with the four-barrel 440 RB. As we move up the powertrain ladder, things become scarcer with only 296 440-6 cars and just 60 HEMIs. It doesn't get much rarer than this unless we're talking about R/T convertibles.

How many of these rare R/T SE cars are still around? Well, it's impossible to tell with accuracy, but most likely, fewer than 1,000 units are still running and driving today. The Vitamin C example you see here is one of those super-rare gems.

The result of a frame-off restoration, this 1970 Challenger, looks like it just left the assembly line. It comes with all the trim and features that define an R/T SE, and it also packs a rare engine under the hood. Specifically, this Mopar rocks a V-code 440 "Six Pack," so it's one of only 296 units made. What's more, the Torqueflite automatic transmission further narrows it down to one of only 161 produced. The Vitamin C likely moves it close to one-of-one territory, but that's tough to tell without access to a proper registry.

On the flip side, this isn't a numbers-matching muscle car. Unfortunately, the original 440 V8 got lost on the way, and the Challenger now relies on a replacement unit. But it's a period-correct mill, which is something I would be able to live with, given how rare these R/T SE rigs are. And while it's not a better option than the HEMI, it sounds just as fantastic when the pedal hits the floor. Check it out in the video below.

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About the author: Ciprian Florea
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Ask Ciprian about cars and he'll reveal an obsession with classics and an annoyance with modern design cues. Read his articles and you'll understand why his ideal SUV is the 1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer.
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