Go Man-go: 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T 440 Coupe

  • November 12, 2020
Why We Like It

From the family that popularized the hemispherical combustion chamber and exploited what power could be had, the Dodge Challenger was the pony muscle car that was late to the game, but well worth the wait. Introduced in the fall of 1969, the Challenger offered buyers a sportier, smaller alternative to the hefty Charger with more upscale amenities than the sister Plymouth Barracuda. While Mustang and Camaro largely commanded the pony car wars, Challenger gave people something to think about and, again, was often seen as a more upscale offering than the Ford or Chevrolet.

go-man-go-1970-dodge-challenger-r-t-440-coupe00l0l l5xuz6nKach 0CI0t2 1200x900Pretty much anything under the sun could be had in a Challenger – 8-track AM stereo system, center console, bucket seats, air conditioning, power windows, power steering, power disc brakes, sunroof, and an absolute ocean of paint and striping combinations were on offer. Engines ranged from a 225 ci “Slant Six” up to the whopping 440 ci V8 with three two barrel carburetors, or “Six Pack” in Dodge speak (“Six Barrel” in Plymouth parlance), and for those with the coin and patience to keep it tuned, the 426 ci “Hemi” Elephant Engine was also an option, offering 425 hp. Normally only happy when it was running flat out, though, the 426 wasn’t really a friendly driver’s engine – the best of the bunch for punch and daily driver friendliness was the 375 hp U-Code 440 ci Magnum V8 with a single 4-barrel carburetor like this one.

Listed as an all-numbers matching Challenger with original parts, this 1970 R/T 440 looks to be the cat’s meow with the single Holley 4-barrel carburetor and 3-speed automatic transmission and center console-mounted Slap Stik shifter. Under the hood, the scene looks very original, with the correct orange painted engine and black air cleaner element with “440 Magnum” frisbee. No frills or aluminum or chrome, just stock, the way it came from Hamtramck, Michigan assembly plant. The differential is packed with 3.55 gears, providing plenty of launch power, but likely limits highway speeds. Painted in Go Mango Orange with a black vinyl top and interior, the car presents stunningly well, the orange grabbing attention tempered by the black. Inside, this Challenger is equipped with the proper black vinyl upholstery and wood applique and correct gauge cluster and sport steering wheel. Rolling on the original Rallye wheels and BF Goodrich white lettering tires that add to its aggressive, racy look. Advertised as having 29k miles, it’s very possibly true, although hard to believe – so many of these cars were driven hard only to meet untimely demises. But even a broken clock tells the correct time twice a day – maybe this really is one of the rare few that lived a charmed life, surviving well to its senior years.go-man-go-1970-dodge-challenger-r-t-440-coupe00606 aiqkTiigN5V 0CI0t2 1200x900

go-man-go-1970-dodge-challenger-r-t-440-coupe01515 tXcq5YvPKC 0CI0t2 1200x900When Chrysler unleashed the C300 in 1955, it really let the world know it was serious about performance. Backing the beautiful brute with later sister offerings such as the Plymouth Fury, DeSoto Adventurer, and Dodge D500 solidified the corporation’s intent to dominate the performance car scene. While they maintained their edge, competition got fierce through the 1960s, and the Chargers, Challengers, Road Runners, GTXs, Barracudas, and lesser known Darts and Valiants helped to reestablish the Chrysler Corporation as a true leader in racing engineering, and cars like this Challenger R/T 440 exemplify their tremendous efforts.

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For the past several years, Dodge and Plymouth have largely led the way for muscle car value scales with some ultra-rare models selling for over $3 million, which is absolutely mind-boggling considering they started life for no more than $5k. But rarity is king and many of these cars were one-of-ones with documentation to prove it, so Ferrari-style pricing ensues. In more recent years, however, pricing has been leveling out – the ultra-rare, highly-equipped examples still reflect staggering prices, but more pedestrian versions (can any muscle MoPar really be considered pedestrian?) sagging and leveling out to more reasonable points opening opportunities for the rest of us. Hagerty values a ’70 RT 440 at $87,600 for a #1 car and $60,800 for a #2, and even though the insurer is usually a bit optimistic on pricing for American muscle cars, we think the ask on this one is fair given its equipment level, stock appearance, low mileage, killer color, and condition.

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