But when you speak about the literate segment of society…
…they are both clearly different, but equally heroic endeavors.
In NHRA Super Stock, the Big Three dumped absurd amount of money to build factory ringers for bragging rights and bragging rights alone.
The result from this is some cool stuff like 9,000-rpm hydraulic roller small-blocks that run 9-second e.t.’s.
By contrast, “super stalk” describes one man’s quest to chase down the exact same car for 30 years before finally convincing the owner to put it up for sale.
The inspiration of such an obsession could come only from a super unique car.
Brook Niemi’s 1970 Dodge Hemi Challenger R/T is such a car.
Its story proves that!
Even though people enjoy reminiscing about how everything was better in the era of the muscle car…
…they hardly ever discuss that in the same time, it was the era when real car guys worked at car dealerships.
Imagine the luxury of purchasing the Mopar of your dreams and all that boosted with an employee discount.
Throw in a savvy employee’s knowledge of all the obscure option codes offered by Chrysler, and the result is the Brook’s Challenger.
“The original owner was a Dodge salesman in Great Falls, Montana, who ordered it as a company car,” Brook explains. “The dealership didn’t allow optioning company cars with Hemis or Six Pack induction systems, so he ordered it up with the R/T package, 440 big-block, a four-barrel carb, an A833 four-speed, and a Dana 60 rearend. Once the car arrived, he swapped out the four-barrel carb and the stock hood for a Six Pack and a factory T/A hood. The car was also outfitted with the Special Edition package, which included a smaller back window, four-point seatbelts, and a console in the headliner.”
Couple of years later, the unique E-Body managed to move on to its second owner, which is when Brook first saw it and fell head over heels.
“During high school in the late ’70s, the machine shop I was working at built a 500ci Six Pack engine for the Challenger. At that time it was painted white and built to look like the car from Vanishing Point,” he recalls. “I have such vivid memories of the owner pulling wheelies with the car in the parking lot. From that day forward, I always kept up with the car. The third owner purchased the car in the early ’80s and never drove it much.”
I have such vivid memories of the owner pulling wheelies with the car in the parking lot. From that day forward, I always kept up with the car. – Brook Niemi
The bad news:
The Challenger’s third owner appeared to appreciate it more for its collectability than its Chevy-stomping potential.
However, the good news:
This same lack of use kept the car in perfect condition.
“From the early ’80s to 2005, the car sat in storage. The owner at the time liked that the Challenger was one of less than 150 built with a 440 and a four-speed, but his real passion was for ’60s-era cars,” Brook says. “He planned on restoring the car back to stock someday, but he eventually had a change of heart and decided to sell it to help fund other projects. He had been sitting on my contact information for years, so as soon as I got the call that the car was available, I picked it up immediately.”
…as soon as I got the call that the car was available, I picked it up immediately. – Brook Niemi
Throughout its exciting history, this fine Mopar specimen had tracked only 54,000 original miles.
However, the 30-year-old paint had seen better days, so Brook stripped the car down, repainted it, and dropped the original 440 back in it.
While the crew at Kindig-It Design tackled the paint and bodywork, the car uncovered just one more of its interesting secrets.
“The paint code indicated that the car was originally Sublime Green. Since that made it even rarer, the shop tried to talk me into painting it the original OE color,” Brook recalls. “I understood the reasoning behind it, but in my mind the car had to be white because that’s the color it was when I first saw it as a kid. I always remembered it as a Vanishing Point tribute car, so that’s how I planned on restoring it.”
By sticking with his guns, Brook manages to successfully recreate the car which was his childhood dream. Everything was good in his hood ’till a chance encounter with another Mopar triggered an avalanche of changes.
“I was sitting at a stoplight one day when a Sublime Green Challenger R/T with a 426 Hemi pulled up behind me. It looked so good that even though I had just finished painting my car white, I decided at that moment that I had to repaint it green,” Brook says. On one side, stripping the car back down just to repaint it looked to be an awful lot of work, and Brook was drawn to modernize the powertrain, brakes and suspension. On the flip side, he had some concerns about throwing a bunch of non-original parts on such a rare piece of Mopar history. Finally, the itchiness to create something truly unique prevailed.
I was sitting at a stoplight one day when a Sublime Green Challenger R/T with a 426 Hemi pulled up behind me. … I decided at that moment that I had to repaint it green…
Looking for modern levels of power, driveability, handling, braking and comfort in a 40-year-old chassis demanded a significant renovation of all of the major mechanical hardware.
Granted, a stock 440 provides plenty of scoot by most standards, but Brook wanted more power.
Like three times more power.
He decided that the best approach of completing this without boosting mass was to change the big-block for a supercharged, all-aluminum Gen III Hemi. Absolute Performance (Sandy, Utah) welcomed the challenge and schemed up the perfect combination for Brook’s needs.
This setup is based on an aftermarket aluminum block that’s been bored to 4.125 inches and fitted with a Callies forged 4.000-inch crankshaft, Oliver steel rods, and custom Wiseco 9.5:1 forged pistons. An Edelbrock E-Force supercharger pressurizes air molecules into a set of Thitek aluminum cylinder heads, and custom Arrow Lane headers evacuate the cylinders.
426 ci of Gen III Hemi that is throwing out over 1,000 hp and 1,100 lb-ft of torque.
Brook wanted an easier freeway cruising, so he replaced the A833 trans for a Tremec TKO 600 five-speed, which feeds torque to a Strange S60 rearend.
Needless to say, all those horsepowers alone are meaningless if it all goes up in smoke, so Brook entirely overhauled the chassis with Reilly Motorsports hardware. The stock suspension up front has been replaced with an RMS K-member, sway bar, control arms and coilovers.
Out back, the factory leaf springs got yanked for an RMS four-link system. Monster Wilwood disc brakes convert the forward inertia into heat, while 18-inch EVOD wheels wrapped in Nitto rubber plant the lateral and longitudinal loads to the pavement.
Certainly, some collectors won’t take too kindly to throwing a late-model EFI motor along with modern suspension and brakes at a super rare Challenger with only 54,000 original miles
However, from the car’s original interior to its stock body and paint, Brook has gone to great lengths to retain the essence of what the Challenger looked like when it rolled into the dealer lot in 1970.
“Sure, I had some reservations about putting a bunch of modern parts on this car, but I’ve put the original engine, rearend, K-member, and suspension into safe storage. I can swap all the original parts back in very easily,” he explains.
After all, it’s unnecessary for Brook to explain himself to anyone.
He patiently stalked his favorite prey for 30 years, so he really earned the right to do whatever he wants, period correctness be damned.
Regardless of how absolutely badass Brook’s 1,000hp Challenger may be…
…its cool factor still takes a backseat to the incredible story behind it.
Lusting over the same Challenger for three decades, and then transforming it into the ultimate E-Body, could simply be the most rewarding car building experience of all time.
As the saying goes, you can’t make this stuff up.
Few Facts About Ths 1970 Dodge Hemi Challenger R/T
Type: Chrysler Gen III Hemi small-block
Block: Mopar Performance aluminum bored to 4.125 inches
Oiling: Melling oil pump, Milodon pan
Rotating assembly: Callies 4.000-inch steel crank, Oliver rods, Wiseco 9.5:1 pistons
Cylinder heads: CNC-ported Thitek aluminum castings
Camshaft: custom Arrow Racing hydraulic roller (specs classified)
Valvetrain: COMP Cams valvesprings, Smith pushrod
Induction: Edelbrock E-Force supercharger and throttle-body
Exhaust: custom Arrow Lane headers, custom X-pipe, dual 3-inch MagnaFlow mufflers
Cooling system: C&R Racing radiator, Spal electric fans
Output: 1,004 hp at 6,200 rpm and 1,109 lb-ft at 4,800 rpm
Transmission: Tremec TKO 600 five-speed manual, Centerforce clutch, Hurst shifter
Rear axle: Strange S60 rearend with 35-spline axles, 3.54:1 gears, and limited-slip differential
Front suspension: Reilly Motorsports K-member, control arms, coilovers, steering rack, and sway bar
Rear suspension: Reilly Motorsports four-link, Panhard bar, coilovers, and sway bar
Brakes: Wilwood 14-inch discs and six-piston calipers, front; Wilwood 12-inch discs and four-piston calipers, rear
Wheels & Tires
Wheels: EVOD Challenge 18×9.5, front; 18×10.5, rear
Tires: Nitto NT05 275/35ZR18, front; 295/35ZR18, rear