Car Craft: 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T 383 Magnum

1970 Dodge Challenger R/T 383 Magnum Front

“Whoa!” That was pretty much the only sound that came out of Steve Stanley the first time he spotted his car-to-be.

Well, you shouldn’t be surprised by that.

Just how do you put into words the notion of being floored by a car’s awesome coolness?

See … sounds stupid, right?

Steve didn’t bother with words when he saw this 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T.

So please let me tell you the story about this Challenger:

Steve bought it last year from John Harai, the guy who built it back in time.

John bought the Challenger in late 1979 when it was in quite bad condition.

With the help of his brother, he resurrected it…

…boosting it using some of the best speed parts available at the time.

And it was the legendary painter Pete Santini who painted the stripes on this Challenger.

1970 Dodge Challenger R/T 383 Magnum Top

Just after he buys it, John puts the Challenger in his parents’ garage simply because he realized that it wouldn’t pass California’s tailpipe emissions tests.

And so it sat untouched for nearly a quarter century until a few years ago.

Current owner Steve Stanley picked up the story from there:

“I’d been looking for an E-Body and heard about the car from friends in the Mopars Unlimited club of Southern California. One of them took me to see it.” It was like looking through a portal back in time. The car was unable to run, but it was well preserved and intact. Steve quickly worked out a deal and bought the car on the spot.

Not many things needed to be done in order to make this Challenger to run:

A new gas tank and a carburetor rebuild.

Rebuilt wheel cylinders then made the car roadworthy.

Steve drives it, too.

“I take it out at least once a week,” he said. And he gets lots of positive responses from people. “It’s a great conversation starter,” he added.

It is a testament to one’s sense of style when you can build a car that still looks good 25 years later. Steve says he’s not going to change a thing about the Challenger after it was tuned, and he will be a fool if he did.

Steve’s 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T 383 Magnum Specs:

1970 Dodge Challenger R/T 383 Magnum Engine1

Whose: Steve Stanley
What: ’70 Dodge Challenger
Where: Costa Mesa, California

Engine: Pop the hood and you are going to see a 383 sporting 10.5:1 TRW pistons, a Crane cam (specs unknown), Mickey Thompson valve covers and Direct Connection valves and springs.

Intake: How could you go wrong with a 650 double-pumper on top of a Holley Street Dominator intake? Air cleaner looks like vintage Super Shops fare.

Exhaust: Hooker Headers were the trend in those days, and here they still are. They lead back to a dual exhaust system with Turbo mufflers.

Ignition: Stock

Transmission: Steve uses a Pistol Grip on a Hurst shifter to row the gears of the factory A833 four-speed.

Rearend: There’s an 83/4- inch rear out back, and it’s stuffed with 4.56:1 gears.

Suspension: The Challenger is occupied with the R/T package, so look for heavy-duty torsion bars and leaf springs under the car.

Brakes: StockWheels and tires: Centerline Autodrags and raised-white-letter BFGs pour on the nostalgia as deep as the wheels’ mirror finish. The combo is sized, 235/50-14, front, and 275/60-15, rear.

Paint and body: We don’t know who did the black basecoat, however,  we know that Pete Santini did the stripes, and regarding the paint … it looks as good today as it did in 1983.

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