Tales of a Muscle: Jim Dalton’s 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T

1970 dodge challenger r/t featured

As enthusiasts, from time to time we hear about somebody getting a nice example of Mopar iron from their father or their brother.

But Jim Dalton is probably the first person we’ve heard to receive a muscle machine from his sister!

The news that Dodge will go into the pony car wars with a new model called the Challenger was unleashed in the latter half of 1969, so Jim’s sister Barbara, decided to go to King Dodge in Portsmouth, Virginia, to order one.

Regardless for Barbara being young, 20 and something, she had already decided that this would be a high-class ride

…and she opted for both the R/T and SE packages on the order form.

1970 dodge challenger r/t se

The other brother, Clyde, who worked for Chrysler Financial in Norfolk, advised Barbara to pick the base 383 Magnum 4-bbl package as the engine option, the only R/T displacement below the insurance-increasing 400 cid.

Barbara did.

Decked out in PG8 Dark Green paint with the body stripe and scalloped hood, it was quite a looker around Hillsville, Virginia, after she brought it home in November of ’69.

Now Jim, who was youngest and just out of high school, started dreaming about owning Barbara’s Challenger so he starts bugging Barbara for the following 3 years to sell it to him. He went to work for Chrysler Financial himself in 1972, and in 1973.

Barbara made the decision to get herself a new Charger, so the 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T, having less than 30,000 miles on it, became Jim’s in May of that year.

For a couple of years, Jim’s wife, Debbie, who is a school teacher, drove this Challenger back and forth to work every day. As the odometer has topped, the car’s regular use took a toll on its appearance and driveline, and in 1998, Jim decided it actually was the right time to bring this family jewel back to factory specifications.

This Challenger had never been hit and was well cared since the day it rolled off the dealership lot, so the bodywork required on the 95,000-mile-plus classic was minimal since there was no rust and only the usual parking-lot dings.

When it comes to the Challenger’s exterior, Jim turned to Scott Winfield at The Paint Shop in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. After finishing the preparative bodywork, Winfield plied his trade on the car applying fresh coats of PG8 paint and a stripe package from Dale Teul. A new green vinyl top and NOS-grade emblems round out the outside package.

What’s unique in this 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T is the Special Edition option…

1970 dodge challenger r/t

…where the buyer got a chrome trim on the doors, hood, and fenders, a smaller rear window than offered on the standard model and the aforementioned vinyl roof.

With this option came an overhead console and leather front bucket seats (the rear seat was vinyl).

The special interior was in a need of reworking so it was redone using pieces from Year One. In keeping with the period restoration, Jim left the AM/8-track radio and factory stereo options in place.

Meanwhile, Jim’s friend Dale Freeman, who happened to be mechanic by trade, rebuilt the driveline.

The 335hp 383 was popped out by .030 and fitted with new 9.5:1 stock replacement TRW pistons.

Other than a Mopar Performance electronic ignition kit and a Carter AVS carb that replaced the original Holley four-barrel, it is basically as it came from the factory in 1969.

The cherry on the top are the air conditioning, the 727 Torqueflite and the 3.23 ring in the 83/4 SureGrip differential.

The Challenger was completely resurrected by Jim in 1999 so today it sees limited exposure on the Mopar show circuit. It’s because Jim doesn’t need it as a daily driver or something.

You see:

He works at Smith Stokes Chrysler Plymouth in Reidsville, North Carolina, one of the more performance-oriented dealerships alive today, so he gets to enjoy both the old and the new.

The question that bothers us is if Barbara is bugging him to buy the car back now.

Source: HotRod

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