1970 Dodge Challenger Classic Review Nov 30, 2016 by Cedric (Driver Weekly)
If you can get your hands on one, the 1970 Dodge Challenger is a worthy addition to any collection. Not only can you see the styling cues still found on the current model, but this year was when the Challenger entered the ring to compete with other muscle cars. The 1970 Challenger is the first generation of this vehicle, making it historic and a popular model.
The original Dodge Challenger was available as a convertible or hardtop. Although it was based on the same platform as the Plymouth Barracuda, it had a longer wheelbase and larger dimensions. While the Challenger now competes (on paper) with the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro, at the time it was larger and more luxurious and intended to challenge the Mercury Cougar. The result was a muscular car with a long hood and austere lines. Carl Cameron, who also worked on the 1966 Dodge Charger, led the exterior design, explaining some common styling between the two vehicles. The straightforward style was revived in an exaggerated form in 2008.
Powertrains and Performance
As with the current Challengers, the 1970 version was known for its powerful performance and came with an impressive choice of engines. There was a 225 Slant-6 with 145 brake horsepower, a 440 V8, and a 426 Hemi with 425 brake horsepower, the last of which was reminiscent of a racecar. The available 440 V8 engine features a four-barrel Magnum that had 375 brake horsepower or a Six-Pack tri-carb with 390 brake horsepower. The V8 and the Hemi were both paired with a three-speed automatic TorqueFlite transmission in most cases, although you may find a four-speed manual transmission with a pistol-grip shifter, as well. The 1970 Challenger R/T had a 383 engine along with two hood scoops to help performance and style. The T/A had the 340 5.6-liter engine but a Six-Pack version with dual exhausts by the rear tires, an even larger hood scoop, and a heavy-duty suspension to enhance performance. This engine finished a quarter mile in around 14 seconds and had about 350 brake horsepower.
You may find a 1970 Challenger in either the base trim or the R/T version, which stands for Road/Track with the 383. In either case, finding a model with the SE Package will mean it has a smaller rear window and leather seats. There was also the T/A model, known as the TransAm, which was a street version. This model had different wheel sizes in the back and front; a rear ducktail spoiler; and the choice of side stripes, rear stripes, or no stripes. If you are interested in the Challenger T/A, then keep in mind that it was only available for 1970, so it will be even harder to find. If you are interested in driving a Dodge Challenger Coupe that is a classic, you will have to opt for the 1971 model year or later. This version was a basic vehicle with fewer features and was available with an I6 or a V8 engine.
The Dodge Challenger was discontinued in 1974. Critics were unenthusiastic about the new vehicle and the market for pony cars was on the verge of collapse at the time that the Dodge Challenger had arrived on the market. Low production numbers and legendary performance models mean that a genuine classic is now a prestigious collector’s car.