Dodge Challenger Hemi R/T

The first generation Dodge Challenger was a pony car built from 1970 to 1974, using the Chrysler E platform and sharing major components with the Plymouth Barracuda.

The Challenger's longer wheelbase, larger dimensions and more luxurious interior were prompted by the launch of the 1967 Mercury Cougar, likewise a bigger, more luxurious and more expensive pony car aimed at affluent young American buyers. The wheelbase, at 110 inches, was two inches longer than the Barracuda, and the Dodge differed substantially from the Plymouth in its outer sheetmetal, much as the Cougar differed from the shorter-wheelbase Ford Mustang. A/C and a rear window defogger were optional.

Exterior design was done by Carl Cameron, who also did the exterior for the 1966 Dodge Charger. Cameron based the 1970 Challenger grille off an older sketch of his 1966 Charger prototype that was to have a turbine engine. The Charger never got the turbine, but the Challenger got that car's grille. Although the Challenger was well-received by the public, it was criticized by the press, and the pony car segment was already declining by the time the Challenger arrived. Sales fell dramatically after 1970, and though sales rose for the 1973 model year with over 27,800 cars being sold, Challenger production ceased midway through the 1974 model year. 165,437 Challengers were sold over this model's lifespan.

The performance model was the R/T (Road/Track), with a 383 CID Magnum V8, rated at 335 bhp. The standard transmission was a 3-speed manual. Optional R/T engines were the 375 bhp 440 cu in (7.2 L) Magnum, the 390 bhp 440 CID Six-Pack and the 425 bhp 426 cu in (7.0 L) Hemi. The R/T was available in either the hardtop or convertible.

Sources: Mecum Auctions; Wikipeida, 2012

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