In the late 1960’s Ford and Chevy were dominating the SCCA Trans Am Racing Series. Chevy with the Camaro Z/28, and Ford with the Boss 302 Mustang. Chevy took the Championships in 1968, and 1969. Now, unless you had a car in Trans Am Racing, you weren't seen as a “worthy performance product”.
With the cars Chrysler already had, they thought NASCAR was going to be enough, and they couldn’t perform in two divisions at 100%. Trans Am racing needed a shorter body, and a better handling car. Something that the Charger and Roadrunner couldn't provide.
So in 1970 Chrysler dramatically changed the Plymouth Barracuda to the E-Body styling, and Dodge Challenger’s were created. They both had long hoods, short decks, high fenders in back, low fenders in front. The versions used in racing were the Plymouth `Cuda AAR, and the Dodge Challenger T/A. They both came equipped with the 340 ci Six Pack engine, producing 290 horsepower. As you can see that’s not a big engine. The E-Bodies were built for handling, not drag racing. They had front and rear sway bars, bigger brakes, and a great weight balance. Not only was the performance present, but the cars came with real working hood scoop’s, side exhaust tips, and the `Cuda had a dashed racing stripe.
Dan Gernie and the All American Racing Team, were the brave souls to jump behind the wheel of one of these legendary E-Bodies. However Mopar started way to late, for the series was almost over, and higher insurance pulled Chevy, Ford, and Mopar out of Trans AM Racing. Therefore the T/A, and AAR were one year wonders. However there are rumors that Dodge was going to produce the T/A for 1971, but that never happened.
The “street rod” version of the car had awesome dual front headlights set back with the grille. The rear lights were all the way across the back with the silver “Dodge” letters in the middle. Most (if not all) Challengers had dual exhaust, chrome mirrors, chrome bumpers. The challenger was offered in eight different packages:
Challenger Deputy. This package was the standard low price version of the Challenger. It was introduced in March 1970. The rear quarter windows were fixed in place, by bolting the track, and replacing the winder with a chrome cap. The standard engine was a 198 slant 6 with a 225 slant 6, 318 V8, and a 383V8 optional. The seats were from the Barracuda, in black or white only. The steering wheel was the coachman grain like the Barracuda. Dual horns, cigar lighter, and night/day mirror were optional.
SE two door hardtop. This package was offered with the "Power Bulge" hood. The only other hood offered in 1970 was the "Shaker". The power bulge hood had sealed scoops so this did now make any extra horsepower. Another accessory to the SE were the rubber bumper guards. Also, this car came with the Polyglass tires, and Vinyl top which were standard on all cars in 1970. An interior option that was standard on the SE's was the overhead console that has door ajar, low fuel, and seatbelt indicators. Under the hood this car was equipped with a 383 2 bbl, Mopar V8.
R/T Hardtop. This package was the performance version. It came with a standard 383 big block. The 426, and 440 engines were optional only on the R/T. All R/T's came with power bulge hoods with pins. There was an optional Shaker hood witch let the intake stick out through the hood. A shortage of shaker scoops meant that some R/Ts (2 known) were fitted with the T/A fiberglass hood.
T/A two door hardtop. The T/A was available from March to May of 1970. It came standard with a rear spoiler, front spoiler ("chin"), side exhaust, 15" wheels, four speed box, and 340 engine. With an optional quick ratio steering. The T/A model had a fiberglass hood with a large air intake molded into it, which fed directly into the engine.
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Info from Horsepower TV, The Dodge Challenger Page, and more. If you find something that is your and want credit please e-mail me.