1970 Dodge Challenger T/A Pampered for 46 Years Is All-Original and Unrestored

In the mid-1960s, Dodge stepped into the muscle car market with notable models like the Charger and Coronet. However, it wasn’t until 1970 that Dodge presented a worthy rival to the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro. The Challenger made its grand entrance alongside the third-generation Plymouth Barracuda.

Though the Challenger arrived relatively late to the muscle car party, the two years it spent on the market before high-performance V8 engines became less prevalent were enough to solidify its legendary status. As we move into 2022, the 1970 and 1971 Challengers are highly sought-after classics from the golden era of muscle cars.

Among the various Challenger versions, the HEMI variant stands out, attracting considerable attention and commanding substantial prices at public auctions. Its popularity is not solely due to being the most powerful Challenger, boasting an impressive 425 horsepower, but also because it is exceptionally rare. In 1970, Dodge sold a mere 356 units of the HEMI Challenger.

Equipped with a 440 engine, these Challengers are also hard to come by. While 2,035 of them were built for the 1970 model year, many have been lost over time, making unrestored and unmolested examples both scarce and expensive.

However, there’s a third 1970 Challenger version that deserves recognition, the T/A (Trans Am). It was a one-year wonder, designed to homologate the Challenger for the Trans Am racing series. Though lacking the big-block V8 like the 440, the T/A offers several unique features. Dodge produced only 2,399 units of this model, making it just as rare as the 440-equipped version.

Among the surviving T/A models, the DY3 Cream example stands out as one of the finest unrestored specimens. The current owner acquired the car in 1976 when it was already in excellent condition, with a mere 46,000 miles (74,030 km) on the odometer. Since then, the owner has meticulously cared for it, driving it only 18,000 miles (28,968 km) over 46 years. This translates to an average of just 391 miles (629 km) per year, solidifying its status as a cherished garage queen.

The T/A’s originality is astonishing. The factory paint remains gorgeous, displaying only minor chips and a touch of patina, while the car remains in its pristine, original condition, from bumper to bumper. Even the 340-cubic-inch (5.6-liter) V8 engine and the four-speed manual gearbox are untouched. It’s this level of preservation that makes the T/A a rare gem, with only 989 of them ever built.

For those unfamiliar with the T/A, it boasts a distinctive black fiberglass hood with a large air scoop, side-exiting exhaust pipes, and a heavy-duty suspension. Moreover, it was one of the first muscle cars to feature different-sized tires in the front and rear.

While the Challenger T/A failed to secure any victories in the 1970 Trans Am championship, it managed to achieve three podium finishes. The season was dominated by the Ford Mustang, with Dodge finishing in the fourth position behind Ford, AMC, and Chevrolet. As a road car, the T/A served as Dodge’s alternative to the Ford Mustang Boss 302 and the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.

 

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