At Magnum HP, the Challenger was lowered onto the assembled engine on the K-member. With a
The fantasies of children are things of fancy and imagination. Many want to rocket deep into space or travel the earth in futuristic jet airplanes faster than the speed of sound or rush into burning buildings as daring firemen. And others just want to go fast. That's what Mike Ciaravino wanted as he would watch his neighbor's white '70 Dodge Challenger drive down the streets of Brooklyn, New York, during the hot summer days of 1972. That Challenger became the object of 8-year-old Mike's desire. Mike's dream of owning that Challenger never waned.
After thirty years of saving, Mike began to scour the nation for his long-awaited dream Challenger. After an exhaustive three-month search, Mike found what he considered the One-a white-on-white '70 Challenger convertible. The Dodge was a rust-free California car. But the location was a problem as one hurdle after another appeared in front of him. In order for Mike to drive the car the 3,000 miles back to New York, he needed to have the car's registration along with new plates and insurance. Yet, in order to obtain all these things, Mike needed to own the car before he could register it. As a savvy enthusiast, Mike knew there was no way he was sending money to California before he could even see the car in person. The signal flares should have shot up when the owner happily agreed to help Mike in his plight by simply forwarding him the title and registration without receiving a single penny for the transaction. Most owners of E-Bodies aren't so prone to simply sign away their cars before they collect a payment. With a seller too eager to rid himself of the car and a buyer too infatuated with the idea of finally owning his own Challenger, the deal happened quickly and messily. Thinking that the Challenger in California was just as nice as the Challenger in his childhood memories, Mike packed up both of his young boys, Michael and Anthony, his wife, and his father for the 3,000-plus-mile road trip home in a 30-year-old musclecar.
The owner arrived with the Challenger ready for the exchange at the airport hotel. The convertible was far less than what Mike had hoped for. The car required significant cosmetic care, and, as the family vacation across the nation would reveal, mechanical work as well. Mike's family packed up inside the tiny E-Body and headed east. Stopping at several scenic landmarks,such as Las Vegas, the Hoover Dam, and the Grand Canyon, Mike tried to make the most of the trek. Amazingly, Mike's wife patiently rode out the brunt of the trip on the center hump between the back seats!
The engine was scavenged from a B-Body and fitted with parts from TRW, Crane, Edelbrock, C
Limping the worn and weathered Challenger home, Mike had a chance encounter with Greg Zeneski of Magnum HP. Greg has an intimate knowledge of making stock Mopars a little bit meaner. Mike knew he wanted to keep the 3.23 gears, but he also wanted a low-to-mid-12-second contender. A 440 RB was built for the convertible with TRW pistons, a high-volume oil pump, Edelbrock heads, and a 770 Holley Street Avenger carburetor. The suspension required work, and an A-Body front disc brakes and a MP master cylinder were added. Dynamic was the brand used for everything transmission related with their 911/42-inch converter, shift improver kit, and a B&M shifter.
When it came to cosmetics, Mike gave up his dream to keep the Challenger white and went with a color match to a '00 Chrysler Prowler's Orange Pearl. Automat, in Hicksville, New York, installed a new convertible top, black interior featuring Recaro seats coated in custom leather, and tinted windows. A custom aluminum gauge cluster was designed specifically for the Challenger and was installed by Greg at Magnum HP along with all the mechanicals.
It might look stock at first glance, but this interior with Recaro seats and custom dash c
Before the restification began, Mike enjoyed his Challenger. He enjoys it even more now, b
Since that time, the car has been shown and driven as much as possible, taking first place at the Atlantic Nationals in Englishtown, New Jersey. Then second place at Chryslers at Carlisle the same year. The Challenger brings in the awards wherever they take it, but nothing as memorable as that grueling long-distance run across America with his family.