Back in the day, I was a dyed-in-the-wool Chevy nut. Starting back in 1974 when I was a 16-year-old, I bought my first musclecar: a '67 Camaro. It was a good deal with a factory 327 and an automatic transmission for only $650. At the time I was taking an auto mechanics class at Roosevelt High School in Seattle, Washington, and quickly went to work freshening up the 327 with new rings, bearings, and a valve job. From that first '67, several other Camaros would follow, as well as a '69 Stingray Corvette convertible. It would be the last Chevy musclecar I would own; I used the money from its sale to finance college.
After college, it was time for another musclecar. So in 1990, I purchased a '69 Charger with a 383. this was the car that gave me Mopar fever. But one musclecar was not enough, and I quickly began the search for another.
It all started in July 1992 with a visit to the local Mopar parts shop run by my friend, Steve Kruger. He had helped me get my first Mopar, the aforementioned Charger, up and running. As I walked into the Lancaster County Auto Parts shop, I saw Steve looking over the local Auto Locator. Always on the move for deals, he looks at me and points to an ad in the back of the weekly locator, saying, "You have got to get this car." Steve knew I was looking for another project car, and there in the ad section was a '70 Hemi Challenger R/T complete rolling body minus the drivetrain. He assured me this would be the best deal of my life. I was such a novice to the Mopar hobby that I didn't even know what a Challenger was. I took Steve's advice, along with his strict instructions on what to look for to verify it was indeed a true Hemi car. First on his list was to check the numbers on the cowl to see if they matched the numbers on the radiator support and VIN numbers on dash. Then I was to verify that the car had rear torque boxes, Hemi leaf springs, and, most important, a Hemi K-frame.
The car was located in Slatington, Pennysylvania, and was in the possession of a Mr. Paul McCartney, who had the car pulled out of a barn for the viewing. The E-Body was painted blue, but originally came from the factory in Go Mango orange. The car was a solid rolling body that required the usual restoration. Upon inspecting the car, I was able to identify the numbers on the dash as they matched the door. Initially, the numbers on the cowl and radiator support were not found. I took 150-grit sandpaper and kept sanding through the black cowl paint and into the factory orange, and after rubbing it down, the numbers became visible and matched. I was able to do the same thing to the radiator crossmember, finding the appropriate numbers. The car retained the original K-member along with the distinguishing features of a real Hemi car, including fenders, torque boxes, and front supports. After ensuring the car's authenticity, I had to negotiate the price.