Fast Facts: '70 Dodge Challenger R/T
Gary Sigel * Millersville, PA
Engine: The original 426 block was yanked by Russell Harris (third owner), who blew it in an unfortunate street race. Fourth owner, Tom Lillis, would swap out the wounded elephant with a 273 and sell the Challenger to Richard Dobbins. The engine would vanish from the map, making current owner Gary Sigel have to purchase a correctly date-coded block from a private collector. The engine would be built and rebuilt three times before Ray Barton Racing Engines would finally get the Hemi built correctly. Working their magic, the engine would return to Gary's garage, making well over the once-advertised 425 net horsepower.
Transmission: It's not very often that a 426 Hemi was ordered with a 727 TorqueFlite. Though it's believed those who did order the combination knew exactly what they were doing since the three-speed automatic was the strongest factory gear box available on the market. Gary had the TorqueFlite rebuilt and restored once it was hand-delivered by previous owner Tom Lillis just a short time before the Challenger was ready to be debuted at the 2005 Carlisle show.
Rearend: As was mandatory with the Track Pack option, the Dana 60 came with a Sure Grip mated to a set of 4.10 gears. One of the strongest and most reliable rearends around, the Dana 60 is still the standard today.
Horsepower & Performance: Ray Barton's dyno racked up some pretty impressive numbers-the Hemi knocked out 590 hp even using nearly all stock equipment.
Suspension: Regardless of the roof, be it convertible or hard top, any car equipped with a Hemi came with the factory torque boxes to try to keep the subframes from twisting the body into a pretzel. Besides that, factory leaf springs, torsion bars, and shocks fill the bill.
Brakes: Along with the heavy-duty suspension and titanic Dana 60 rearend, the Track Pack also included front power-disc brakes, which were a necessity when it came to stopping the nose-heavy Challenger when it packed the 426 beneath its hood.
Wheels: 15-inch Rallyes with factory beauty rings and center caps. This is a restoration, so Gary wanted to keep the look right, and we don't blame him.
Rubber: BFGoodrich replacements.
Body: in reasonably good condition, only minor repairs were needed to return the Challenger back to its former glory. Some wear and tear and other rough modifications were made during the Challenger's more formative years as a race car, including the installation of a tachometer on the hood, cuts in the shock towers for header-bolt access, and a repaint to blue over the factory Go Mango orange.
Paint: Over 25 years ago, the Challenger was sold to Richard Dobbins, who covered the original EK2 orange with a dark blue. Gary wouldn't have any of that, so the car was put on a rotisserie by Brooks Auto Restoration in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to be returned back to the factory Go Mango orange with the appropriate white side stripes.
Interior: From the factory, the E-Body was ordered with an AM radio master unit with rear speakers, and it still retains all that sound equipment. Legendary provided the carpet, headliner, and seat covers, which were pulled and replaced by Gary. A Rim-Blo wheel was the fanciest interior option, as the wood grain inserts were not available until later that year.