Fast Facts: Three '70 R/T 426 Hemi Dodge Challengers
Daniel Banker-Cocoa Beach, FL
Fred Gilmore-Sterling, KS
Lee Hofmann-Peoria, IL
Engine: Daniel and Lee's elephants are nearly identical, as Daniel recommended Vic Fera from Brevard Cylinder Heads located in Merritt Island, Florida, to build their respective plants. Daniel's block was all original and simply needed a thorough cleaning and freshening using Mopar Performance parts supplied from Mancini Racing and JE pistons. Lee's block was a date-correct 1969 casting that went through the same restoration process. Fred's Hemi used a N.O.S. block that was sent to Duane Saum of Saum Engineering in Wichita, Kansas. Fred's is the only one of the three that doesn't have a Shaker hoodscoop.
Transmission: All three run 727 TorqueFlite gearboxes restored to factory specs. Fred sent his to John Cope of Cope Racing Transmissions in Lowell, Indiana; Daniel and Lee had their transmissions reworked by Vic Fera, who rebuilt their engines at the same time. meant to be full restorations, you won't find crazy shift kits, high-stall torque converters, or reverse manual valvebodies in any of these.
Rearend: All three sport Chrysler's stout Dana 60s with streetable 4.10 gears and Sure Grip differentials.
Horsepower & Performance: As per the factory's rating, the 426 Hemi produced a market-leading 425 hp. those numbers have been questioned over the last thirty years, as many who restore these powerplants discover their "stock" Hemis make close to 465 hp in some cases.
Suspension: As all three R/Ts were complete restorations to preserve each vehicle's heritage, each of the vehicles were returned to factory rubber and spring ratios-no trick polyurethane or Super Stock springs here.
Brakes: As standard Hemi-equipped vehicles, large factory power disc brakes were mounted up front with drum brakes out back on all three Challengers.
Wheels: 15x7 Rallye wheels.
Rubber: F60-15 Goodyear Polyglass from Kelsey Tire in Camden, Missouri.
Body: All three underwent full restorations, but Daniel admits his required most of the metal work because his lower quarters and rear-window filler panel needed to be replaced. YearOne supplied the filler panel that Daniel boasts was the best replacement panel he's ever purchased. He says, "it fit like a glove." Daniel had Walt and Bobby Biddle from Biddle's Paint and Body in Cocoa, Florida, tackle his paint and body work; Gary Plessinger from Hamilton, Ohio, took on Lee's full rotisserie restoration; and Fred had Jeremy's Paint and Body Shop in Sterling, Kansas, handle his metal and paint work.
Paint: Daniel's Challenger was painted in F8-coded DuPont Chromabase paint, and Fred's identically hued Challenger used Sikkens-brand base and clear. Lee's B5 blue also used the same DuPont coating.
Interior: Legendary seat covers, an Acme Headlining Company headliner, and the original dash and gauges were needed for Daniel's interior, while Fred's required Lefty's Upholstery from nearby Hutchinson to restore the interior using an Acme headliner, the original factory dash pad, restored Rallye gauges by Performance Car Graphics in Tallahassee, Florida, and a refinished steering wheel by Gary's Steering Wheel Restoration from Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Lee left the heavy labor to Gary Plessinger, who skillfully restored the brilliant blue interior back to factory original condition.