As car guys, we occasionally hear about somebody getting a nice example of Mopar iron from their father or their brother, but Jim Dalton is the first person we've ever heard about getting a muscle machine from his sister!
The announcement that Dodge would enter the pony car wars with a new model called the Challenger was made in the latter half of 1969, so Barbara Dalton went to King Dodge in Portsmouth, Virginia, to order one. In her twenties, Barbara had already decided this would be a high-class ride, and she opted for both the R/T and SE packages on the order form. Based on recommendations by another brother, Clyde, who worked for Chrysler Financial in Norfolk, she also selected the base 383 Magnum 4-bbl package as the engine option, the only R/T displacement below the insurance-increasing 400 cid. Decked out in PG8 Dark Green paint with the body stripe and scalloped hood, it was quite a looker around Hillsville, Virginia, after she brought it home in November of 1969.
Now younger brother Jim, who was just out of high school, decided he really wanted this particular Dodge, so he bugged his sister for the next three years to sell it to him. He went to work for Chrysler Financial himself in 1972, and in 1973, Barbara decided to buy a new Charger, and the Challenger, with less than 30,000 miles on it, became Jim's in May of that year.
For several years, Jim's wife, Debbie, who is a school teacher, drove the car back and forth to work every day. As the odometer climbed, the car's regular use took a toll on its appearance and driveline, and in 1998, Jim decided it was time bring this family jewel back to factory specifications.
The car had never been hit and was well cared for since the day it rolled off the dealership lot, so the bodywork required on the 95,000-mile-plus classic was minimal since there was no rust and only the usual parking-lot dings. For the exterior, Jim turned to Scott Winfield at The Paint Shop in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. After completing the preparatory bodywork, Winfield plied his trade on the car with fresh coats of PG8 paint and a stripe package from Dale Teul. A new green vinyl top and NOS-grade emblems round out the outside package.
The Special Edition option makes the car unique. For example, the buyer got a smaller rear window than offered on the standard model, chrome trim on the doors, hood, and fenders, and the aforementioned vinyl roof. Inside, it meant an overhead console and leather front bucket seats (the rear seat was vinyl). This special interior needed to be reworked as well and was redone using pieces from Year One. In keeping with the period restoration, Jim left the AM/8-track radio and factory stereo options in place.
Meanwhile, the driveline was rebuilt by friend Dale Freeman, who is a mechanic by trade. The 335hp 383 was popped out by .030 and fitted with new 9.5:1 stock replacement TRW pistons. Other than a Mopar Performance electronic ignition kit and a Carter AVS carb that replaced the original Holley four-barrel, it is basically as it came from the factory in 1969. Rounding out the options on the car are air conditioning, a 727 Torqueflite and a 3.23 ring in the 831/44 SureGrip differential.
Jim completed the car's revival in 1999 and today it sees limited exposure on the Mopar show circuit. That's because Jim doesn't need it as a daily driver or anything like that. You see, he works at Smith Stokes Chrysler Plymouth in Reidsville, North Carolina, one of the more performance-oriented dealerships alive today, so he gets to enjoy both the old and the new. We wonder if Barbara is bugging him to buy the car back now.