According to Steve Schrimscher, "I always flip through the magazine to Rare Finds first to find out what they dug up." Schrimscher is like a lot of readers. He sees the wild and wooly stories, such as the Hemi covered with chicken crap found in a barn story, and he's a little unimpressed with his own story.
He starts off, "Well, it's a '70 Dodge Challenger R/T, big-block convertible." With that statement, he's already got our attention-big time. Pony cars with big-blocks are exciting enough, let alone throw in the convertible body style. To top it off, he added the term Six Pack, well nothing is more exciting in terms of cubic inch, short of a Hemi with dual quads.
Many consider production numbers a big deal. Steve, in true Mopar colors, rattled them off for us right off the top of his head, "It's one of 99 R/T convertibles built with that particular engine. There were 61 four-speeds and 38 automatics. This particular E-Body is an automatic." According to Steve, "I've been into 'Cudas and Challengers for a while. At the time I found this car, it was the late '80s, maybe 1990; I had a 318 Challenger convertible. It was a nice driver, and one day somebody came up to me at a car show, I believe it was the Mopar Nationals, and said, 'I've got one similar, and I've been looking to sell it. It's a big-block car and everything.'"
How often do you hear a story like that? To catch a big fish, put out the bait, which in this case was the 318 Challenger convertible. You just might catch something. Steve continued, "I got to talking to him more about his car and found out it was a 440 Six Pack. The car was in Pennsylvania. I'm in Michigan, and Pennsylvania didn't seem that far away. I'm always hunting these kinds of things, so I went and looked at it. Things were not so different in 1990 from today. Yeah, prices were less, but enthusiasm was high. Everybody knew the production numbers, and what hot cars to get."
At first, the car turned him off because it needed a total restoration. "I thought at the time it was too much work. But after looking around for a few months, I decided to go back and get it because it was such a rare car," he said.
The Challenger was rusty in the trunk and needed a little bit of quarter-panel work, but was not totally rusted. Red with a white interior, the Challenger R/T had been re-painted and was missing the stripe. The top was white; originally, it was black.
Steve assessed the '70 as "savable." He bought the car and ended up doing a total restoration, which took five years of work and parts collecting. So far his research has not dug up the complete provenance, but he thinks the car was built for a Chrysler executive because of the plethora of options and accessories (from a luggage rack to power windows). "It really is a rare car," Steve told us.
This is an extraordinary find of an unrestored car, and we'd like to hear more of these stories. All you've need to do is send us a lead. The find doesn't even have to be your car. Send to Jerry Heasley at email@example.com or 3816 Industry Blvd, Lakeland, Fl 33811.