"When I bought the car in 2000, my son, Raymond, was five years old. the car sat around here for several years, and he always said it was a rusty piece of junk and laughed at it," says Jim. "As he got older, he realized what musclecars were---he's 13 now---and he starting asking, 'Dad, where's the car now? Please don't sell it!' all the time it was down at RJ Cars being restored. this past summer at Carlisle, we surprised him with it."
Jim adds that in addition to doing a top notch job on the car, Russ Jacobs and all his RJ Cars employees were friendly and accommodating.
Optional cloth/vinyl seats prevented Challenger occupants from "wearing" the stock upholst
There's one other Challenger in the Rigby garage: A '72, which he found not long after he bought the '70 R/T. "It's a California car with a 318, A/C, and tinted glass, but that's pretty much it," Jim says. "It's a plain-Jane car. I've done nothing with it but change the oil, jump in it, and turn the key. I'd searched for years for a car to buy, and all of a sudden, I had two of 'em!" One detail that Jim's looking to add to both cars: period-correct, blue-with-orange-lettering, New York State license plates, just like the ones issued from the mid-'60s through 1973.
What's it like driving the 383-powered R/T? "It's a dream. It's quite a head-turner," says the ever-observant state trooper. "It runs down the road great. it reminds me of the days when we'd work on our cars all week, just to drive them on the weekend, break them, then fix them up again during the week. I just love musclecars and the way they're put together."
Does Jim have any advice for first-time musclecar buyers in the market for a project or turnkey car? "If you scour the web sites and ads in the papers, and if something comes up, you just have to go and look right away because if it's anything worthwhile, it's just not going to last on the market. Nowadays, they're not sticking around [on the market] too long."
'70 Dodge Challenger R/T Coupe
Jim Rigby, Victor, NY
- Engine: Original 383 Magnum V-8 (standard on the Challenger R/T). Machine work by Mike Mastin, Livonia, New York. Re-assembly by John Krause at RJ Cars. Original Holley four-barrel carburetor restored; Mopar Performance distributor and electronic ignition conversion kit replaced OEM Mopar parts. Reproduction exhaust system by Accurate Exhaust. Reproduction stickers in engine bay include "early" '70 vehicle-emissions information label.
- Transmission: An optional-on-the-R/T item: the A-833 four-speed with a Hurst pistol-grip shifter-in this case, the short version used in console-equipped E-Bodies. Transmission rebuilt by John Krause at RJ Cars.
- Rearend: Jim's Challenger was built with the RPO A36 Performance Axle Group (3.55 gears and a Sure Grip differential inside an 83/4-inch rearend). Restored by RJ Cars.
- Suspension: Restored original R/T, front (HD longitudinal torsion bars and sway bar) and rear (HD longitudinal leaf springs). OEM rubber bushings replaced by urethane ones. Rebuilt by RJ Cars.
- Brakes: Original RPO B51 power front disc/rear drum brakes restored by RJ Cars.
- Wheels: 14x7-inch Rallyes wearing repro Goodyear Polyglas F70-14 tires, same as what the car was built with. (E60-15 tires on 15x7-inch wheels were on the option list then, but not spec'd for this car.)
- Body: Original '70 Challenger coupe rotisserie restored by RJ Cars. Replacement parts include: Goodmark quarter-panels, reproduction vinyl top/side-body tape stripes.
- Paint: Mopar's ever-popular B5 Blue (original color), sprayed on in Diamont basecoat/clearcoat by C.J. Tremper at RJ Cars. Once painted, the body was treated to reproduction white side-body tape stripes, white vinyl top, and matte-black performance hood treatment-all of which the car was originally built with.
- Interior: (Original) Loaded with options like "houndstooth" cloth/vinyl seat trim, Rallye dash with tach, AM radio with eight-track tape player, center console, rear window defogger. (Restored) Still loaded with options, including original AM radio/eight-track tape player. Repro front seat upholstery/foam by Legendary Auto Interiors, and installed by Frank Hoffman at RJ Cars. (Rear seat is original.) Steering wheel restoration by Gary's Steering. All other interior restoration work by RJ Cars.
Per "902" code on the fender tag, this Challenger was assembled by Ma Mopar on Tuesday, September 2, 1969, about five weeks after model year 1970 Challenger production started. Per "B" code in VIN, this car was built at Hamtramck Assembly.
Production totals (per stockmopar.com) Total '70 Dodge Challenger production (all series/engines/body styles): 76,935 Total '70 Dodge Challenger R/T production (all engines/body styles): 18,512 Total '70 Dodge Challenger R/T coupe production (all engines): 13,796 Total '70 Dodge Challenger R/T coupe production (with 383): 9,067