Dean Govostis travelled about as far west as he could to purchase this 1970 Dodge Challenger, which turned out coincidentally to be a big-block equipped Western Special model.
The Chrysler Corporation was famous for promoting their vehicles regionally through special packages, some of which were only available in certain parts of the country. One such package that was used to market '70 Dodge Challengers in California was called the "Western Special," and it included a variety of unusual options. Coded A91, Western Special Challengers were equipped with the 383 two-barrel engine, console shifted automatic transmission, standard dash with wood-grain inserts, rim-blow steering wheel, and pedal dress up bezels. On the outside, the Western Special featured a vinyl top, Rally wheels, wheelwell and side moldings, bumper guards, and a driver-side remote mirror. This package was also available on '69 Dodge Darts, but we've seen very few examples of either model.
As a Western Special, this...
As a Western Special, this Challenger would have had a decal on each quarter-panel identifying it as such. Dean has already found someone to reproduce these decals and plans to install them as the only items needed to bring the car back to original condition.
Dean Govostis of Burr Ridge, Illinois, wasn't looking for a Western Special Challenger when he found this car on the internet; in fact, he was simply looking for a clean Challenger shell to use for an R/T clone project. Seeing the condition of this car, however, enticed him to call the owner to find out more about it. The owner of the car was a gentleman named John, who lived in California, and bought, restored, and sold houses. On the side, he also had an interest in collector cars though he wasn't strictly a Mopar guy. Hearing a little about the car, Dean decided it would be well worth a trip to look at the Challenger, and flew to Burbank, California.
Upon arriving to look at the car, John told Dean that this Challenger was a low-mileage car that had been originally sold to a California Highway Patrol officer through Inland Dodge in San Bernardino. The CHP officer then gave the car to his daughter, who drove it very little, and she sold it to John, who had known about it for some time. Having been garage kept and always living in southern California, the Challenger was in amazing shape and the price was right, so John quickly made a deal and purchased the car.
Originally planning to drive the car "Vanishing Point" style through the southwest, Dean was disappointed to find that the Challenger had oil and transmission leaks so he decided to have it shipped back to his home near Chicago instead. A week later, Dean received the car from the hauler, and the previous owner had even paid the driver a tip to keep the car on the top level for the journey. As the only classic car riding amongst a trailer full of Audis and BMWs, we're sure it attracted a fair amount of attention along the way.
Although he was looking for a car he could clone into a Challenger R/T, Dean says that this car is in such good shape that there is no way he'd even consider changing it. By changing the car's fluids and exercising it with routine driving, the oil and transmission leaks have been resolved and Dean says the car drives great. We're not sure if Dean ever found the Challenger shell he was looking for to build the R/T clone, but we're sure glad he decided to leave this survivor quality car intact and thank him for sharing this unique Hidden Treasure with our readers.
All Western Special Challengers...
All Western Special Challengers were equipped with the 383 two-barrel engine, and the engine bay of this one still sports all of its original equipment with the exception of the battery. Dean says the engine runs great and he’s been driving the car regularly since purchasing it.
The interior of this Challenger...
The interior of this Challenger is just as clean as the exterior, and serves as a good example of how nice a Mopar can remain if properly taken care of.
Garage kept and driven rarely...
Garage kept and driven rarely in the dry, salt-free southern California climate, this is a great survivor car.