1970 Dodge Challenger R/T SE
Owner: Jack Thomas
Car: 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T SE
Engine: 440 Six Pack
Color: Charcoal Iridescent
In 1970 Chrysler produced two sport coupes on its E-body platform, the restyled Plymouth Barracuda and an all new Dodge Challenger. Optioning and powertrain choices could turn either into a very specific car. Just in the case of the Challenger, for instance, there was a base model, a sizably more powerful Road/Track and, the Challenger T/A with a performance 340 V-8. Then there’s this, the Special Edition, which was officially a one-year-only Challenger option. When integrated into the R/T package, with a big-block wedge, you’ve got yourself an uncommon muscle car. Only 3,979 SE-optioned R/T hardtops were built.
In Mopar linguistics, this is known as a Challenger R/T SE. When you look into the combination closely, it’s actually quite intriguing. The SE package is a styling and convenience group. It’s based around a vinyl roof incorporating a smaller rear window opening with external bright moldings, as designed by Dodge stylist Mack King. Inside, the Special Edition cars received script declaring them as such on their woodgrain door inserts. The bottoms of the interior door panels were carpeted. Vinyl, or leather-trimmed vinyl up front, was used for the seating surfaces, with cloth inserts. More memorable than that, one could say, is the scaled-down overhead console that was another part of the SE package, with warning lights for low fuel, door ajar and unfastened seat belts. (Jim Donnelly from the May 2012 issue of Hemmings Motor News)
This 1970 R/T SE is owned by Jack Thomas who bought the rolling project in 1999. He restored it from the ground up in his driveway and finished it in 2005. It was a special order car, one of three 1970 R/T SEs built with a non-Dodge paint color. It is numbers-matching 440 4-barrel car with AC. The dash VIN, fender tags (it has two), engine block, transmission case, cowl and radiator support all have the same numbers. When it was built in November of 1969, AC units were so big that you could not have a six pack or a shaker hood with AC, but with a more modern, smaller, AC unit under the hood, you can have all three features. Along with some other personal touches that made it nicer, like the modern stereo that was a gift from Jack's kids "so he could hear the music over the motor", to quote his daughter. Come out to Cruise Night to see Jack's 1970 Challenger!