The Dodge Challenger was the last to enter the power race in 1970, but that didn’t stop the machine from making a name for itself. Debuting with engines ranging from the straight-six to the mighty 440 Six Barrel and the divine 426 Hemi, it has become a power and speed lover’s dream. Other pony cars could only dream of it.
For a machine to be successful in the face of strong competition, its creators need to anticipate market trends and look five years ahead. Otherwise, it turns out that the new masterpiece in the new season is no longer interesting to anyone. The Dodge Challenger was late and was late significantly. The only way to attract attention then was to challenge and outrun everyone else. This machine was destined to have a short but graceful life and managed to stand out even in such a difficult period. It was the USA in the late 60s when the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro were on sale with might and main. Agiotage began without Challenger.
The Challenger, as befits its name, immediately challenged the muscle car market. When Chrysler looked back at the civilian muscle car market, they noticed that by 1968 the Dodge was lagging behind the competition. It was necessary to make something, and very quickly and very effectively. To do this, the exterior design of the first generation was carried out by the ingenious Carl Cameron, who also developed the Charger in 1966. There was only one condition – not to touch the platform of the Barracuda and to beat the competitors, well, at least in the American market. Cameron completed the task for the top five. The 1970 Challenger came out even more aggressive, impetuous, and assertive than the Charger, more sporty, and most importantly, modern. Engineers had worked especially hard on the internal components. The model was well received by customers: in the first year, 77,000 hardtops and convertible vehicles were sold. The vehicle was equipped with a 3.7 inline six-cylinder engine with a capacity of 145 hp and V-shaped “eights” with a volume of 5.2 to 7.2 liters (230–390 hp). The most powerful engine was the 426 Hemi with a seven-liter volume that developed 425 “horses”.
A long hood, a short trunk, four round headlights, a narrow three-piece grille, a huge bumper filled with chrome, and stylish round turn signals underneath. For a ridiculous $15, the company offered a stunning Sublime coloring. The stern was decorated with luxurious full-width lights, the same abundantly chrome bumper, and a decorative air intake flaunted on the hood. It operated only on some versions of the model but looked very intimidating. Yes, and there was something to intimidate. It showed such technical characteristics that the competitors were shaking in their hamstrings. The aggressive style was backed up by more than 20 trim levels with different combinations of engines, gearboxes, suspensions, and interior decorations, not counting a few special versions of the factory tuning.
While some called it a pony car due to its shorter rear end, it did have tough features and a truly stunning look that earned it a lifelong fan base. The 1972 release had distinctive features: a long hood, a large trunk, quadrangular round headlights, and a chrome inner rim on the grille set it apart from the muscle car crowd. Front bucket seats and a pistol-grip shifter were other cool things, while disc brakes and power steering were optional. However, 1972, the third year of the model, was the beginning of the end. Starting this year, changes began to be made to the design, not always warmly received by the public. In 1972, due to stricter environmental requirements, Chrysler was forced to abandon the production of the top version of the Hemi, the rest of the engines were derated. The crisis dictated to manufacturers a sharp reduction in engine power, lowering the compression ratio. Draconian laws did restrict increasing the compression ratio, therefore, to increase power, it was necessary to lift the volume, and it was not rubber under the car’s hood. For example, somehow the loud 318th engine received only a miserable 150 forces. It was clear that there could be no question of any amateur sports, although the 340th engine was still installed during the 1973-74 model year. The fuel crisis finally “finished off ” powerful American coupes, and in just five years, 165 thousand vehicles were produced. Also, by 1972, convertible versions were no longer produced. 1972 models received a new “sad-mouth” grille and new taillights. Overall, in 1972, 18.5 thousand Dodge Challengers of the basic modification and 8000 machines in the Rally Coupe configuration were sold. 1974 was the final year of the first proper thoroughbred generation Dodge Challenger.
1972 release was featured in several movies and TV series as Viper (1994-1999), Hot Summer in Barefoot County (1974), Counting Cars (2012-2022), Fast & Furious: Spy Racers (2019-2021), Gone in 60 Seconds (1974), Survive the Night (2020), Portlandia (2010-2018).
For buying this specific model or other classic cars, please visit our inventory.