1970 Dodge Charger R/T 440 Six Pack 4-Speed Test Drive

Disregard the fact that the guy calls it a 70 Challenger….slip of the tongue. A nice ride along as he rows through the gears with the infamous pistol grip shifter.

Of all the classic muscle cars, none have become more collectible or more valuable than the Dodge Challengers and Plymouth Barracudas produced during the 1970 and 1971 model years. That’s despite the fact that these twins were hardly innovative in their specification nor particularly popular in sales. But they were the quintessential muscle cars: handsome and brazen in their styling and overstuffed with iconic features and, yes, gimmicks. But most of all their reputation was part and parcel of the V8 engines under their hoods: 340, 340 Six-Pack, 383 Magnum, 440 Magnum, 440 Six-Pack and, most of all, the legendary 426 Hemi.

Both the Barracuda and Challenger were in production for more than those two years, but neither of them was around for very long. These were two stars that burned bright but quickly burned out.

The new Challenger and Barracuda had very little to do with the A-body cars from which previous Barracudas sprang and were based on a new architecture known within Chrysler as the “E-body.” Using components swiped from both the compact A-body and midsize B-body cars, the E-body was built to compete against cars like the Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang and to do it while offering virtually every engine in Chrysler’s inventory. That included the beefy 440-cubic-inch big-block and the near race 426-cubic-inch Hemi V8s. In the muscle-mad late ’60s, as the E-bodies were being designed, all this seemed like a very logical and savvy thing to do.

When the Barracuda and Challenger died, few mourned their passing. They had one great year (1970), one good one (1971) and three progressively lousier ones (1972-1974). But with the passage of time their unique personalities and legends would grow. No one could have predicted just how popular they would become decades after their demise.

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