Survivor. It's a word you hear a lot when dealing with collector cars these days. There's been a resurgence in the appreciation for original, un-restored cars, ranging from that amazing 1911 Oldsmobile that was discovered still sitting on the tattered remains of its original tires and sold for $1.65 million, to more realistic survivors like, say, this heavily-optioned 1970 Dodge Challenger RT/SE with 18,788 original miles on it. Most enthusiasts will agree that a survivor carries its original power-train (it must be matching numbers), a good portion of its original paint and trim, and most of its original interior. Clubs are starting to recognize this growing trend with preservation classes just for these cars (for example, I think the Buick club insists that the paint be 85% original for a car to qualify for "survivor" status). This Plum Crazy Challenger is an ideal candidate for the guy who has already done the restoration thing and now wants to take his hobby to the next level.
Yes, a survivor is most certainly the next level in the collector car hobby. Anyone with a big enough checkbook can have a perfectly accurate restored car, but the supply of authentic, honest, original, un-restored vehicles is notably short, I don't care how much money you have. Investors are starting to recognize this fact and are attaching a great deal of value to it. That ancient Oldsmobile I mentioned probably won't get restored despite its admittedly geriatric condition, and its value will only go up from here.
Somewhat less fragile and far better preserved, and therefore much more fun, is this 1970 Challenger RT/SE. Packing a 4-barrel 383 and a TorqueFlite automatic, all of which are matching-numbers, of course, this is an excellent example of a true survivor no matter whose definition you use. Loaded with options like A/C and an overhead console, and fully documented with a window sticker and Chrysler Corporation Broadcast Sheet, this would be an amazing car in any condition, but with just 18,788 actual miles and in 96% original condition, it is flat-out astounding. Heck, it still comes with its original tires!
Options? Here's the fender tag, which is incredibly hard to read because it's trapped under the original A/C lines (it's just one option away from being a 2-tag car):
E63 383-4 Barrel
D32 H-D A-727 TorqueFlite Transmission
JS29J = Dodge Challenger
S = Special
29 = 2 Door Sports Hardtop
N0BN = 383 330HP 1-4BBL 8
CYL0 = 1970
B = Dodge Main, Hamtramck, MI, USA
198708 Sequence Number '198708'
FC7 Paint Code: Plum Crazy Purple / In-Violet Irid
H5X9 Trim Grade/Style/Color
H = High
5 = Cloth and Vinyl Bucket Seats
X9 = Black
000 Upper Door Frame: Full Door Panel
B19 Date Built: 11 / 19 / 1969
119263 Order Number: 119263
V1X Roof Type OR Color: Full Vinyl Top Black
A01 Light Package
A36 3.55:1 High Performance Axle Package
A62 Rallye Instrument Cluster
B51 Power Assisted Brakes
C15 Special Sound Insulation Package
70s80C16 Console w/ Buckets
C26 Over Head Roof Consolette
C55 Bucket Seats
G31 Right Hand Outside Mirror - Manual / Chrome
G33 Left Hand Outside Mirror - Manual / Chrome
H51 Single Air /w Heater
M21 Roof Drip Rail Moldings
M25 Wide Sill Molding
M31 Belt Molding 69-70
N41 Dual Exhaust w/o Tips
N42 Chrome Dual Exhaust Tips
S83 Rim Blow steering wheel
V6W White Longitude Sports Stripe
Y05 Built to U.S. specifications
26 26 inch radiator
So yes, the paint is 40 years old. Concours it isn't, but for a preservation class it's absolutely perfect. There are a few chips that have been touched up here and there, and one golf ball-sized spot where there was a repair and a repaint, but I'd say that more than 90% of the paint on this car is original. It has a shine that looks as good as possible thanks to the expert ministrations of our detail shop. This car has never been disassembled, and all the panels are 100% factory steel, as installed by the guys at Hamtramck on November 19, 1969. The doors don't sag, the hood fits extremely well, and the trunk opens and closes without effort. Those white R/T stripes on the flanks are original and in outstanding condition front to back with no fading, checking, or peeling. Someone took VERY good care of this car.
Glass? Original. The windshield has some scratches and some signs that the wipers have been in use, but there's no damage. The lenses and badges are all original with no cracking or fading. All the stainless is original and largely ding-free. The front bumper is almost too nice, but there's no proof that it has ever been replaced. The rear bumper is definitely original, as are the optional exhaust tips underneath it. The black vinyl top is astoundingly good for an original car, especially one that has been in dry Oklahoma and sunny Tennessee since new.
The engine is a completely unmolested 18,788-mile original piece. The plugs are probably the originals, as are the wires. The air filter has been replaced, it has received regular oil changes of course, but everything else is very likely original equipment. That's original factory Hemi Orange paint on the block, original black wrinkle finish paint on the air cleaner, and original decals still clinging to their original surfaces. Note the original hose clamps on a majority of the hoses, the original ground cable with orange overspray on it. "Heck, even the heat riser tube is still intact. Are you seeing the picture here? " I'm using the word "original" an awful lot, aren't I? We just installed a correct Mopar red cap battery, and despite being a 100% authentic reproduction, it just doesn't quite fit, does it? Give it time, which is all the rest of this engine bay has had.
How does it run? Very, very well. With 18,877 original miles, it's low mileage for sure, but not ridiculously low like the 215-mile DeLorean we have sitting in the showroom. It has been properly exercised and maintained, keeping seals and gaskets supple and parts in proper working condition. Yes, the A/C is functional, maybe even with the original charge of R12 in it, I can't say for certain. My point is, this is a highly original, low-mile car, but it doesn't have all the issues that near-0-mile cars that have lived their entire lives in storage have. It's ready to drive, not just be a static piece of historical documentation that requires a restoration just to get it back on the road.
Underneath, yes, it's dirty they looked dirty three weeks after they came off of the assembly line. Spend some time out on the road and see how you look after 40 years. But I'm going to start throwing around that word again: original. Original shocks? Yep. Original mufflers? Quite likely. Original brakes? I'm pretty sure they are. These cars were not finished as pristinely as a restored piece would have you believe, and this car is evidence of the factory's processes, not a restorer's skill. The floors are solid with no signs of perforation or damage, the sub-frames well-protected with ancient undercoating, and the mechanical bits are all present and accounted for. This car has optional B51 front disc brakes, and they are in working condition, and out back is the tried-and-true Chrysler 8.75-inch rear packing 3.54 gears.
Of particular note is the paint job on the engine oil pan notice the runs. The guy on the assembly line painting engines that day didn't much feel like bending over to hit the bottom of the pan and figured nobody would notice. Maybe nobody did, and that's why cars like this are so incredibly special. They're living proof of how these cars were built, and should serve as a strong guideline for restorers. Better than new isn't correct.
The tires are recent F70-14 Goodyear Polyglas GT replicas on the original 14-inch steel wheels with the W15 wire wheel covers, which are original and listed on the window sticker as a $64.10 option. We also have the original Goodyear Polyglas GTs that came on this car, and they are included with the sale!
The interior will blow you away. First, this is an RT/SE model with the upscale interior featuring the H5X9 cloth and vinyl bucket seats. It also includes a bunch of other goodies such as the A01 light group, C15 seat belt group, C16 console, J41 pedal dress-up, S82 rim-blow steering wheel and the cool overhead consolette. Condition-wise, it is like new with almost no wear visible on the seats and carpets. The wood-grain on the console is excellent and bright, and there's no cracking or fading of any of the interior pieces like the dash and door panels. Note that the R35 AM/FM stereo radio is still in place, and still drives the R31 rear-mounted speakers. Look at the pictures again the carpets are excellent and the weather-stripping is still supple and has plenty of life left in it. Out back, the original trunk mat is still in place, along with the original jack and handle, and a collapsible spare that has never seen the pavement.
We have some documentation on this car, and it's the important stuff. First is the original Chrysler Corporation Broadcast Sheet, probably the one from behind the seat judging by the markings on it. We also have the original window sticker, which is TWO PAGES LONG thanks to $1400 worth of options on this car.
If you're the kind of enthusiast who prizes originality above all else, the kind of person who would enjoy having a car that can be used as a benchmark for other restorers, or just someone who appreciates a once-in-a-lifetime find, give this Challenger a good, long look. This is a car that will blow people away at a show, much more so than if it was restored. Watch people crowd around it to check the authentic details, and as a bonus, you don't have to worry about your fresh $15,000 paint job. Drive it, enjoy it, show it, this car is truly the best of all worlds. Keep the mileage low and it will remain a valuable commodity for future investors, and a priceless resource for other enthusiasts. Plus it's a pretty cool car in its own right. When you're ready to take your collection to the next level, give us a call on this incredible survivor. I guarantee you'll never see another one like it. Call today!
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After hearing good things about the people at RK Motors, I contacted them regarding consignment of my street rod. I found Tony Klein to be a pleasure to work with. He was very professional and forthcoming in our communications. He evaluated my vehicle and made suggestions of enhancements which would help ensure the desired result would be achieved in the marketing of the vehicle. We agreed on an acceptable sale price. Following the completion of the recommended items, I brought the vehicle to RK for consignment. After a thorough inspection and correction of some minor issues at what I considered a fair price, the vehicle was offered for sale. It sold quickly with me receiving the agreed value. I would have to repeat the recommendation that I received. RK Motors does what they say they will do, and obtains for the seller a fair and agreed value. What more could you ask for?Doug C.