Update: This car sold the day of publication of this story.
So you want an old school muscle car, but don't want to have to deal with any of the hassles associated with driving a vintage vehicle on a regular basis? Allow me to introduce you to the world of Pro-Touring. Pro-Touring is a term that came about in the early 90s when a number of prominent hot rodders and car customizers started to go beyond the standard reliability modifications when restoring cars and began to install fully modernized suspensions and drivetrains in automobiles that were still largely stock in appearance.
This 1970 Dodge Challenger is the perfect example of a Pro-Touring resto-mod that could probably go toe-to-toe with a wide range of current performance cars and come out on top. Originally built by South Coast Rides in Texas, the car has been gone over from tip to tail more than once by what sounds like the most meticulous of owners.
It all starts under the hood, where a fuel injected Chrysler crate motor built by Hughes Engines pushes out 555 horsepower and 552 lb-ft of torque from its 416 cubic inches. Those numbers were actually measured when the Challenger's mill was carbureted, but according to Mike, the seller of this retro-beast, the numbers should still be the same now that it's wearing an Edelbrock Victor intake manifold to match its Edelbrock Performer RPM aluminium heads. It was a move made to further improve the reliability of the car in a wider range of driving situations, he says, which anyone who has ever tried to start a carbureted car on a hot day will agree with whole-heartedly.
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A 4L60E automatic transmission (sourced from GM) handles the shift duties for the vehicle, and it features a 3,000 rpm stall feeding a strong Chrysler 8 3/4 inch rear end housing 3.70 gears. Purists will be happy to know that the air scoop is completely functional, as it feeds a 340 six-pack-type air cleaner that sits over the throttle body.
Chrysler muscle cars were notorious for having way more go than 'woah,' which is why the Challenger's original drum setup has been replaced by 13-inch discs at all four corners. Although the initial build included an air suspension setup, the Dodge has moved to QA1 adjustable coilovers, a popular choice not just amongst the Pro-Touring crowd but also for contemporary performance enthusiasts. Mike says it wasn't just performance that pushed him to the QA1 setup, as the air suspension was rock-hard over bumpers and never quite self-levelled properly. Enormous 18-inch Goodyear Eagle F1 tires provide the grip required to rocket the Challenger forward with the pedal down.
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this 1970 Dodge Challenger Pro-Touring build is its $70,000 price. An all-original Challenger, featuring a similarly-sized engine, would undoubtedly be within at least $10k of this vehicle at the auction block - and it wouldn't offer half the performance that's been baked into this beautiful blue devil. Throw in the tasteful decision to leave the interior almost entirely stock, and you've got a classy cruiser that can also kick ass at the drag strip (and most likely on a road course) without having to worry about whether it will start in the morning, or whether that idiot in the lane beside you is going to dent the fender and wipe out the vehicle's value.