Challenger restored to its glory days – SFGate

31 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Challenger restored to its glory days – SFGate

Challenger restored to its glory days

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It is a common inspiration among classic car lovers – the desire to relive the glory days of your youth by driving the cars you remember from that time.

For Gary Jones. muscle cars are part of that inspiration, and he knew exactly what he wanted when he began searching for his 1970 Dodge Challenger. His ’70 has a 440 with a 4-speed transmission, power steering and disc brakes.

Though it initially debuted as a special edition of the Coronet sedan (available only in 1959), the Challenger was most popularly manufactured by Chrysler from 1970 through 1974 and then by Mitsubishi Motors from 1978-1983, before being revived by Chrysler again in 2008.

When Jones found this Challenger, he got an official inspection done by the mechanic at the shop where it was. It was no surprise there were some issues on the classic muscle car, including needing a new clutch, an exhaust issue, some rust and, as GAP Racing’s Tim Palazzolo said, everything on the engine that could leak did.

With that report, Jones negotiated with the owner for a great price for the diamond in the rough and brought it over to Palazzolo and his team at GAP in Houston.

GAP Racing owners Palazzolo and his father, George, sat down with Jones and worked out their vision for the Dodge. Jones was most interested in building what he described as a dependable street machine, retaining all the old-school flavor, while subtly blending in modern amenities.

Once again, the team at GAP didn’t disappoint. When the car arrived at the shop, they discovered there were more problems than they had anticipated. The transmission was far beyond sloppy, while the paint, dash, chrome, interior, weatherstripping and metal were all in need of serious repair and attention.

American Classic Motors Road

The guys at GAP stripped the car, media blasted it and replaced the majority of the body’s metal work before they prepped it for its fresh new white paint job.

When it got back to GAP, they installed a new Hotchkis Suspension and a Firm Feel gear box, and they rebuilt the rear end and installed disc brakes on its four wheels. They rebuilt the 440 engine with a factory-forged crankshaft, six connecting rods, forged pistons, Edelbrock aluminum heads, shaft-mounted roller rockers, Mopar Street cam and a Tremec TKO 600 5-speed American Powertrain transmission. They also installed 17⁄8-inch TTI headers, 2.5-inch exhaust, an aluminum radiator, electric fans and an MSD ignition.

The interior was tricked out with sound-deadening material, a Vintage Air system, new carpet, all new wiring, power windows, stereo, rebuilt gauges, dash, tilt steering, leather seats and a pistol-grip shifter.

Outside, the last details of a new grille, lights and hardware, door handles, bezels, antenna and a freshened-up bumper brought it all together.

Jones said the final touch was putting on some 15-inch slot mag wheels with BF Goodrich tires. Overall, it is a stunning ’70 that could make anyone nostalgic for a time when these were commonplace on the road and in your driveway.

American Classic Motors Road

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