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Which Would You Rather Own, 1970 Dodge Challenger or 2010 Dodge Challenger?

HOT ROD logo HOT ROD 2015-08-17 Mark Ehlen
Which Would You Rather Own, 1970 Dodge Challenger or 2010 Dodge Challenger?

Which do you prefer, old-school pure mechanical precision or state-of-the-art modern computer-controlled technology? Both have their strong and weak points. More to the point, would you rather have a classic Mopar or one of Chrysler's late-model hot rods? For Bill Chambers of Green Bay, Wisconsin, it turns out that he had to have both.

He did start out with the latest technology when he purchased this 1970 Challenger convertible off the lot in April 1971. The list price was $4,532.50, but because it was a demo, Bill picked it up for just $3,395. It was his family car through most of the 1970s gas crisis, but finally, in 1979, fuel costs just got to be too much and the reluctant decision was made to store it (at least he didn't trade it in) and drive a Civic.

About 1990, Bill contacted John Balow, owner of Muscle Car Restorations in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, about getting his Challenger restored. He knew about Balow and the shop from car features he had seen in various magazines, and he liked Balow's strong reputation for restoring Mopars. But for various reasons the timing just wasn't right, so Bill kept his Challenger with the anticipation of eventually getting it restored. Finally in 2006, he just wasn't going to wait any longer. He committed the car to Muscle Car Restorations for a full resto.

1970 2010 dodge challenger high angle© Provided by Hotrod 1970 2010 dodge challenger high angle

While the car was undergoing the resto, Dodge released the current Challenger. That got Bill to thinking about obtaining a 2010 model, as it would the 40th anniversary of the Challenger's debut. But he wanted it to be a convertible of the same color as his '70. Well, the 2010 model year came and was almost over by March 2010, and there were no Burnt Orange converts in sight, so Bill took matters into his own hands.

He ordered a 2010 model and had it shipped to Droptop Customs in High Spring, Florida, where the metal roof was replaced by a white convertible top and it was painted Dark Burnt Orange. In order to get the new Challenger to match the body color of his vintage one as closely as possible, Bill ordered the new car in Bright Silver Metallic so the neutral paint color wouldn't affect the new Dark Burnt Orange when it was applied.

So, which one would you rather have?

The '70 will definitely turn more heads, and it's certainly worth more now. The cool factor gauge is also pegged with this one. And it's the second time in 40 years that Bill has gotten to drive this car brand new.

1970 2010 dodge challenger comparison© Provided by Hotrod 1970 2010 dodge challenger comparison

On the other hand, the new car will outperform the '70 in any category you want to measure. It's faster, it handles and brakes better, it's more fuel efficient, and it's arguably more comfortable for a long road trip. Hey, sorry, but Chrysler has made a lot of improvements in the last 40 years.

Still the '70 will be a lot more fun at shows and on cruise nights. And which one would you rather work on if you had to?

Then again the '10 does have a six-speed stick and a seven-speaker (with subwoofer) Boston Acoustics Media Center that will make the old tunes sound way better than Bill remembers them. Oh, and yes, it's got a Hemi.

Truth is, this could go on and on, so we recommend you take it up at your next bench racing session. As for Bill, his only issue is that he can't drive both at the same time, but that's a dilemma he can live with.

1970 2010 dodge challenger driving© Provided by Hotrod 1970 2010 dodge challenger driving

At a Glance
1970 Challenger R/T Convertible
Owned by: Bill Chambers, Green Bay, WI
Restored by: Muscle Car Restorations, Chippewa Falls, WI
Engine: 383ci/335hp Magnum V-8
Transmission: 727 TorqueFlite 3-speed automatic
Rearend: 8 3/4 with 3.23 gears
Interior: Burnt Orange vinyl bucket seat
Wheels: 14-inch Magnum 500
Tires: F70-14 Goodyear Polyglas

At a Glance
2010 Challenger Convertible (Conversion)
Owned by: Bill Chambers, Green Bay, WI
Restored by: Unrestored, convertible conversion by Droptop Customs, High Spring, FL
Engine: 5.7L/330 (rw) hp Hemi V-8
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Rearend: 3.92 gears with Anti Spin
Interior: Dark Slate Gray leather bucket seat
Wheels: 20x8 polished aluminum
Tires: 245/45ZR20 

1970 2010 dodge challenger tops up© Provided by Hotrod 1970 2010 dodge challenger tops up

When the two cars are parked together, it's easy to see the styling cues Chrysler picked up from the original Challengers in designing the late-model versions. The white top against the Burnt Orange paint is a little stark; both cars look better with the top down.

1970 dodge challenger engine© Provided by Hotrod 1970 dodge challenger engine

The 383 Magnum single-four-barrel was factory rated at 335 hp and was the everyday big-block workhorse for Chrysler in those days. It moved Bill and his family around town without ever breaking a sweat. This one was rebuilt back to factory spec by Wheeler Racing Engines.

1970 dodge challenger interior© Provided by Hotrod 1970 dodge challenger interior

The interior in Bill's 1970 Challenger is the same Burnt Orange (code K4) as the exterior paint.

1970 dodge challenger dashboard© Provided by Hotrod 1970 dodge challenger dashboard

The Rallye Dash option is fitted with a 150-mph speedometer, an 8,000-rpm tach, and a clock along with the usual oil, alt, temp and fuel gauges. Also, if you're pushing the speedo or the tach to the limit, don't white-knuckle the wheel too hard or you'll end up sounding the horn.

2010 dodge challenger nose emblem© Provided by Hotrod 2010 dodge challenger nose emblem

Muscle Car Restorations designed and had made this custom nose emblem celebrating the 40th anniversary of Bill's Challenger.

1970 dodge challenger gas cap© Provided by Hotrod 1970 dodge challenger gas cap

At first glance, you might not be entirely sure which gas cap is on the 1970 Challenger and which one belongs to the '10.

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