"Have it your way" was a big part of Detroit's marketing strategy in the late 1960s, and Dodge played the game as well as anyone. The Challenger was offered with fewer individual options than its rivals because Dodge tended to group items in packages more than other makes.
But though abridged, the list still ran to more than 50 items, many oriented toward performance. For example, there was a 340 package available for base models only, comprising a strong-hearted small-block V-8 of that displacement, plus unsilenced air cleaner, performance hood with functional scoop, E60 X 15 raised-white-letter tires, Rallye suspension, front and rear anti-sway bars, "bumblebee" rump stripe, and "Scat Pack" decals on the quarter windows.
The 1970 R/T convertible, here with standard
383 Magnum V-8.
Also listed as step-up power for the standard Challenger were two versions of the stalwart 383, a two-barrel 290-horsepower unit and a 330-horsepower four-barrel engine similar to the standard R/T powerplant.
The enormous 440-cid V-8 was optional across the board in both 375-horsepower Magnum tune and as the "Six Pak," with triple carbs and 390 horses. Those desiring the ultimate -- and willing to part with $1,227.50 -- could order the legendary 426 Hemi with dual four-pot carbs, nominally rated at 425 horsepower.
Speed demons selected the optional four-speed manual transmission, which came with Hurst's beefy "pistol grip" shifter, and manual 440- or Hemi-powered R/Ts were equipped with extra strong Dana 60 rear axles with 93/4-inch ring gears (Torqueflite absorbed enough initial torque in hard driving to preclude the H-D axle).
R/T gearing options included Trak Pak, a 3.54:1 differential with Sure-Grip limited slip, or Super Trak Pak, the same thing with a 4.10:1 gearset.
It was only natural that Dodge would want to offer its race-proven muscle parts in the Challenger, even though that took the car far away from the original luxury GT intent. But performance fever was raging throughout the industry in those days, and it would never burn hotter again.
By way of illustration, the October 1969 issues of Car Craft magazine contained a fold-out for Pontiac's new GTO Judge on the inside front cover, an inside spread on Ford's Torino GT and Cobra, and a four-page Mercury blurb a few pages further on that promised "the most exciting Cougars yet" -- even the luxury ponycar had been afflicted.
Dodge had the most impressive piece: a splashy eight-page insert for its 1970 Scat Pak models. These were the division's all-stars, the top performers in each model line: Coronet Super Bee, Dart Swinger 340, Charger R/T, and the incredible winged, wedge-nose Charger Daytona. Naturally, the brash Challenger R/T got prime space in its debut year.
Aggressive hood scoop, rear spoiler, and “megaphone”
side exit pipes identified the 1970 T/A,
the street version of Sam Posey’s Trans-Am racer.
Prominent throughout this booklet were comments on the various models from Dodge-sponsored race drivers, and famed fuel dragster handler Don "Big Daddy" Garlits had this to say about the hemi-engine Challenger: "Now Dodge has gone and done the real thing built the pony-car of all ponycars."
Garlits genuinely liked the Challenger and proved it by buying a hemi hardtop, which is on display at his drag racing museum in Ocala, Florida.
Learn about Dodge Challenger performance on the next page.
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