Schoolboy dreams of 1970 Challenger R/T

Farm Forum

Every day on his way to school Bob Mayhugh passed a house where a 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T was parked in the yard. He recalls always admiring the Dodge, but as a penniless student he could never afford such a car.

In 1982 Mayhugh located that same Banana Yellow Dodge Challenger — only without an engine. Regardless of the lack of an engine he purchased the remainder of the car. The license plate on the Dodge at that time was one that had been issued 11 years earlier in 1971 and the odometer at that time had registered about 38,000 miles.

Since he purchased the Challenger R/T with no engine Mayhugh opted to replace it with a 440-cubic-inch V-8 with three two-barrel carburetors. The original engine had been the smaller 383-cubic-inch V-8. Next came the task of rebuilding the brakes. Originally they were manual brakes. The three-speed automatic Torqueflite transmission appeared to be in fine condition.

The interior color scheme of the eye-catching muscle car is predominantly black. The black bucket seats, however, have what Mayhugh calls “salt and pepper” cloth inserts to provide a more comfortable ride. While seated at the three-spoke steering wheel Mayhugh regularly makes use of the left side exterior mirror. He does have a matching right side mirror — not yet installed on the car — which will make driving easier in congested modern-day traffic.

The rally dashboard on the R/T model has a speedometer that can register speeds up to 150 mph. Other instrumentation visible through the three-spoke steering wheel includes, clock, fuel gauge, temperature gauge, and the 8,000-rpm tachometer with a red line of 6,500 rpm.

The door panels remain original, and so too, is the offset console on the floor. A pair of air vents hidden under the dashboard can be opened to provide fresh air comfort in lieu of air conditioning.

As short-coupled as the seat in the back may appear, Mayhugh reports that “It’s not bad riding in the rear seat.”

Originally the Dodge rolled on 14-inch tires, but Mayhugh prefers the 15-inch tires which are now on his car. During the restoration process of the Challenger, he sent both bumpers off to Tennessee to be replated with chrome, and they returned in pristine condition.

The outrageous Banana Yellow paint covering the Challenger R/T is made even more noticeable by the flat black stripe kit that visually stretches the length of the Dodge, providing an eye-arresting contrast to the yellow body.

Peeking out below the rear bumper are the original four square-shaped exhaust tips. The owner refurbished them himself. Centrally located in the wall-to-wall taillight is the single backup light.

In October 2003 a satisfied Mayhugh declared his project complete, something that he could never have imagined in his schoolboy days.

“It came out pretty decent,” he says.

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