Saturday, February 28, 2015

1970 Dodge Challenger 426 Hemi Convertible - This week, we take a look at 1/12 of the total production of 1970 Dodge Challenger convertibles built with the 426 Hemi V8. Of the 12, 9 were US cars, with the other three built for export. This is one of the nicest restorations in the Brothers Collection, and that is saying a lot!

Finding a Hemi Challenger convertible today is no ordinary thing, especially when one considers that Dodge produced only nine such cars in 1970. The second one produced, and the first to hit the street, did so under unusual circumstances: it was sold by the dealer principle at cost to a friend while they were playing their weekly game of checkers. In return for the sizeable discount, the buyer, a Poplar Bluffs, MO anesthesiologist named Langford Palmer, agreed to the dealer’s one caveat, that he race it on the street. It was a win-win accord: Palmer and his Challenger built a reputation as unbeatable, and the Dodge dealer’s sales went through the roof.

Palmer eventually sold the Challenger to a Ford dealer, who transplanted the Hemi into his boat, put a smaller engine in the car and sold it to a farmer near Rapid City, SD. That might have been the end of the story, had the Hemi engine not been discovered years later in a Denver, Colorado machine shop, its owner having abandoned it when he could not pay the shop’s bill for machining services. A buyer, Mr. Jim Lynch, paid the shop’s bill, located Langford Palmer through Chrysler’s records division, and through Palmer managed to purchase the car from the Rapid City farmer. Lynch then took both the engine and the Challenger to Roger Gibson for restoration in 1993. Gibson completed the project in 1996, after insisting on factory correctness rather than the over-restored approach initially favored by Lynch. 


Today the car remains factory correct and expertly detailed, just as Roger Gibson insisted on when he first undertook its restoration. The underhood detailing in particular has received special attention in a Mopar Action magazine article about the car, in which Gibson recounted the fine points of correctly finishing this exceptionally rare Hemi Challenger to Certified Reference status.

Number 2 in the total production sequence of nine Hemi Challenger convertibles, the car comes with copies of the original dealer paperwork, including the bill of sale.


- Number 2 of only 9 1970 Hemi Challenger R/T convertibles
- Purchased new at Jackson Dodge, Poplar Bluff, MO
- 426/425 HP Hemi with Torque Flite automatic
- Green Poly with Green interior
- Power steering
- Bucket seats, console
- Rallye wheels
- AM radio
- Woodgrain dash and console trim
- Electric clock
- Tachometer
- Dealer records
- NOS heads and intake
- Restored to Mopar Certified Reference Restoration status between 1993 and 1996
- Featured in Mopar Action magazine

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