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Home/News and Feature Articles/*Featured Cars and Trucks/ Dodge Featured Cars/


Joe Palka bought his '70 Challenger R/T in 2007. While it was mostly complete, it needed much, and it was all complete in time for the car to be shown at the 2009 Chryslers @ Carlisle event.

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The car is finished in its original Medium Blue Metallic paint.

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1970 Dodge Challenger R/T - Once he started, Joe Palka got carried away
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By Society Staff – reprint with permission only

Joe Palka bought his 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T in March 2007 from a Springdale, Arkansas classic car dealership who had had the car listed on eBay.  At the time, it had just under 48,000 miles on it, and it was mostly complete except for the original matching-numbers short block engine.  There was evidence of old collision repair to the right rear quarter and tail panel.  There were rust holes in the roof, floor pan, under the seat, and in the trunk floor.  It also had a welded-on trailer hitch.

Joe’s original intention was to just make the car into a nice driver, but because of the superior work done by the shop that did the paint and body work, Speedos Paint and Body, he ended up getting carried away.  Every nut, bolt, washer, sub-assembly, you-name-it was taken completely apart or off the car and then cleaned, refinished, restored, or replaced.  Disassembly began in October 2007, the car was delivered to Speedos in January 2008, and it was done in time to show at Chryslers at Carlisle in 2009.        

The car has a date-correct 440 Magnum V-8 bored 0.030 over making the compression ratio 10.2 to 1 where stock is 9.7 to 1.  This engine is mated to an A727 TorqueFlite automatic transmission with a “Slap Stick” console shifter.  Both the engine and transmission were rebuilt professionally.

Body work included replacing the roof skin, hood, front and rear valence, rear floor pan, front lower windshield corners, deck filler panel, under rear seat pan, quarter panels, rear wheel houses, trunk floor, tail panel and filler, rear shock crossmember, rear crossmember, trunk floor extensions and braces, trunk gutters, and trunk lock support.  Most replacement parts were reproductions, and all sheetmetal parts were Chrysler Authorized Restoration parts.

The car was repainted in its original B-7 Medium Blue Metallic, and major options on the car include a “MusicMaster” AM radio, front disc brakes, air-conditioning, Sure-Grip differential, the aforementioned TorqueFlite automatic transmission, molding group, console, bucket seats, 440 Magnum engine (a 383 was standard on the R/T), hood pins, rear speaker, black vinyl roof, stripe-delete, Rallye wheels, and F70 x 14 raised white-letter tires.

As far as plans for it, Joe considers the car “done.”  It has won numerous awards through 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013, and he plans to take it to the AACA Grand National Meet in Tennessee in 2014.  He says that if the car gets a Grand National Senior Award, “the T/A Radials go on the car, and I stop babying it!”

You're looking at the result of four coats of primer, three coats of paint, and three coats of clear followed by sanding with 2000-grit paper.

Nothing was left untouched as part of the restoration. Everything and anything removable was cleaned, repaired, restored, or replaced.

The engine is a 440 Magnum V-8 bored 0.030 over.

While most of the exterior work was farmed out to professionals, Joe and his son Bill did a fair amount of the interior work themselves.

Upholstered pieces were recovered in vinyl as original.