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The Challenger was Dodge’s answer to pony cars such as the Mustang and Camaro. Like it’s cousin, the third-generation Plymouth Barracuda, the first Dodge Challenger was only available from 1970-1974. Here is an overview of the many Dodge Challenger powertrains and trim levels as well as what they’re worth today.

What engine is in a 1970 Dodge Challenger?

The first-generation Challenger was a coupe designed around Dodge’s largest big-block V8s. That said, its entry-level engine was still the 225 cubic inch I6. Its most powerful engine was a 426 cubic-inch Hemi V8 designed for NASCAR.

A new (2006) Dodge Challenger concept car and an original 1970 Dodge Challenger cruise together down a Detroit road.
2006 Dodge Challenger concept and 1970 Dodge Challenger | Jeffrey Sauger/Bloomberg News via Getty Images

Like many Chrysler Corporation vehicles of the era, the 1970 Dodge Challenger’s entry-level engine was the steadfast slant six. This engine came with a three-speed manual transmission. You could upgrade the entry-level Challenger with V8 options, such as the 318 cubic-inch V8.

The 1970 Challenger’s performance version was the Challenger R/T trim (available as a coupe or convertible). This trim’s base engine was the 383 cubic inch “Magnum” V8 which made 335 horsepower. The 440 Magnum was a relatively low compression big-block V8 option that made 375 horsepower. The 426 Hemi was a high-compression V8 engineered for NASCAR and sold in the Challenger for stock car race homologation. It made 425 horsepower.

Buyers could choose to upgrade their Challengers to a four-speed manual or an automatic transmission. You can tell an R/T from its badging or its “Rallye” instrument cluster with a 150 mph speedo.

In 1970, Dodge hoped there was a market for a more luxurious coupe. For that one model year it offered a “Special Edition” package on both Challengers and Challenger R/Ts. This visual package included badges, a vinyl roof, and a smaller rear window. Why? Because luxury cars had smaller rear windows.

Are 1970 Dodge Challengers rare?

There are certainly many 1970 Dodge Challengers available for sale, more than some truly rare classic cars. But with only 165,437 first-generation Challengers built between 1970 and 1974, there are less of them available than other classic pony cars such as the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro.

Bright orange 1970 Dodge Challenger coupe parked in front of a river.
1970 Dodge Challenger restomod | Craig Ruttle/Bloomberg News via Getty Images

At the time of this writing (February 2023), Autotrade’s classic car page lists 33 Dodge Challengers from 1970 for sale. Ebay currently has 11 Dodge Challengers from 1970 up for auction. If you widen these searches to any first-generation Challenger (1970-74) you have 113 options. There are also some lower dollar Challengers in need of restoration listed on locals Craigslists, but these are less common every year.

How much is a 1970 Dodge Challenger worth?

Extremely rare 1970 Dodge Challengers can sell for over $1 million, while show-quality restorations regularly fetch six figures. The average sale price reported to is $95,100. Rolling chassis in need of restoration still sometimes sell in the $30k range.

Reddish pink 1970 Dodge Challenger rare T/A Trans America trim parked in front of a mountain ridge.
1970 Dodge Challenger T/A 1970 | Simon Clay for National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images

Challengers that are “numbers matching” with the original engine and transmission command a premium. Likewise, true 1970 Challenger R/Ts fetch more than R/T “clones” with performance engines and badges added later.

Another category of Challenger that often sells for over $100k is a well done “restomod” or first-generation Challenger with a modern engine installed. Obviously there’s a huge range of restomods, so it’s worth looking into the shop that did the conversion.

One great way to double-check the current value of a classic car is to sort Ebay by “completed” auctions. This way you can see what buyers actually paid for a given year or trim level, as opposed to current listing prices.

Next, learn about the Shelby equivalent custom Plymouth Barracuda: the Savage GT or watch the 1970 Challenger R/T reviewed in the video below:

Next, learn all about the world’s most famous 1970 Dodge Challenger, the Black Ghost in this next video:

You can watch PowerNation’s entire rebuild of a 1970 Challenger in this final video: