1971 Dodge Challenger – Modern Muscle

I don’t consider this car to be a restomod.  It’s different because I took a dead stock over-restored car and put modern technology in it without ever destroying the originality.  How?  By making sure that all changes were strictly bolt-on, so if I wanted I could unbolt them and put the original parts back.  Other than the wheels, the car looked dead stock from the outside.  It drove beautifully!

An excerpt from Mopar Collector’s Guide explains the concept:

Before all you purists out there go berserk, be advised right here, the entire point of these conversions is to prevent purists from going berserk. In recent years, a lot of decent cars have been hacked up and heavily modified by shops across the country to transform them into modern luxury hot rods. In almost all of those cases, there’s no way anyone could ever practically transform those cars back to stock condition given the extensive modifications. With this Challenger, you’re going to be amazed at what was done, how it was done, and how quickly it was done. Working carefully not to damage the immaculate paint and interior, the shop yanked the original 340 and transmission, pulled out the front suspension, the K-member, and then they proceeded to the rear springs and the original 8-3/4″ rear. As scary as all that sounds, remember, each and every one of those assemblies goes on with simple spins of a wrench. Once all the original components were carefully packed away, the Modern Muscle pieces came into view.

An excerpt from MuscleCar Milestones explains the build:

When he purchased it from a friend in Phoenix, Arizona, the car was dead stock, a triple-black model with a 340ci engine. Commenting on the Challenger’s condition, Sefton recalls that, “It was over-restored, so well done it exceeded the value of the car.” Not one to quibble about dollars and cents when it comes to muscle cars, he decided to put even more money into it, adding a number of bolt-on mods that would improve its road manners but not spoil the originality (since he can readily undo those mods).

“I drive all my cars,” he explains, which is no mean feat, considering he owns more than a couple hundred collectibles.

Mike Staveski of Modern Muscle handled the build, which features a stand-alone engine management system for the 597hp 6.1-liter Hemi. This computerized setup allows tuning the car for any climate or fuel, as well as eliminating cold/hot-starting issues common with carbureted fuel systems. Changing parameters is as easy as connecting the cable located in the glovebox to the laptop, and making the needed adjustments.

A combination of Hooker Headers, mandrel-bent exhaust, and Flowmaster mufflers provide the classic sound, while not being overbearing when on the highway. The only visual modifications that stand out are the wheels; otherwise this Challenger looks completely stock inside and out.

Under the hood, tasteful detailing such as a Hemi-branded air cleaner, BBK throttle bodies, and A/N fuel lines and fittings provide clues to this engine’s potential, while not looking over the top or gaudy.

As for the underpinnings, the stock suspension with new leaf springs, torsion bars, and the addition of stiffer polyurethane bushings provides a comfortable ride, while improving the handling characteristics for control and stability at high speed on the highway or while cruising around town. Sub-frame connectors also add to the improved handling and ride, eliminating the flexing and shuddering that was common from the factory. The tires, measuring 17 x 10 inches in the rear provide plenty of traction, and the Torque Thrust wheels add to the car’s visual appeal. Running slightly smaller 16×7-inch front wheels and tires give this Challenger a great stance and presence, while a set of Stainless Steel Brakes with slotted and vented 12 inch rotors bring it to a crisp stop. If only these mods had been available for the original Challenger, what a difference that would have made.

MCG 09-08 2-pageMuscleCar Milestones 2008 2-pageHot Rod 03-09 2-page

Bill Sefton
Bill Sefton
Bill Sefton, Chicago native, and passionate car collector. Currently retired, but still involved in the car collection community. Reach out, happy to connect!