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1974 Dodge Challenger Hellcat (Restomod)

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1974 Dodge Challenger Hellcat (Restomod)

Background

This auction will be going live on Tuesday the 3rd of November. 



The Dodge Challenger was the firm’s answer to Ford’s Mustang. Late to the party, it arrived (sideways, no doubt, and in a cloud of tyre smoke…) in 1970 as either the Challenger or Challenger R/T.

While the base Challenger had a 3.7-litre, straight-six engine under the bonnet, the top-spec R/T (‘Road/Track’) had a 6.3-litre, 335bhp V8 as standard, while other engines spanned the range up to a 7.2-litre V8 and up to 490bhp. It really was an all-American muscle car.

For a while, because the Challenger had deteriorated into a pale imitation of itself just four years later: out went the Hemi, the 440, the 426 and the 383 Magnum and in its place was the gutless 5.2-litre – and 150bhp just doesn’t cut it when you have 3,225lb of Challenger to move; by now more My Little Pony than genuine pony muscle car, the once great Challenger ended its short four-year run with a 0-60mph time of ten whole seconds.

Unsurprisingly, the Challenger was dead and buried by 1975.

And yet, you can’t keep a good car down and there are a few talented folk out there who are prepared to exhume the Challenger, to exorcise its demons, and to turn it into the car it should have been.

Like this.

The Vehicle

Finished in Mopar Snakeskin Green and hosting a modern Dodge Hellcat engine, this 707bhp monster is the ultimate sleeper - and whereas the modern car weighs a not inconsiderable 4,448lbs, this svelte classic boasts an incredible 4.2lbs/bhp or two pounds per-horsepower less weight than the 2020 Hellcat that donated its engine.

It handles too thanks to custom suspension from Control Freaks, the category leading firm who donated the bespoke parts necessary to craft a genuine one-off classic muscle car the likes of which we rarely see this side of the Atlantic.

UK registered and classified as an historic vehicle for tax purposes, it has been health-checked and is available for worldwide export, something the vendor would be happy to help facilitate.

On the Outside

The original body was mounted on a rotisserie and treated to a full restoration before being sprayed in Mopar’s signature Snakeskin Green factory hue. The fit ‘n’ finish is exceptional with fabulous panel alignment, tight and even shutlines, and an absence of dents, dinks and other damage.

And then there’s the paint, which gleams in an almost unholy way. Vibrant and unusual, the colour is wonderfully offset by the twin chin spoilers, matt black bonnet, and black grille – and that’s just from the front; the side view reveals a huge bonnet scoop bearing the legend ‘supercharged’, smoked indicator repeater lenses, tinted windows, and that gorgeous rear decal that swoops over the rear fenders and boot lid.

Plus, six-spoke 18-inch alloy wheels. Beautifully finished and free of any scrapes and scuffs, they’re shod with matching Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres, 255/40ZR18 at the front and 295/35ZR18 at the rear. A set of Wilwood brake calipers, six-piston at the front and four at the rear, peek out from behind them - but then who else are you gonna call when you’re trying to rein in 707bhp?

Plus, as we will never tire of explaining, our experience shows that matching high-quality tyres are an infallible sign of a caring and mechanically sympathetic owner who is prepared to spend the appropriate amount in maintaining their car properly. Their presence does not, of course, preclude the need for a thorough inspection - something the vendor would welcome, by the way – but it does perhaps give you a shortcut into their attitude towards maintenance.

The rear features quad exhaust tailpipes, smoked rear light lenses, and a full-width black panel that serves to emphasize those massive rear tyres.

Problems? Well, there are cracks in the paint at the base of the rear window but aside from that all there is to find fault with is the odd minor stonechip and blemish. It really is every bit as good as it looks in the photos but please don’t take our word for it because the vendor would love the opportunity to show it to you in person.

On the Inside

The interior, including the dash, headlining and seats, has been completely retrimmed in matching Alcantara with factory SRT Hellcat call outs. The work, as you can see from the photo gallery, has been done to a usually good standard and it looks even better in the flesh.

The rear seat is the standard vinyl item, and the rear parcel shelf is home to two high-end speakers that channel the output from the modern Pioneer head unit.

An Intelletronix 6-gauge dash panel, complete with vibrant green dials, keeps tabs on all the car’s vital signs – and that green theme is also picked up with accents on the door cards and centre console.

The latter also plays host to a Cheetah SCS gear shifter (“America’s Best Shifter”), with its semi-exposed mechanism - and no gearbox with an automatic shift pattern has ever looked sexier, has it?

The boot is finished in a crinkle-finish rather than carpeted, a pragmatic solution and one that suits the car’s nature. It’s home to the car’s battery too, and that battery is centrally mounted for the best possible weight distribution.

Work to do seems to be limited to tidying up some of the underdash wiring and fitting the Pioneer head unit into the dashboard a bit more neatly.

Underneath

The 1974 Snakeskin Green Hellcat really does offer you the best of both worlds as the lightweight vintage body has been crossbred with a modern Hellcat engine that feeds its 700+bhp to the rear wheels via a custom (and expensive…) drivetrain and chassis, making it both lean AND mean.

How did it get there?

Well, the 525-pound iron engine went in the bin along with its aging K-member, suspension, steering, and drum brakes. A factory fresh Hellcat crate engine started the diet, shedding a massive 125lbs from the car’s weight at a stroke.

That power is sent to the rear wheels via a bulletproof 727 automatic transmission modified for this build with a reverse valve body and a Cheetah SCS shifter. For the unanointed, this means that the automatic transmission is shifted manually but with no clutch. It also eliminates the danger of accidentally being shifted into neutral at high RPM.

It really is a very clever bit of kit that brings the best of both worlds to this ultra-high-performance car.

Control Freaks designed a Strange Engineering Ford 9” nodular iron rear end that is fitted with a highway friendly 3.00:1 rear differential because, let’s face it, with this much power there’s simply no benefit to having a 4:11 ratio.

Cruising at a motorway sanctioned 70mph the engine is turning over very slowly for a car that is fitted with a three-speed gearbox but should you want to cut the interior noise even further then there is a key fob operated cut-out on the x-pipe, which turns it into an even quieter y-pipe.

A corner-carving tubular K-member and independent front suspension from Control Freaks were grafted on too – and this shaved another 121lbs into the bargain. Rack and pinion steering came to the cause along with modern vented brake discs.

Further weight reductions come from a fiberglass bonnet and wings, or hood and fenders if you prefer. Numerous modern other components contribute to its hugely impressive power-to-weight ratio.

The engine bay is so neatly presented, and the work has been done so well, that it looks like a factory installation – and praise really doesn’t come any higher than that, does it?

The underside, on the other hand, looks anything but stock but then that’s only to be expected when it’s been handcrafted to suit this particular application. However, bespoke installations rarely look this neat and we simply can’t find anything under there we don’t like, which is high praise when you’re as pernickety as we are…

History Highlights

The Challenger’s MOT certificate is valid until December 2020. This in itself is remarkable; exempt by virtue of its age, not many folk would be confident enough to expose a car like this to the rigours of an independent third-party inspection…

It has a huge history file comprising invoices and bills plus handbooks and installation instructions, a considerate act that should ease future maintenance considerably.

Please visit the documents section of the gallery of this listing where you will find photos of this and other paperwork to support our claim that this car has been built to an impeccable standard.

If you’d like to inspect the car prior to placing a bid – something we would encourage – then please use the Contact Seller button to arrange an appointment.

What We Think

Like the Ford Mustang SVT ‘Terminator’ Cobra we’re selling from the same vendor, this Dodge Challenger Hellcat seamlessly blends classic looks and 21st century engineering, and while the former is all Ford, the latter is a beguiling believes of custom engineering that cherry picks the best solution from a variety of sources including Dodge, Wilwood, and Control Freaks.

The result is one of the most compelling cars we’ve ever seen – and one of the fastest. And yet, for all its straight-line, drag-strip speed, this is a car that’s as much at home carving a line along your favourite country road as it is setting new quarter-mile records.

It’s an eye-catcher too, which makes its guide price of somewhere between £79,000 and £100,000 seem like fine value to us. After all, you’re not going to see another, are you?

And it, alongside the Mustang, would make a wonderful two-car garage, wouldn’t it?

Viewing is always encouraged, and this particular car is located with the vendor in Harrogate, North Yorkshire; to arrange an appointment please use the Contact Seller button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.

This vehicle is not with us at The Market’s HQ, which means we have had to rely on the owner’s description of it, in conjunction with the photographs you see here, to compile the listing.

With this in mind, we would encourage potential bidders to contact the owner themselves and arrange to view the car in person, or to arrange a dedicated video call in which they can view the car virtually and ask questions.

If needed, please remember we have a network of trusted suppliers we work with regularly and can recommend: Classic & Sportscar Finance for purchase-financing, Footman James for classic car insurance Thames Valley Car Storage for storing your car and an array of regional providers for transporting it.

BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we never stop encouraging bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at the vehicles delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.

Also, localised paint repairs are common with collectable and classic cars and if they have been professionally carried out then they may be impossible to detect, even if we see the car in person. So, unless we state otherwise, please assume that any vehicle could have had remedial bodywork at some point in its life.

Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using simple cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.

Please note that this is sold as seen and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. See our FAQs for more info, and feel free to inspect any vehicle as much as you wish.

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123max

  • Location: Harrogate, Yorkshire
  • Odometer Reading: 500
  • Chassis Number: JH23L4B302272
  • Engine: 6166
  • Gearbox: semi
  • Color: Mopar Snakeskin Green
  • Interior: Alcantara

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