OWNERS: Ken & Jan Katarynchuk 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T SE
PINKY - 1970 DODGE CHALLENGER R/T SE
This is a 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T SE and is a factory (FM3) Panther Pink 383-4 speed car that left the factory with the "ultra rare" magenta side stripes. (R/T= Road and Track, SE= Special Edition). The Challenger was purchased new off the showroom floor at Chinook Chrysler (Calgary, Alta.) by Steve Melynk, July 1970. Also, 1970 is the first production year for the Dodge Challengers. There was a total of 83,032 Challengers built for the 1970 model year which include hardtops, coupes, T/A’s and convertibles with all engine and tranny combinations, and from the total Challenger production there were 3,979 R/T SE’s built, with only 400 coming with the 383 engine and 4 speed tranny. Dodge had also introduced the (FM3) high impact Panther Pink paint mid way through the 1970 model year, and there were only 7 examples that left the factory with this engine, tranny and color combination. Along with the above options there was only 3 of the 7 that came with the "ultra rare" fluorescent Magenta side stripes. As of March 2009 there are (184) Challenger R/T SE’s in Galen’s Chrysler Registry, and with this Panther Pink 383-4 speed R/T SE with the magenta side stripes being the only one "known to exist", 39 years after rolling off the assembly line. We had purchased the Challenger from the 4th owners from southern Saskatchewan (Feb 2001) and talked to all previous owners. As of this writing 3 owners had this car a total of 34 years. The 1st owner 11 years, the 4th owner 15 years, and we now had the car 8 years. (34 of 39 years of its life). The (FM3) Panther Pink paint color was a $14.05 extra cost option.
The previous owner had sent us pictures of the Challenger wearing white paint, along with the fender tag information (as the Challenger was painted white by the 3rd owner in the early 80’s when the Panther Pink paint was showing its age), the tranny painted "John Deere" yellow, rear axle painted white and the engine compartment painted black with a brush when they had the engine out for rebuilding.
After decoding the fender tag and viewing the pictures we agreed on a price. The car was in Kincaid Sask. a 12 hr. drive for us one way. We arrived in Kincaid Sat morning, checked the Challenger for the numbers matching engine and tranny which were all in place along with the normal performance enhancing upgrades, aluminum high rise intake manifold, headers and air shocks that so many cars had back then. With everything in place we had paid for the car, got the bill of sale and was headed home with the car on our trailer. We had taken the car in, for an out of province inspection, and ordered personalized license plates that said "PINK RT". We had driven the car to numerous car shows over the next 4 years painted white with license plates that said "PINK RT". We were asked more than a few times why we had those plates on a white car, which we had to explain.
We started taking the car apart for a full rotisserie restoration in APRIL 2005, and had stripped the Challenger to a bare shell then the carcass was hauled to a shop to be dipped in an alkaline tank for 2-3 days (to remove paint, oil, grease and seam sealer). This process is usually when the can of worms opens up on a 35yr old Canadian car body, rusted out floor pans along with the trunk floor and pop riveted wheelhouse patches all showed up. The Challenger was hauled over to a shop for all the metal work and repairs that were classified as standard repairs in the early 80’s. It needed, floor pans, trunk floor, issues with the inner and outer wheel houses, minor repairs to the bottom of both doors along with firewall issues by the heater box. A rust free donor car body was acquired from Ronan, Montana and was a great asset for this project. All metal work was done, including full quarters to the factory seams. Joey’s Place in Edmonton was called upon to do the prep - paint they do so well.
It seemed to take forever to do the prep work, but once the Panther Pink paint was applied it seemed all worthwhile, as the prep work is a major part of the finished product. It has been 27 years since anybody had seen this Challenger wearing the Panther Pink paint color it left the factory with. The proper intake and exhaust manifolds, carburetor and distributor were rounded up and Harvey Pahl was selected to rebuild the numbers matching 383 engine. LM’s polish & detail had done the final block sand and polish prior to installing anything on the exterior of the car. The next stop was back to Joey’s Place for some more assembly, then to Kori’s place in Red Deer for his personal touch then home to be finished.
The Panther Pink paint was an option for the 1970 year only, with the odd one or two cars that slipped out in the 1971 model year. Production for the 1970 model year started Aug 1-1969 even though the first known Challenger in the Chrysler Registry with the (FM3) Panther Pink paint code was built Feb 26 1970, already six plus months into production and this Challenger was built June 23 -1970.
The car is as correct as possible even with the overspray on the bottom side of the floor pans as the factory did, in 1970, as not all restoration shops prefer to do it this way, but is the customer’s personal preference.
The car was finished for the 2005 car show season where we took in shows at Calgary, Las Vegas, Nevada, Kalispell Montana, Bellevue Washington, Edmonton, Red Deer and numerous towns throughout Alberta. The car was well received at Las Vegas, as Robert Wolf, with Mopar Collectors Guide Magazine did a photo shoot and featured the Super Bee in the Sept. 2005 issue with a four-page layout. It also caught the eye of David Newhardt (a well known photographer in the car world), who took pictures for a hard covered book called "Muscle" Americas Legendary Performance Cars.
This Challenger had left the factory painted Panther Pink with the Magenta side stripes along with p/s, pdb, bucket seats, console w/pistol grip shifter, overhead consolette w/door ajar, low fuel and seat belt warning lights, sport hood, hood performance treatment, hood pins, rear spoiler, rim blow steering wheel, (10 watt) factory am radio with stereo 8 track, dual painted racing mirrors, an 8¾ - 3.23 sure grip rear axle and was undercoated from the factory.
There is a total of 97 Panther Pink Challengers in the Chrysler Registry out of the 83,032 built for the 1970 model year with all engine and tranny combo’s, and the Panther Pink cars were only built at the Hamtramck Mi. or the Los Angeles Ca. assembly plants.
The Challenger has won numerous awards on both sides of the border, along with 4 magazine features, TV interviews along with an article in the Edmonton Sun.
We took in car shows at Belvidere IL, Las Vegas NV, Edmonton, Calgary, Drayton Valley, Calmar, and Edson AB, along with Merritt and Kamloops B.C.
Challenger base price $2851.00 - R/T price $3498.00
I would like to thank everybody that helped out on this Challenger, as it is a very rare and unique car, with the list of options it left the factory with.
The Challengers latest feature is in the Nov 09 issue of MUSCLE CAR REVIEW. (photo shoot taken at Mopars at the Strip, Las Vegas NV. March 09)
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