1970 Dodge Charger 500 Parked For Years Emerges With Questionable Changes


Introduced for the 1966 model year as a fancied-up fastback, the Dodge Charger wasn’t particularly popular initially. The first-year Charger moved 37,344 units before sales fell to just 15,788 examples in 1967. Displeased, Dodge redesigned the Charger into a more mainstream muscle car. The new recipe was a success, and the nameplate sold about 185,000 units over the next two model years.
A popular rig back in the day, the late-1960s and early-1970s Charger is among the cars we often find in derelict condition at the junkyard. Granted, the R/Ts usually enjoy a better fate due to their scarcity and more desirable engines, but the regular Chargers aren’t as lucky. This 1970 Charger 500 spent a great deal of time in storage, and it’s now a puzzle of components from various vehicles.

Discovered by the folks at Mopars5150, this Charger isn’t the kind of Mopar they usually rescue. They typically go for rarer drivetrain setups and color combos. But they decided to check this one out anyway and made a purchase.

One of 49,800 units built for the 1970 model year, this Charger is also one of 27,765 examples equipped with the 500 trim. A notable departure from the high-performance Charger 500 of 1969, the 1970 500 was pretty much an upgrade over the base model, including bucket seats, an electric clock, and wheel lip moldings. Also unlike the 1969 version, the 1970 500 wasn’t available with the 440-cubic-inch (7.2-liter) RB or the 426-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) HEMI.

The 500 came standard with the entry-level 318-cubic-inch (5.2-liter) V8, while the options list included two- and four-b arrel variants of the 383-cubic-inch (6.3-liter) big block. This Charger was originally equipped with the two-barrel 383. The unit is no longer under the hood, though. Our host found the Charger sporting a 400-cubic-inch (6.6-liter) V8.


This mill was introduced in 1972, at a time when Chrysler had discontinued its high-compression V8 engines. A replacement for the venerable 383, it remained in production until 1978. It generated 170 to 260 net horsepower and found its way into various automobiles, including the Charger and pickup trucks.

In addition to the engine swap, this Charger is a mix of parts from other cars. The hood is blue on the inside, which doesn’t match the burnt orange hue of the engine bay. The exterior appears to be a poorly applied matte black, a finish Dodge did not offer at the time. The interior, on the other hand, retains its original Dark Burnt Orange color.

So what exactly happened here? Well, the car was taken apart by a previous owner for what he believed would be a restoration. However, life got in the way and he never got around to doing much beyond new upholstery and the engine swap. The Mopar eventually sat for years before it was put back together.

Interestingly enough, the Dark Burnt Orange exterior makes the car somewhat rare. According to the 1970 Charger Registry, only 11.9% of the vehicles produced that year were ordered in this hue. Given that Dodge sold 7,109 Charger 500s with the two-barrel 383, we could be looking at one of fewer than 1,000 units. That number could drop even more if we also factor in the matching interior, but that wouldn’t be statistically correct.

But even if it turns out to be a rare rig, this Mopar won’t get a fully-fledged restoration anytime soon. It will most likely donate many of its parts to other projects, but I guess that’s better than rotting away in a junkyard. Check it out in the video below. The car pops up at the 7:00-minute mark.