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1974 Dodge Challenger Rallye - Back-Dated

Borrowing From The Past For Style Points.

Photography by Terry McGean

If you're a guy, and there's a woman in your life and cable or satellite hooked up to your TV, you've been forced to watch some form of fashion programming. We know you tried your best to avoid it, but you probably managed to glean from it a thing or two about style, if only that some things are very right while other, seemingly similar things are just wrong, even if you still can't tell the difference.

If you think about it, car guys have their own version of style dos and don'ts, and the line between hero and loser is similarly thin. For example, would your wife be able to explain why a '70 Challenger is coveted while a '74 is shunned? To her, they're nearly the same, but you can't get past the way the bumpers jut off each end of a car that was previously one of the sweetest designs to leave Detroit. Adding insult to injury, the massive rubber bumper guards are like horn-rimmed glasses complementing an overbite. Inside, where once the mighty Hemi could be optioned, the wildest remaining choice was a watered-down 360.

Glenn Forbush gets this. He's lusted for the '70 Challenger ever since seeing Vanishing Point as a 13-year-old. He even did something about it back in the '80s by getting his very own '70 E-body and fitting it with a warmed-over 440 and all the requisite goodies. But then it was time to be a dad, so the car had to go. At the time, Glenn didn't sweat it too much-he felt that building the car was at least half the fun and looked forward to a time when he could start the next project. But when that day came 14 years later, all the other guys who saw Vanishing Point when they were teenagers had driven the value of the early E-bodies into the stratosphere.

Determined to get back behind the wheel of an E-car from the Dodge boys, Glenn kept an open mind and found a '74 Challenger Rallye. He saw past the flaws inflicted by crash standards, fuel-economy concerns, and smog regulations, all the way through to the sheetmetal silhouette. Underneath was really the same car, and he'd prove it.

The Rallye was Dodge's replacement for the R/T line, which began just as big-blocks ended in '72, almost as if Dodge knew it needed to reposition the car for the impending lack of power. Handling equipment replaced brute force to the extent that a 318 two-barrel was standard issue. That's just how Glenn's left the factory, but someone in between had slipped in a 440.

All was well until the niggling detail of a few chips in the blue paint revealed a blinding yellow beneath; attempting to deal with it was like the initial tug of an errant thread on a knit sweater. A quick respray turned into paint jail; then the unraveling compounded. "I wound up taking the car home, eventually removing the engine, trans, interior, and glass. It went way beyond the simple repaint it was supposed to be."

Making the most of the situation, Glenn took the opportunity to right the wrongs performed at the factory. The ungainly 5-mph bumpers and their rubber filler panels were scrapped in favor of a set of new '70-'72 bumpers mounted properly with the appropriate brackets obtained from eBay. Glenn even went so far as to graft in the early side-marker openings so the flush-mount lights could be used in place of the snap-in '72-and-later corporate side markers, an operation he performed himself when frustrating body shops drove him to get educated in panel work. In the end, the car was resprayed its original Deep Sherwood Green Metallic after Glenn revealed some during the stripping process and fell in love.

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