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.
In the meantime, Glenn had another 440 rebuilt along with a TorqueFlite and the firmed-up suspension for improved handling. By the time he was finished, Glenn had created a late Challenger that could handle the turns and cut a low-13-second quarter-mile at 108 mph. And if the awards he's taken at several Mopar shows during the last couple of years are any indication, the musclecar fashion police have been successfully averted.
What: '74 Dodge Challenger Rallye
Owner: Glenn ForbushHometown: Riverside, California
Engine: The nonoriginal 440 block in the Challenger when Glenn got it happened to be a '74, as was the next 440 he pulled from a pickup in the junkyard. That one was bored 0.040-over at The Parts Source in Norco, California, and also decked so the Speed-Pro Six-Pack pistons would attain zero deck. Glenn retained the original '74 cast crank, and reconditioned Chrysler LY rods are now fastened with ARP bolts. The balanced rotating assembly is lubed via a Melling high-volume pump with a 11/42-inch pickup drawing from an MP 6-quart pan.
Heads: Sticking with '74 hardware, Glenn had his No. 902 heads treated to polished combustion chambers after the valves were unshrouded. Stainless 2.14/1.81-inch valves are controlled with Mopar Performance springs and stock 1.5:1 shaft rockers. The castings were also gasket matched, as was the intake. With the Six-Pack pistons, these heads create a 9.8:1 compression ratio.
Camshaft: Glenn went with a Mopar favorite: the MP 0.484/0.484-inch lift, 284-degree advertised-duration hydraulic cam.
Induction: Edelbrock's Performer RPM tops the 440 and mounts a Holley 770 Street Avenger carb concealed beneath the repro, drop-base, MP air cleaner.
Exhaust: Once the '74 was freed from the shackles of smog checks, Glenn replaced the '74 440 manifolds with earlier Magnum castings connected to a TTI 211/42-inch mandrel-bent exhaust system with DynoMax Super Turbo mufflers. Factory-style splitter tips fit snugly into the cutouts in the rear valence.
Transmission: Butch Lightfeldt in San Jacinto, California, prepped the TorqueFlite 727 with his street/strip recipe and topped it off with a Hughes 2,500-stall converter. Later on, Glenn added a Gear Vendors Under/Overdrive unit to knock down highway cruise rpm; the unit can also be used to split gears during acceleration.
Rearend: The Chrysler 831/44-inch axle was already under the '74 Challenger when Glenn took ownership, as was the 741 carrier with Sure Grip and 3.91 gears, though Glenn assumes the whole thing was swapped in from an earlier model. A custom driveshaft from Inland Empire Driveline ties it to the Gear Vendors unit.
Suspension: The Rallye suffix added to this Challenger seemed to be Chrysler's way of shifting performance emphasis from acceleration to all-around handling, and Glenn maintains that direction with his alterations. Up front, extra-fat MP 0.96-inch torsion bars work with the stock sway bar and KYB shocks, while MP "XHD" Hemi-style rear leaves collaborate with the factory rear sway bar and more KYBs. The stock power-steering gear has been refurbished with the Firm Feel II treatment to increase responsiveness.
Brakes: The Challenger still wears its stock front discs, while the rear drums have been upgraded to the larger OE 11-inch offerings.
Wheels/Tires: Weld Racing's Rodlite wheels in 15x7 and 15x8 wear BFG Radial T/A rubber; 235/60-15 front and 275/60-15 rear.
Body: The '74 shell was in good shape when Glenn got all four previous paint jobs off, but there was some rust in the quarters. The lower halves were reskinned, and while he was wielding the welder, Glenn grafted in a set of '70-'71 side-marker openings. The rear valence was replaced with a dual-exhaust unit as well. After seeing the factory color, Glenn opted to respray in original Deep Sherwood Green Metallic and is glad he did.