Mopar Collectors Guide :: July 2007

Iron Warrior  —  Street Lethal ’70 Charger R/T

For most of us, one of the bigger decisions we face on a daily basis is to wear a belt or not. If you’re Bill Wiemann, there are a ton of business decisions to be handled daily, but the more pressing issue is which Hemi car to drive today? Bill has more Hemi convertible under one roof than anyone, and scattered amidst those rag tops are a number of other Hemi cars and 440+6 Dodges and Plymouths.  Unlike most collectors of extremely valuable old Mopars, Bill’s philosophy is that, at the end of the day, these are still cars and cars must be driven to be enjoyed. For real, you’re just as likely to see Bill sitting in traffic in Phoenix behind the wheel of a Hemi Cuda convertible as you are to see him driving a modern sport ute or some such thing. We’ve already mentioned in a previous article that Bill drove one of his immaculate Hemi Cuda convertibles back and forth to work at one of his construction sites, in the rain, getting the whole car covered with mud time and again. A lot of readers were shocked by that, but it’s true, and Bill has proven dirt and road grime does indeed wash off a Hemi car when you’re done pounding on it. the newest addition to Bill’s stable, however, has nothing to do with rarity or investment, this is about speed. We’re pleased to highlight Bill’s new ’70 Charger asphalt crusher.

Believe it or don’t, this thing was a parts car two years ago. No joke, when Bill came across this Charger, it was already on the path of being parted out. On one of his visits to fellow Hemi collector Roger Nesham’s place in North Dakota, Bill noticed a derelict black ’70 Charger sitting in Roger’s field. Looking somewhat forlorn, the Charger obviously had no engine or transmission, but it was wearing faded original black plaint. The original red rump stripe was cracked and peeling but still there. Once Bill saw the remains of a tan interior, he seriously liked the wild color combo.

Bailing off into the musty cockpit, he soon had the back seat out and, sure enough, the original broadcast sheet was there confirming the Charger was indeed a factory black/black/red/tan car. Since Roger’s consumed with Hemi cars, he didn’t think much about that old black Charger, so some parts had already been pirated through the years for several Hemi projects. The kicker was that Roger had found the R/T years before sitting on a North Dakota Indian reservation, where it had apparently been sitting for a very long time. After a few beers, a deal with struck, and Bill knew right from the start, this one was going to be an all-out fun car, matching numbers and originality didn’t matter all that much here.

Through the years, Wiemann’s made connections all over the world dealing with old Mopars. Once he decided this wild black Charger needed to be a low altitude flyer, he contacted Tommy and Andrew White at Aloha Automotive Services in Port Washington, Wisconsin. Over the last several decades, the guy sat Aloha have proven their mettle in just about every area of reviving old Mopars. From turning out national aware winning OEM restorations to SEMA quality customs and Pro Touring machines, the Aloha crew has demonstrated they can hang with the best, and their facility allowed them to do just about everything in-house. With several Aloha restored Mopars in the garage already, Bill knew what they were capable of. With a deadline to meet, he also knew they could handle any crisis that may arise. In October of 2006, the black R/T arrived in Wisconsin, and after a few quick reference photos were taken, the hull was pushed in the shop where disassembly began.

The problem of the missing lower quarter panels was the most obvious issue, but as the paint came off, the guys breathed a cumulative sigh of relief. Thanks to this one having spent its life in an arid climate, there were no evil secrets under the black paint. After the Charger was torn apart to being a bare shell, the body was placed on a rotisserie, then everything was taken down to the bare metal and precious little rust was uncovered. The guys welded on new quarter panels to replace the hacked on originals, then the parking lot dings and dents were smoothed out with hammer and dolly in anticipation of the black paint to come. As always, when a car’s going to be this black, there cannot be the slightest flaw in the body or the midnight paint is going to draw a lot of attention to it. In short order, the flanks were straight and the Charger was sitting back on the ground.

From the outset the Charger’s build was intended to be a mixture of modern high-tech elements with a very careful eye toward originality and muscle car heyday nostalgia. Since this was a pretty rare car to being with, Bill didn’t want to do anything that would offend hardcore collectors or change something that would be difficult to correct if the decision was ever made to return everything back to stone stock condition.

Transforming a two ton ’70 Charger into a 170 mph Viper-like monster while retaining mostly original 1970 equipment and technology is a challenge. Thankfully, the factory built these cars unholy tough to begin with, so they’re capable of handling a lot more than the factory ever envisioned. Taking stock, the guys discovered a lot more original equipment could be retained that anyone anticipated.

Unlike other Pro Touring cars, looking under Bill’s Charger brings a lot of familiar sights. The way this thing sits, one would expect a tubular K-member, and independent rear, and a host of wild suspension components. While expensive and difficult to engineer, such modifications have become the norm with high-speed touring muscle cars these days. As you can see, there’s non of that here. Just about everything under the Charger has been rebuilt stem to stern to stock specs. There are original heavy-duty leaf springs out back and conventional torsion bars up front. Aside from sway bars, there’s little underneath to indicate any handling updates to whatsoever. Of course, the huge Wilwood disc brake rotors ar all four corners do catch the eye. Although the frame has been tied to add a bit more rigidity, the job is so sanitary, most Ford and Chevy guys would think the car left the factory this way. The Charger’s way cool stance is achieved the old-fashioned way; cracked down torsion bars and low, fat tires. Torq-Thrust II’s are mounted all around with 17x11s on the rear and 17x8s up front. The wide rubber out back comes in the form of BFGoodrick G-Force 315/35/17 radials.

Since this one left the factory with such a bizarre color scheme, there was never any doubt that it would be finished back in the strange color combo. Aloha applied a gleaming black base coat/clear coat paint job, topped it off with a fresh black vinyl top, then finished the whole works with the original red R/T rump stripe. All the chrome and stainless was either replaced, polished to a mirror sheen, or replaced to look better that it did back in 1970.

A new and correct tan Legendary interior replaced the shattered remnants of the original skins. Some very interesting and subtle touches were placed throughout the cockpit. The steering wheel looks like something the Charger was born with, but in fact is a custom Grant wheel with legit wood, not the woodgrained plastic like the originals. In the center of the dash you’ll find a pioneer Premier stereo and CD changer attached to amps well hidden behind the back seat and equally well hidden Boston Acoustics speakers located throughout the interior.

Okay, we’ve teased you long enough with all the details except the major one you’re most curious about. How do you make a ’70 Charger go that fast without taking a lot of weight off or resorting to a lot of exotic suspension and rear end mods? With sheer horsepower. The Aloha boys started with a 440 block, punched it out, installed a stroker crank and a Comp Cams hydraulic roller, and voila, they had a 496″ monster to work with. the engine uses a very conservative 10.5:1 compression ratio, enabling it to live on pump gas, but the massaging inside and out reaped huge benefits. Atop the black you’ll find a pair of Edelbrock aluminum heads reworked by Indy Cylinder Heads with roller rockers, a Mopar Performance dual plane intake supporting a Demon 850 carb. An MSD self contained electronic ignition system with lights and fires, and TTI headers handle the leftovers. The results; the engine dyno’d at 600 horses and produced just over 640 ft. lbs, of torque! Yes it can play tug of war with a bull dozer and probably win. Bearing the full brunt of those six hundred angry ponies is a Keisler four-speed overdrive automatic transmission flowing back to an innocent looking 8-3/4″ rear. The rear now holds a set of Randy’s Ring & Pinion 3.91 gears and heavy-duty axles, so all is not quite as it would appear on the outside.

After only four months, start-to-finish, the Charger was delivered back to Bill for his highway cruising pleasure. Has he seen 170 mps in the R/T yet? It’s hard to say, because the speedometer still only goes to 150 mph. There have been many reports of a black and red blur on the highways north of Phoenix, however. Watch for this on an interstate near you, or maybe even at the drive-in on Saturday nights if you happen to live in Arizona. Since this one combines the best of old-school and new-school technology, the miles are rolling up on the odometer rather quickly. The former Indian reservation relic has caused a lot of multi-million dollar Hemi cars to wait their turn for some action out on the tarmac!

 

Story by: Mopar Collectors Guide

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