Muscle cars hold a special place in the hearts of automotive enthusiasts. And few can match the raw power and pedigree of the 1970 Dodge Challenger T/A 340 Six Pack.
This limited-production, high-performance variant was built for Trans Am racing, where it battled against icons like the Ford Mustang Boss 302 and Chevy Camaro Z/28.
Decades later, the 1970 Challenger T/A remains one of the most coveted American pony cars ever made.
Watch the video at the end.
Getting behind the wheel of one is like taking a time machine back to the golden age of Trans Am. You’re instantly transported to an era when raw horsepower and curb appeal mattered more than practicality. This is a car that captures the spirit of Trans Am racing at its peak.
Steeped in Trans Am Heritage
The Challenger T/A was Dodge’s entry into the iconic Trans Am series in 1970. Trans Am had established itself as America’s top road racing championship, pitting Detroit’s pony cars head-to-head on some of the country’s most famous tracks. By 1970, all the major brands were involved in an all-out horsepower war.
Ford entered the Mustang Boss 302, GM brought the Camaro Z/28, and it was the Challenger T/A for Dodge.
These manufacturers knew winning on Sunday meant better sales on Monday, so money was poured into their race programs. A million dollars in 1970 was serious cash, but that’s what it took to be competitive in Trans Am.
The Challenger rode on a longer wheelbase than its twin, the Plymouth Barracuda, giving it better weight distribution.
It was designed to appeal to a more sophisticated buyer looking for speed with style. The T/A took things further with racetrack upgrades that unleashed the car’s performance.
Packing a Powerful Punch
Under the hood, the Challenger T/A housed a 340 cubic-inch V8 that displaced 5.6 liters. It was equipped with three Holley 2-barrel carburetors that gave it the “Six Pack” name.
This tuned engine churned out 290 horsepower, a big number for 1970. The high-flowing intake and free-breathing exhaust meant this mill loved to rev. Combine that with a curb weight under 3,500 pounds, and this Mopar had some of the best power-to-weight in its class.
The shaker hood scoop wasn’t just for show, either. It fed cool outside air directly to the hungry Six Pack engine.
Air gushed into the carburetors via an open-element air cleaner under the hood. The front fenders were adorned with chrome call-outs announcing “340 Six Pack,” so everyone knew what was powering this Challenger.
The T/A package also added front and rear spoilers, a handling suspension, and beefy BFG Radial T/A tires. While it was more street cruiser than track star, the Challenger T/A had the chops to run with the best on road courses or the strip.
The Full Sensory Experience
Driving the Challenger T/A is a full sensory experience. The burble from its free-flowing exhaust announces the big V8 muscle under the hood.
The T-handle Hurst shifter clicks authoritatively into each gear. The interior is swathed in eye-catching metallic hues and sports attractive full gauges.
The T/A grabbed you with its performance, then sealed the deal with its stunning looks. It’s been described as one of the most beautiful pony cars to come out of Detroit.
While build quality left something to be desired compared to European rivals, the Challenger made up for it with style and power.
Despite the big engine, this car is easy to tool around in. You can lazily cruise the Boulevard, soaking up the envious stares. But stab that throttle and hold on.
The 340 Six Pack comes roaring to life, pinning you to the seat as the speedometer swings past illegal in the blink of an eye. The soundtrack matches the thrust, with the multi-carb induction adding layers to the V8’s throaty voice.
Running through the gears via the Hurst shifter is a joy. The action is precise with a satisfying mechanical action.
The chassis leans into corners in that classic Detroit way, not afraid to wallow a bit. But there are limits. With its antiquated recirculating ball steering lacking feel or feedback, you need two hands firmly on the wheel when driving 10/10ths.
Starring in Trans Am
In the 1970 Trans Am series, the Challenger T/A was piloted by Sam Posey. He managed to finagle podium finishes despite the car’s flaws being exposed on road courses.
Racetracks magnified its wayward handling and braking deficiencies. But on fast circuits that rewarded horsepower, Posey used the brute force of the 340 Six Pack to keep the Challenger competitive against the likes of the Mustang and Camaro.
Watching in-car footage of Posey wrestling the Challenger T/A around tracks like Road Atlanta demonstrated his immense skill.
The body rolled and drifted as he worked to keep it planted, sawing at the wheel to retain control. He had to drive around its limitations, relying on engine braking and a feather-light touch to keep this big coupe pointed straight.
The Challenger was never going to dominate the twisty tracks on sheer handling alone. But Posey proved that in the right hands, it had the brawn to contend with the world’s best production cars.
Despite being something of an underdog, the Challenger T/A earned respect by going toe-to-toe against icons like the Porsche 911, Chevrolet Corvette, and AMC Javelin.
Challenger Carries the Torch
The 1970 model year would be the only appearance of the revered Challenger T/A. It was produced in limited numbers, making it instantly collectible to Mopar fans and driving up prices that remain lofty today.
Its handsome styling and brawny V8 performance resonated so strongly that Dodge saw fit to revive the Challenger name in 2008.
The modern Challenger pays tribute to its forebears with throwback styling and available Hemi V8 power.
But as good as the contemporary Challenger is, nothing quite matches the raw, unvarnished muscle of that special 1970 T/A. Its blend of looks, sound, and performance encapsulates the best of Trans Am’s pony car era.
Taking this Mopar legend out on the road is like opening a time portal. As the big V8 barks and exhaust crackles, you find yourself immersed in the sights, sounds, and feels of early 70s Americana.
Other cars of this vintage may post better metrics, but they can’t match the visceral theater of the Challenger. It remains the consummate muscle car time machine.
So, for those who missed out on the glory days of Trans Am and big-block V8s, find yourself a 1970 Dodge Challenger T/A. Fire up its 340 Six Pack, drop the hammer, and let this Mopar street brawler transport you to a magical automotive era. Just be sure to save some gas to get back to the future!
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