1970 Challenger Gary F
1970 Challenger RT 440 Six Pack Shaker Hood
Photos and story by Cam Hutchins
It seems every other day another unbelievable “Barn Find” emerges to whet the car lovers appetite so that no private property will soon be safe from prying eyes. Finding a Panther Pink Challenger with big block and 4-speed may be the stuff of legends…but how about finding it in a parkade of an apartment 1.5 blocks away from the beach in Waikiki?
The Lower Mainland’s Gary Fedyk had been looking for a muscle car to restore and had for a while decided the E Body Cuda or Challenger was the perfect Car for cruises and long weekend drives. The long odyssey that Fedyk has been on with this 1970 Panther Pink Challenger is more about preserving one of the coolest Challengers possible, than a restoring a weekend cruiser.
In 2005 Fedyk and friends were in Hawaii and while the friends were on a long walk got a little lost and were wandering down the back alleys between apartment buildings. Spying the forlorn flat black Challenger with the pistol shifter 4-speed and a liberal coating of dust they rushed back to tell Fedyk of their discovery. Upon seeing the flat black paint and awful condition it did not look like the car for him.
They opened the rally hood and noticed the pink paint which also matched the pink paint of the floor boards evident since the carpet had been removed. Writing down the VIN and the numbers off the fender tag, he soon found out FM3 meant it was supposed to be the now very desirable Panther Pink. Fedyk thought it was cool but not the right car for him.
Once back home he contacted a local Mopar expert who quickly decoded the tag and informed Fedyk it was a true Panther Pink car with 440 cu. In. Motor with six pack, and manual 4-speed transmission. But wait it gets better, this car is super rare as only 5 cars with 440 cu. In. motors got painted Panther Pink with Shaker Hoods and the N96 of the fender tag confirmed this was a shaker hood car. Fedyk was told to jump on a plane and immediately go back and buy the car, Fedyk declined but asked a pilot friend to look into it on his next flight to Oahu. The Pilot found the owner and found out the challenger was not for sale.
The next year Fedyk went to Hawaii he went to meet the owner Kirk. Kirk had bought the car in 1983 and knew exactly what it was and it was absolutely not for sale. He is a bit secretive since he also had a ‘68 Charger440 and a ‘68 Coronet 440 R/T that were going to be restored. Kirk had began buying parts from Mopar almost 20 years to allow him to restore the car with NOS parts. The original owner had kept the 6-pack and manifold and original hood and they had come with the car. Fedyk was convinced now that this was the car he wanted! As any good salesman would, Fedyk said good-bye…but knew he would be back.
While waiting a whole year to get back to Hawaii he had found out there were a few Mopar Gurus on the Islands and got to know Mike Sittman very well. Sittman was good friends with Kirk and knew about the car as well.
After a number of years of keeping in contact with the Island Mopar guys and meeting with Kirk every year finally in late 2008 Fedyk sat down with Kirk and a deal was hammered out and Fedyk started getting all the info he could about the car.
Gary’s friendships with the Island Mopar guys helped him learn about the muscle car scene in Hawaii and the dealership that sold the car new. Hawaiian Motors had a several locations around the islands and were wholly owned by the Chrysler Corporation.
Hunkering down in Libraries looking at Public archive’s microfiche may not sound like the typical Hawaiian vacation but this was beginning to be normal for the Fedyks. Looking at old ads in the local papers and any other stories or documents available on Hawaiian motors they came across photos and names of the salesmen. They started calling past salesmen and employees of the dealerships.
One fellow they contacted, Harry Blatico, categorically stated after Fedyk said he was looking about any info on a certain car bought at their dealership that “we sold a lot of muscle cars…there is now way I will remember any of them” This may be due to the fact that Hawaiian Motors CEO Clarence Young got a big award for selling the most Mopars out of all the United States in 1968 -69 -70.
He asked Fedyk what kind of car it was and upon hearing it was a Panther Pink 70 Challenger, Blatico immediately said he remembered it well…could be that although now loved so much…the Plymouths painted Panther Pink and Dodges painted Moulin Rouge did not sell well. The fellow mentioned the car arrived in time for the 1970 Hawaiian Auto Show and was Hawaiian Motors entry for the auto show. Although certain groups of people swarmed the car and professed love for it…no one stepped up to buy it.
The car had been driven 58,000 miles in the first decade of it’s life before ending up on the side of road with a “4-sale” sign in the window. It was painted Flat Black and had a tunnel Ram sticking through the hood. A couple of military guys were looking to buy the car for it’s motor, but lost out to the Kirk who promised to one day restore the car. Although the car was not running well when he bought it in 1983 he swapped the tunnel ram for a single 4 barrel and left it in the parking garage where it stayed…un-driven…for 23 years.
Luckily the first owners name was rare enough to easily find the phone number in the phonebook. This led Fedyk to meet Domedes Jaun in his 70’s and he was pleased the car was going to be restored and now Fedyk had the history on the car’s “first” life.
It turns out Bill Duque, a salesman at the dealership, called his friend…and Domedes who was working as a chef in a restaurant, went to take a look at it. He hopped on the bus and upon seeing the bright pink car with it’s “Sparkling Bubble” sticking out of the hood struck a deal for under $4,000 in June of 1970. Set up the way it was from the factory, this car was meant for street racing and the new owner did his share of that.
One evening Jaun recalls getting 4 speeding tickets…but he still kept street racing and eventually ended up installing a dual quad tunnel ram set-up. Cruising the local strip and Ziggys drive in where other car guys hung out, the car raced whenever it got a chance.
After the sale to Fedyk the car had been towed to Mike Sittman’s place where is was put into a container and shipped to Tacoma and then imported into Canada February 2009. Once arriving home, Fedyk got in contact with Dave West who had recently restored another extremely rare shaker hood car…one of only 2 challengers with a shaker hood and a 4-bbl carb.
West gave Fedyk a copy of Hemmings from 2008 that had the story of the sister car to Fedyks…the number 3 Panther Pink car with a shaker hood and it had found in Alaska!
Fedyk’s car was stripped apart and although there is no salt used on the roads in Hawaii to combat ice…there is salt everywhere in the air and the Hawaiian cars rust differently than on the West Coast of Canada. Quarters had previously been repaired but were repaired a second time using NOS parts as well as the trunk floor. Curiously the rockers were fine. The body was sent to Travis in Maple Ridge for the ultimate rotisserie repairs and paint to the body.
Meanwhile West and Fedyk took stock of the large amount of NOS parts that Kirk had acquired and looked at which parts needed restoring or replacing. The hood, trunk, door, latches and hinges all were restored by Jules Daddio “The Wiper Man” who restored all the latches and bolts to the exact silver zinc or black phosphate to be exact right color.
With all the information acquired about the car, soon the info on the Panther Pink challenger was sent to Galen Govier and he agreed it was an extremely early Production Panther Pink car. Fedyk’s Pink Car was the first of five Panther Pink Challengers to get a Shaker hood with the 440 six pack.
Finding NOS parts may seem easier with the advent of the internet. But because of the rarity of this car even NOS parts had to have the correct date stamp to ensure these could of been the parts used on the car.
Once back at West’s shop it was reassembled. One of West’s specialties is the correct overspray of paint and inspection markings etc. to make this car exactly as it came from the factory. A couple of other minor, but correct details, the car was painted in acrylic enamel like original. Wanting to keep the original door tags intact the inner doors were sanded and painted around the tag while leaving no ridge around tag.
As will all Challengers all the dipsticks are darker orange because they are sourced from a supplier outside of the engine plant. They dipped in paint and hung upside down to dry leaving a drip mark.
Lordco provided the parts and did the engine rebuild but the original pistons and cam were used but with new bearings etc .The motor was extremely clean with minimal wear. Al Stoltz out of Kelowna did the transmission and has all the correct markings. The six pack assembly was restored by Scott at Harm’s Automotive.
The build sheet was found under the rear seat and verifies all options and equipment on the car including the rare looking gas cap is correct as the car came from the factory. The car was built and shipped just in time for the 1970 Hawaiian Auto show and as it was provided from the dealership and there is no indication it was changed in any way before the show. Sometime locally provided cars from dealerships have dealer installed options etc.
Recently after the car had been completed for over a year, date code correct front rubber brake lines have just been found and installed. The car has been followed closely as it was restored by all the friends…here and on the Hawaiian Islands… that Fedyk has made since finding this car. Regular phone calls and e-mails between all parties have made this project more than a Barnfind story…more like the quest for the Holy grail and it’s restoration!
I got to shoot photos of this amazing in August not far from the owners home and seeing as it only has 8 miles on it, I feel fortunate to have got to see it drive. One thing about these ultra rare cars, to drive them after so many hours of work perfecting them is a major commitment. The car’s value is only outweighed but it’s shocking Pink paint…but whatever colour you see, it all ends up as pure Gold!
R/T package as are all 440 equipped cars.
Panther Pink Paint with Black longitude Stripe and “Astrotone Silver” (Listed as a medium texture Argent Silver DNA 8575)Air cleaner lid.
440 cu. In. Engine complete with 3x2bbl carbs
4 speed manual transmission complete with Pistol Shifter
4.10 Dana rear-end
Power Disc front brake
Non power steering
Rear wing car
Rally wheel car
Factory locking gas cap under the Flip Top cap
Standard steering wheel
rallye gauge package
non power window
N96 shaker hood option
14″ Rallye wheels with F70-14 tires. Displayed with 15” wheels and tires in this photoshoot.
The shaker hood is an extremely rare option on the 1970 Challengers with only 189 out of 76,000 1970 Challengers being equipped with the hood. A large cutout in the centre allowing the large, shaped aircleaner to stick out. The aircleaner was equipped with a split air intake and it’s movement with the revving of the motor got it the nickname “shaker hood”…although Plymouth called it the “Fresh Air Package”.
Interestingly one reason given for the relatively low number of Challenger shaker hoods as opposed to the 1,381 1970 Barracudas with shaker hoods was a shortage of the Challenger shaker hoods at the factories. Seems unfathomable that the supply guys did not even order an even 200 or 300 of this totally cool hood.
One reason could be that the early hoods which were so strengthened to all for the gaping hole of the aircleaner that in event of a front end crash…the hood had a nasty habit of going through the windshield and decapitating the front seat passengers. Oops.
Although Panther Pink only became an option in February of 1970, this car was built on April 15 1970, the second day of production for Shaker hood cars.