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Words and photos by Matt Strong
“How three brothers happen to have a 1973 Challenger Rallye (John’s), a 1971 AMC 401 CI Hornet built as a street sleeper (Tommy’s), PLUS a 77 Duster 360 and a Challenger R/T 440CI (Michael’s) is beyond me, but this family’s men are genuine Mopar geeks."
Saving old cars from the '50s, '60s and '70s is a passion for a large group of people in hot rodding. That’s why there are muscle cars that fetch over one million dollars at auctions across our country. But those cars are “Trailer Queens” not “Drivers”, they are show cars that will enter museums sometime in their lifetime. They will last forever because they never are on roads, out in the weather, or anything that could damage them.
I don’t build trailer queens, I build drivers and so does the Dunworth Brotherhood. Yes, people resurrect old muscle cars to modify and drive. These are many times far more capable of running the Quarter Mile, Corner Carving and even Autocross than the original engineers that created these cars ever dreamed how good they could be. These restomod guys actually “DRIVE” them a lot except when there is snow and salt on the roads. They look stock with just minor changes outside to give you a clue to what lies beneath their beautiful skin.
As a kid he had a 1970 Dodge Challenger in High School and his fond memories of that car were the inspiration for this 1973 Dodge Challenger Rallye, owned by John Dunworth of Washingtonville, New York. It started as a plain-Jane but, it is now a beautiful example of a Restomod. The technical term is “restomod” and it is fitting. John’s car is set up for drag racing as well as corner carving; it has turned 12.0s with a best of 12.03 using the BFGs you see on the car. Island Dragway is close, it is known for having poor traction, but honest clocks. John was seriously traction limited, so that 12.03 would be middle to low 11s at a better track. These are not racing tires; they are cornering tires so with some slicks this is easily a 11.0 car. But, there is nothing visible that gives this monster away. Even the exhaust is what you would expect from a 340/360 Challenger of the period.
As soon as John took delivery of his Challenger, Tommy started taking it apart so he could give it the stones to be a real street demon. Tommy convinced John that this car needed a really well built block as a base with all forged innards. The Aluminum 23 degree heads match the camshaft and although it is a low compression short block that was OK with John. Why? Tommy had another trick up his sleeve; a streetable power adder.