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As had become commonplace from the 1960s to the US government bailout in 1979, Chrysler management often elected to enter into a market with the wrong car for the market. An example was the 1962 downsized Dodge and Plymouth failure that put Chrysler in a financial bind for several years. If Chrysler entered the market with the correct car, it was often too late to inspire the target audience or to maximize profits. To make matters worse, Chrysler often assigned too many resources (employees and money) into a new car line in an attempt to catch up for the late entry. In the case of the E-body, the car was the correct car for the muscle car era, but it was introduced too late to take full advantage of its impact in the pony car segment of the car market. The 1970 Dodge Challenger made its debut in September 1969, about five and a half years after the introduction of the original pony car, the Ford Mustang. The planning of the Challenger and its sister car, the Plymouth Barracuda, began in 1967, which was the same year the General Motors introduced the Chevrolet Camaro and the Pontiac Firebird.
The Chrysler brass projected the Challengers and Barracudas would have sales numbers of 225,000 units and garner a 15% stake in the pony car market for the 1970 model year. While the 1970 sales numbers were satisfactory, they did not come close to the predicted sales, and the 1970 E-bodies resulted in a sales loss for Chrysler. Accompanying the late entry into the pony car market was a less than stellar fit and finish quality of the interior and exterior body panels of the Challengers and Barracudas that contributed to the sluggish sales. The five-year run of the E-body resulted in one adequate year of sales (1970), one mediocre year of sales (1971), and three poor years of total sales (1972-1974). The yearly decline in sales numbers mirrored the changing needs of baby boomers, increasing insurance surcharges, the oil embargo and corresponding increases in fuel costs, growing crash-test worthiness restrictions, and increasing government emissions standards. Thus with a mere whimper, the E-body disappeared at the end of the 1974 model year. The entire E-body run was a loss for the Chrysler Corporation.
Although the E-body was too late for market success to help the struggling Chrysler Corporation, the surviving E-body cars (especially the 1970 and 1971 years) are some of the most revered and pursued vehicles by collectors today. Barry Postupack of Hazelton, PA, has one of those coveted E-bodies, a 1970 Dodge Challenger.
Barry’s Challenger R/T was built in May of 1970 and originally sold by Stephen Butcher Inc., a Chrysler Plymouth Dodge dealership located in Hazleton, PA. Not only was Stephen Butcher the owner of the Mopar dealership, he was Barry’s uncle. Barry’s dad, Wassil Postupack, was the service manager at Stephen Butcher Inc., and he performed the final inspection of the Challenger before it was delivered to the new owner.