Modern Dodge Challenger “Restomuscle” Gets Nostalgic with Vinyl Top, Fratzhog Detroit Steel Wheels

You’d be hard-pressed to come up with the name of a carmaker that currently plays the retro game better than Dodge, at least when it comes to prices that can be considered reasonable. Even so, there will always be enthusiasts who seek an added retro flavor to their modern muscle cars, as this 2015+ Dodge Challenger nicknamed Restomuscle comes to show.

The original Challenger was late to the muscle car party, arriving for the 1970 model year—not only did it trail most other muscle cars, but it also only got to enjoy a few years before the 1973 oil crisis forced American carmakers to renounce big muscle.

Even so, the Challenger, which shared a then-new E-Body platform with the third-gen Plymouth Barracuda, made quite a mark, remaining one of the most iconic vehicles in the world to this day.

And this modern example, which, as mentioned above, features the latest major revamp that Dodge introduced back in 2014, harkens back to the OG iteration by using a few simple features. For the record, its owner, Gionatan Paglialunga, would know a thing or two about old-school muscle, as, for instance, he also happens to drive a 1971 Plymouth Road Runner.

The most striking feature of the car comes from its Detroit Wheels shoes. Coming in a 20×11-inch size at the rear and in a 20×9-inch size up front, these replicate the steelies that were so popular five decades ago.

And the brushed centers of the wheels sport Dodge’s Fratzhog logo. The carmaker recently revived this badge to differentiate its future electric muscle cars from internal combustion ones. And we’ll remind you that the Fratzhog name was a designer’s invention. This was introduced in 1962 on the Polara 500 and became an interior and exterior feature throughout the 1960s and the 1970s when Dodge cemented its image as a muscle car builder.

Here’s why classic muscle cars came with vinyl tops

Then there’s the vinyl top of the machine, whose black hue contrasts with the white main hue of the big coupe. In case you thought that classic muscle cars came with optional vinyl tops purely for cosmetic reasons, you were right.

This feature started out as a functional one in the 1920s, but, as cars moved further apart from their carriage origins, the said tops remained an aesthetic trait. With most hearses featuring it, carmakers dropped the vinyl top in the 1940s. However, this experienced a Lincoln-fueled resurgence the following decade and survived throughout the 1980s, with Lincoln once again being the one to mention, as its Continental was one of the last production cars to offer such a feature in the early 2000s.

For the record, when properly maintained (cracks in the material can easily lead to water infiltrations and see the roof rusting), a vinyl top will naturally protect the paint.

The Restomuscle Challenger also sports air suspension supplied by Swiss specialist HPS Air Ride, which allows those retro wheels to go deep into the factory arches.

It’s an Euro thing

Yes, this Challenger comes from Switzerland. And while the enthusiast community in that part of the world is wonderful and packs all sorts of machines, the taxes on large engines are not exactly friendly, as is generally the case with European countries. As such, the Challenger is a V6 (check out the speedometer, which only climbs to 260 kph/160 mph).

However, this means that the Six Pack decals on the side of the hood, which were used to describe a trio of double-barrel carbs back in the day (think: high-output 440 Big Block), now have a somehow accurate, yet totally different meaning.

In the end, while some contemporary muscle car owners go to extreme lengths to enhance the old-school feel of their rides, this Challenger managed to offer a trip down Mopar memory lane without massive effort, which is quite an achievement.



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