Just outside of Knoxville, Tennessee, there's a certain lifelong area resident who doesn't seek the limelight. His name is Bobby Alloway, and his shop employs a talented band of wizards that includes Scott Emert, Josh and Joe Bailey (father and son), Scotty Troutman, Dusty Gregg, PJ Burchert, Brian Harmon, Toby Caldwell, and Mike Barrillaro. These guys are like the orchestra, if you will, and Bobby is the conductor. To his credit, Alloway was honored with the Ridler Award at the 1985 Detroit Autorama, he won Street Rod of the Year in 2002, America's Most Beautiful Roadster in 2003, Street Machine of the Year in 2004, and he was inducted into the Rod & Custom Hall of Fame in 2004.
Due to popularity and customer demand of late, Alloway's Hot Rod Shop has taken an occasional detour from the badass early-'30s coupes and roadsters that helped put it on the map. Well, they've pulled it off once again in the recreation of Ken Nester's sinister-looking '70 Dodge Challenger. Nester enjoys the hot-rodding hobby along with his grandson, Chandler, as family involvement is what makes hot rodding what it is today. Bobby told us, "Ken approached me at Columbus when we debuted our '56 Ford Crown Victoria. He was impressed that the builder was underneath the car cleaning it up. He asked me if the '56 was for sale and I said no." Bobby continued, "I ended up selling him a Nomad and I had a '55 Plymouth Savoy at the time that I planned to build for myself (with a Hemi and all).
That got his interest, too. Ken changed gears and wanted the Savoy, so I agreed to do that project. Not long after, I bought a Challenger and he got all over it instead." Bobby bought the Challenger from a doctor and later discovered it was originally purchased new in Georgia.
Looking back at the car's production era and related marketing programs, Chrysler Corporation execs introduced catchy colors in 1970, such as Plum Crazy, Sublime, and Go-Mango, but this one wore Panther Pink. It was a single four-barrel, 340 R/T that was in decent shape with the nickname "She Devil" lettered at the top of the windshield (more on that later).
To start things off, Alloway contacted chassis specialist Art Morrison, feeling it was time for Art to construct a complete chassis for unibody cars such as Nester's Challenger. This became the prototype, and the computerized design process began. Bobby knew that a complete chassis would better support the monstrous weight of a Hemi engine, allow for a greater degree of handling ability, and also bring more flexibility towards achieving the requisite Alloway stance.
With the chassis underway, Alloway and crew began cutting the car up. Bobby commented, "We basically cut everything off at the firewall and made a new radiator support and all the inner construction from scratch. The floor panels were good, but we cut them out so we could see where we needed to be once the chassis arrived. One of the quarter panels had been hit, so we replaced it, but also widened the quarters about 3 inches per side for extra wheel clearance." Up front, the lower valance was sucked in about 3 inches per side, and both bumpers were flush-mounted. Next, the cowl vent was removed, as was the inner hood structure, where a new reinforcement was fabricated for added engine clearance and appearance. The Challenger also received a "shave and a haircut " with door locks and handles being deep-sixed.
As with the majority of Alloway creations, a nasty attitude has to be backed up with enough horsepower and torque to pull tree stumps. Bobby contacted the Hemi experts at Hensley Performance nearby in Knoxville, because they've been putting their touch on Mopar motors for over 35 years. The block and several other components came from Indy Cylinder Head and Hensley performed all the machine and assembly work. Internal components include a Callies crank, Manley 4340-steel H-Beam rods, and Ross pistons, while bore and stroke specs measure 4.380 and 4.150 inches, respectively. The compression ratio comes in at 10.5:1 and final figures put it at 509 ci with 740 hp.
These days, a high-profile car just isn't complete unless it's got some kind of trick induction setup, so Alloway contacted Mylon Keasler (Keasler Racing) for assistance in developing a unique system. Bobby told us, "We needed a real low-profile intake, so we decided to make an old road-race-style induction with a custom-made manifold from Keasler. We used eight Viper throttle bodies from Accufab, mounted the injectors and fuel rails underneath the intake, and we light it off with a crank-trigger ignition from MSD."
Next, injection and electronics expert John Meaney accepted the task of developing the ECM, harness, and necessary system functionality so the impressive Hemi would possess a high degree of drivability--just like all the wild rods that thunder out of this well-respected shop. Alloway's crew fabricated custom headers that merge into 3-inch pipes and Flowmaster Series 40 mufflers. Mike Long supplied a G-Force six-speed transmission to handle the horsepower with help from a McLeod clutch. Additional engine accessories include a Powermaster alternator, custom valve covers, Vintage Air system, custom air cleaners, and the first Hemi pulley system designed by Billet Specialties.
Chassis-wise, this former unibody musclecar wears some carefully selected accessories from Alloway's long list of potential suppliers. Besides the rectangular tube frame, Art Morrison furnished front spindles and tubular control arms, while Alloway added polished coilovers from Strange Engineering. The entire chassis is painted DuPont Jet Black and buffed mirror-smooth, just like the flawless upper body surfaces. The rearend is a 9-inch Ford Trac Loc with axles from Strange Engineering, which is supported by a Morrison tri-link and Panhard bar with polished coilovers, also from Strange. Wilwood six-piston calipers with 14-inch rotors stop this beast as fluid is sent to each wheel via a Wilwood aluminum master cylinder (7/8-inch bore) that's mounted under the dash, thanks to Kugel Komponents' trick mounting system. The final element of attitude came from a set of Boyd's Alloway billet wheels, measuring 19x8 and 20x10, shod with BFGoodrich g-Force tires that spec out at 245/35ZR19 and 295/45R20.
Driver and passenger comfort came last, as Alloway's crew took stock door panels and made fiberglass molds with inserts that Paul Atkins covered in leather. The floor tunnel and dash pad were fabricated from aluminum and also covered by Atkins of Cullman, Alabama, who has been Bobby's interior trimmer of choice for many years. Those soft leather seats just scream for you to sit down and take this Challenger through the gears. Other interior pieces include an ididit column, Billet Specialties wheel, Classic Instruments, and wool carpeting.
Now here's the rest of the "She Devil" story: Alloway admitted his guys thought it was kind of hokey, so they stripped the decal off the windshield. From then forward, nothing went according to plan. Bobby told us, "The clutch gave us problems, the motor was in and out of the car three times, and everything we touched seemed to go wrong. Everybody made jokes that it was the She Devil getting back at us, so we put the name back on the valve covers and everything went smooth from there on." And so the story goes. Alloway and Nester just missed Street Machine of the Year honors, though everybody in attendance was decidedly blown away by this Sinister Finisher.