When Lance Pelky wants something, he gets it. The 51-year-old San Diegan recently recounted how he came across one of the nicest driveable ’70 Challengers on the planet. The story began when he was browsing the eBay want ads longingly, enamored with the beautiful Mopars that glistened in their widescreen glow. Most had problems, glaring flaws, or were just downright ugly. But one Panther Pink Challenger captured his attention. Must. Have. Car.
This is a true Challenger...
This is a true Challenger R/T car. The R/T badge, for Road/Track, indicated a package that included upgraded suspension, brakes, tires, and more power. So what would you call a package like this that has even more of those?
“I couldn’t believe the parts that were in it, and what it was all about and the pictures. So I started bidding on it.” Like anyone who’s been in an auction, Lance ended up in a bidding war. He thought the late Dodge Brothers were smiling down upon him as he won the auction, only to find out shortly thereafter that the lying car salesman, let’s call him Cheeseball, posting the ad sold it out from under him. Ugh.
Having honed his skills in the financial instrument field, aka retirement and asset management, Lance was no stranger to doing research and getting to the center of the issue. He found the other bidder he was battling with, and it turned out that was the person Cheeseball sold the car to. The new owner was actually quite a nice guy and an avid collector. He offered to let Lance come out and drive the car, and in an act of Internet karma, let him buy it for what he had into it. Car. Is. Mine.
What Lance stepped into was not a simple Krylon resto. It had been meticulously built over a 17-year period by car nut Mark Yates of Gilroy. In fact, the car was nice enough to have won Mopars At The Strip in 2003 and 2004, using its vibrant pink hue to drive the Challenger craze of the decade.
During the original buildup, attention was paid to make sure the car could be driven just as good as it showed, and so a subframe was fabricated joining and strengthening the unibody structure. Bilstein shocks cushioned the blow with the front torsion bar dropped down and the rearend lowered to make cornering as effective as its stance would imply. Massive Wilwood brakes are big enough for a road racer, but considering what left the factory some 40 years ago, they were a worthy upgrade.
As the car was completed by Yates in 2002, it seemed fitting that the ride wear a set of Boyd Coddington Blasters. Not dated like some of the early billet stuff, the Pentastar looks perfect wearing the pentaspoke Blasters.
Just as comfortable as his La Jolla office chair, Procar front seats and a re-covered factory rear seat make Lance’s car the place to be when rolling on the El Cajon Classic Cruise, La Mesa Car Cruise, or any of the rides he takes his family on.
Not long after buying the dream, Lance realized there were a few driveability issues that crept up, so he burned rubber across town to see J. Bittle of JBA Racing. JBA opened up shop in 1985, building, modifying, and maintaining race and high-performance street cars and has cemented a reputation as a cutting-edge facility. They famously created the first smog-legal shorty header back in the late ’80s when the Golden State started their ruthless crackdown on the high-performance industry.