You know the drill. Rich dude buys a muscle car, drops it off at a big-name shop, then shows up a year later with an armored truck full of cash. In the world of high-end Pro Touring, these are the hands-on guys. More casual enthusiasts pay the shop to find their project cars for them. Even if that rubs the do-it-yourselfer in you the wrong way, you can’t criticize these cars as stagnant showcases of billet and chrome anymore. The filthy rich now have hot shoe drivers on retainer to pilot their cars for them around the autocross at blistering speeds. That’s just the way it goes, homie, so get over it. Granted that the high-end of the Pro Touring spectrum is getting ridiculously expensive, but ultimately, stuffing a modern powertrain and suspension into old-school sheetmetal is still freakin’ cool. Even so, does this mean that the average working stiff can no longer build a nice g-Machine for a reasonable sum of money? Not if Brent Perez and his ’70 Challenger have anything to say about it.
From every angle, Brent’s Challenger certainly looks the part of a gazillion-dollar Pro Touring ride. With big-block power, monster brakes, eyeball-searing paint and a mean stance crouched on big rollers, this E-Body packs all the right stuff. Although it gives the illusion of a pro-built ride with a matching six-figure price tag, by doing 90 percent of the work himself and budgeting wisely, he put the entire car together for $37,000. “Building a g-Machine on a tight budget is tough, so I had to spend money where it counted the most. I could easily have $75,000 invested into this car if I paid someone else to build it, but by doing the work myself, I’m not sitting upside down on the car,” he says.
Interestingly, for such a thoroughly planned-out build, Brent decided to build the Challenger on a whim. Mopar guys tend to be a passionate bunch, but Brent didn’t catch the Pentastar bug until later on in life. He had no plans of building a Pro Touring machine either. “My first muscle car was a ’70 GTO, and after I sold it, I built a couple of sport trucks. One day my twin brother, Bryan, brought home a ’70 Barracuda, and that car made quite an impression on me,” he says. “I went over to his house every weekend to help him restore it, and the more I worked on it, the more I fell in love with that car and E-Bodies in general. With us being twins and all, I thought it would be cool to get a Challenger. Then we’d have twin cars for twin brothers.”
Not long thereafter, Brent’s brother informed him of a ’70 Challenger that his buddy was thinking about selling. “This was back in 2003, at the height of the muscle car boom, so there weren’t many cars in my price range. This Challenger was a perfect fit because while it was solid overall, it still needed a fair amount of work, which made it affordable,” Brent says. “I knew that if I didn’t jump on it, the car would sell quickly, and I’d have a hard time finding another car in my price range. I met the owner, and we reached a deal at $13,000 the same day. The driveshaft U-joint was broken, so I had to fix it before I could drive it home.”