On the chassis side of the equation, although tubular K-members and four-links have become the norm in the g-Machine scene, Brent needed a more frugal alternative. As such, just like in the early days of Pro Touring, he enhanced the stock hardware that was already there instead of replacing it outright, and dipped into the factory Mopar parts bin as well. “Up front, I built custom gussets to stiffen up the K-member, and custom reinforcement plates for the lower control arms. I also built some custom torque boxes, and custom subframe connectors,” he says. “Since Hemis and 440s weigh about the same, I installed torsion bars out of a factory Hemi car and cranked down on them to get the stance just right. In the back of the car, I tried running Hemi leaf springs, but it sat too high, so I put the stock leaves back on and used spacers to lower the ride height. I also replaced all the old rubber bushings with urethane units. Ultimately, I didn’t cheap out. I just figured out a way to make the stock suspension perform as well as it can while staying on budget.”

At the end of the day, Brent has built himself a tool that suits the task at hand, which is a refreshing change from high-buck cars built with fancy doodads that they’ll never fully utilize. Far too often, the Pro in Pro Touring refers to a car that’s been professionally built, but as far as Brent’s Challenger is concerned, it stands for “Practical,” as in Practical Touring. “I don’t have any desire to take my car out to the track, so I just built something that I could drive around town in comfort without worrying about it breaking down. I’m really proud of the stuff that I built myself, like the subframe connectors and torque boxes, which was the only way I was able to build a car like this on a budget,” he says. That pride is well earned, Brent, because if more hot rodders took a similar approach to building Pro Touring machines, the trend would be a lot less “pro” and a lot more practical.

By The Numbers
1970 Dodge Challenger
Brent Perez, 40 • Leander, TX

Engine

Type: Chrysler 446ci big-block

Block: factory Chrysler bored to 4.350 inches

Oiling: Melling high-volume oil pump, Milodon pan

Rotating assembly: stock 3.750-inch steel crank and rods; Speed-Pro 9.5:1 forged pistons

Cylinder Heads: ported factory “906” iron castings with 2.14/1.81-inch valves

Camshaft: Mopar Performance 238/238-at-.050 hydraulic flat-tappet cam, .505/.505-inch lift; 110-degree LSA

Valvetrain: Mopar Performance rocker arms, Cloyes timing set, Crane springs, retainers, locks

Induction: Edelbrock Performer dual-plane intake manifold and Thunder AVS 800-cfm carburetor

Ignition: FBO distributor and coil, Taylor plug wires

Fuel system: stock tank, Carter Super Street HV mechanical pump

Exhaust: Schumacher 2-inch headers, custom X-pipe, dual 2.5-inch MagnaFlow mufflers

Cooling: Mopar Performance pump and stock radiator

Built by: Mullens Machine (Houston)

Drivetrain

Transmission: Chrysler TorqueFlite 727 trans, TCI 3,400-stall converter

Rear axle: Chrysler 8¾-inch rearend with 33-spline axles, 3.70:1 gears, and limited-slip differential

Chassis

Front suspension: QA1 tubular control arms, stock Hemi sway bar, KYB shocks, reinforced K-member, stock Hemi torsion bar

Rear suspension: stock leaf springs, KYB shocks, custom subframe connectors, reinforced torque boxes

Brakes: Wilwood 11-inch discs with six-piston calipers, front; 10.75-inch discs with four-piston calipers, rear

Wheels & Tires

Wheels: Centerline Laser 18x8 (5-inch backspace), front; 20x10 (5.25-inch backspace), rear

Tires: Nitto 555 245/40R18, front; 275/35R20, rear