It’s time once again for another episode of “Clash of the Classics. This time it’s the 1970 Camaro vs 1970 Charger. The 1970 – 1981 Camaro was the second, and longest-running generation, and it was a huge departure from the earlier, first generation Camaro. The Z/28 model had become a household name, and now carried the first iteration of the LT1 engine. The Z/28 had a 350ci engine and the SS and RS packages were also available with engines ranging from the anemic 250ci six cylinder to the 396ci big block.
1970 Camaro Powertrain
For 1970 most of the engine and drivetrain components were carried over from 1969, with the exception of the 230 ci six cylinder. The 1970 Camaro SS 396 was awesome and rated at 350 hp. Beginning in 1970, the big block V8s were actually displacing about 402 cu inches, yet, for some reason, Chevrolet chose to keep the 396 badges. The LT-1, an engine built from the ground up using premium parts and components, ran far better than the earlier 302 that was used in the 1967-69 Z-28s and the Turbo Hydramatic 400 automatic transmission was an option to the four-speed manual for the first time. One interesting point was the 2nd generation, for some reason, was never offered as a convertible type model.
1970 Camaro Interior
The interior featured a new instrument panel that had several round dials for gauges. New bucket seats, unique to 1970 models, had squared-off seatbacks and adjustable headrests, and the rear seating consisted of two bucket cushions and a full length back seat. Some center consoles came standard with a Hurst shifter, and the standard interior featured all-vinyl upholstery and a matte black dashboard finish. There as an optional interior choice that came with woodgrain trim on dash and console.
1970 Camaro Chassis and Suspension
The suspension was less than memorable and cornering was not exactly what you might expect from an American Sports car but, it was sufficient for the time. Weight distribution across the platform wasn’t exactly perfect nor was the steering. Body roll was more of a problem than GM expected and serious performance enthusiasts began to give up on the gen 2 Camaro. It wasn’t until much later that General Motors took a serious look at the Camaro’s shortcomings and begin to implement solutions. One thing seems certain, of all the 2nd gen Camaro’s most would agree, the 1970 is the most desirable.
1970 Dodge Charger
Now, let’s talk about the 1970 Dodge Charger, it was a tad late to the pony car party but still one of the coolest muscle cars ever to come out of Detroit. The 1970 Plymouth Barracuda and the 1970 Dodge Challenger were some heavy competition and they were from the same manufacturer. The Charger was a little bigger and a bit better appointed interior wise than the Challenger or Barracuda and some would argue it’s a bit more luxurious but regardless of your opinion one thing is clear and that is the 1970 Dodge Charger was a beast.
1970 Charger Powertrain
There were a number of engine options ranging from the 225 slant six up to the mighty 390 horsepower V8 440-6 pack. The little slant 6 had surprising torque and the 426 Hemi was a beast with arguably no equal. The 440 with three 2 bbl carburetors is still heavily sought after today and whether you were a fan of the manual or the automatic, Dodge had the transmission to get the job done. The Torqueflite 727 automatic transmission was so reliable and such a performer, Dodge used a variation of it well into the mid-2000’s. The little Torqueflite 904 saw duty for a few decades. Differentials were reasonably rugged and the 3.23 ratio was one of their proven performers.
1970 was the last year of the 2nd generation Charger and Dodge implemented a few minor changes. The vacuum style headlight doors were replaced with a newer style of electric headlight door.The taillights were similar to those found on the 1969 models and the R/T versions came with a new, more stylish taillight panel.
1970 Charger Interior
The interior was one of the coolest of the time period with all-new bucket seats, revised door panels with a sport style dash that was a bit unusual as the instrumentation was asymmetrical. Many argued the gauges were laid out in an odd, nondescript fashion while others felt it was unique and sui generis. The all-new pistol grip shifter was introduced, the ignition was moved from the dash to the steering column, and for the first time ever, a bench style seat was available.
1970 Charger Suspension
The early 1970’s suspensions were less than memorable regardless of manufacturer and Dodge was certainly no exception. Excessive body roll was a problem even in the R/T models and braking systems were nowhere close to the sophisticated systems we have today. Fortunately, companies such as Hotchkis suspension systems offer complete bolt on upgrade kits for the early B body cars that cures much of the handling problems found with the original chassis
Whether you’re a fan of the 1970 Camaro or the 1970 Charger, either way you end up a winner as both of these iconic models are worthy ambassadors to the classic car world.