Mopar Racing Legend’s Last E-Body Challenger Racer Is Truly ‘Dandy’

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Dick Landy's Challenger

Wicked Challenger is the most important Dick Landy (aka ‘Dandy Dick’) car ever built, and was even restored by the legend himself.

Few drag racers in history lived, ate, and breathed the sport quite like “Dandy” Dick Landy. From his teenage years all the way until his passing at the age of 69 in 2007, Landy ripped up the track in whatever kind of vehicle he could get his hands on. Most famously, many of those vehicles were of the Mopar persuasion. And that includes this particular 1970 Dodge Challenger, which is headed to the auction block at Mecum’s upcoming Harrisburg sale on July 31-August 3.

This incredible machine is notable for a number of reasons. For starters, it’s the very last E-Body that Landy ever competed in. It was also the class title winner at the 1974 Gator Nationals, and snagged the SS/D record with a 10.55-second pass at the Sports Nationals in Bowling Green, Kentucky. This Challenger then went on to become the last car Landy ever drove quickly at the 2001 Goodwood Festival of Speed. Heck, it’s even the only car that the legendary racer restored with his own bare hands.

Dick Landy's Challenger

Clearly, this particular Challenger was something truly special in Landy’s eyes. And it’s easy to see why, given the reasons behind its existence. Landy was openly frustrated when rules changes aimed to destroy the Hemi’s dominance following his 1973 AHRA Championship victory. Thus, he and Mopar protested by competing in sportsman racing instead of stock classes.

Landy’s incredible success continued, however, which only led to more rule changes. Thus, the legend eventually walked away from driving in the late ’70s, retiring for good following the 1980 season. Today, this Challenger represents much of what Landy was all about, as well as the culmination of his genius. It also remains much as it did back in the ’70s, including that killer vintage livery on the exterior.

Dick Landy's Challenger

The killer Hemi under the hood has received a few “modern updates,” according to Mecum. It breathes through a pair of four-barrel Carter carbs and out Hooker headers. The Hurst T-handle shifter and Cragar Super Trick wheels are pure retro drag racing, as are this car’s massive rear slicks. And even though this Challenger is obviously a valuable commodity, we hope that its racing days aren’t over. After all, we’re pretty sure that’s what the fiercely competitive Landy would have wanted.

Photos: Mecum Auctions

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Brett Foote has been covering the automotive industry for over five years and is a longtime contributor to Internet Brands’ Auto Group sites, including Chevrolet Forum, Rennlist, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, among other popular sites.

He has been an automotive enthusiast since the day he came into this world and rode home from the hospital in a first-gen Mustang, and he's been wrenching on them nearly as long.

In addition to his expertise writing about cars, trucks, motorcycles, and every other type of automobile, Brett had spent several years running parts for local auto dealerships.

You can follow along with his builds and various automotive shenanigans on Instagram: @bfoote.

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