Rutledge Wood’s 1970 Dodge Charger – Petty Pedigree
Rutledge Wood has always admired the looks of a 68 Charger, especially the round taillights. But when the NBC Sports auto racing analyst had the chance to buy a 1970 Dodge Charger he didn’t think twice, mainly due to the fact it had belonged to his good friend Kyle Petty during his high school years. But Rutledge could not resist the chance to leave his own imprint on this white 1970 Dodge Charger.
Rutlegde Wood met Kyle Petty when they were co-hosts on NASCAR’s Trackside Live and instantly became good friends twelve years ago. Later he saw Petty’s high school ride in a barn at Petty’s home. So he had known about the car for years. And he knew it was cool even back then.
Kyle Petty originally bought the car from his uncle and had it while in high school. Of course Kyle had to “work on” the car and had the resources of the “King’s” shop. The car was originally metallic green with a green vinyl interior. He had hammered out the rear fenders to accommodate some fatter tires and acquired some other go fast parts from the race shop. As Rutledge stated in an interview with Fuel Curve, “I don’t know what the gear is…There was definitely some old race parts in that thing.”
Petty eventually sold it after high school and then later tracked it down and bought it back from the buyer. Eventually Kyle gave it to his son Austin. A few years ago Austin (like father, like son) took it down to the Petty shop and had a green stripe added to the rear while, freshening the paint and interior.
Rutledge ended up buying it recently from Austin Petty and opted to freshen it some more, adding Wilwood brakes and the folks at RideTech replaced the suspension with a prototype StreetGrip setup that is not yet available to other MOPAR fans. Rutledge took it out for the Hot Rod Power Tour and says, “The car is amazing. That RideTech StreetGRIP suspension changed that car completely.”
The 1970 Dodge Charger is outfitted with a numbers-matching 383 engine and four speed transmission. Wood is very pleased with how the car performs but might add a small stereo and do some minor tweaks to it. He is hoping to bring it out to the SEMA show later this year. But for now Wood is content with owning his friend’s Charger.
So after the upgrades he has “a car that handles and stops like a new car.” As Rutledge pointed out, it is pretty cool to own the car that your friend drove in high school and by adding the Petty pedigree, it makes it that much neater. We’d agree.