During the 1960s and 1970s, American car manufacturers were in a horsepower war, with every car, from sedans to roadsters, receiving massive V8 engines with impressive power figures. The trend started in 1964 with the introduction of the Ford Mustang and Pontiac GTO. At the same time, Plymouth launched its new Barracuda with a lackluster 4.5-liter (273 cubic-inch) V8 that produced only 180 horsepower. Despite its great price point and styling, the Mustang overshadowed the Barracuda until its redesign in 1967.
Plymouth enhanced the Barracuda’s styling, added more options, and introduced an all-new 6.3-liter (383 cubic-inch) big-block V8, which helped the car’s sales and overall appeal. In 1968, Plymouth took the Barracuda Fastback drag racing, producing only 50 track-purposed monsters with the massive 7.0-liter (426 cubic-inch) HEMI ‘Elephant’ V8. These cars won countless races across America, giving Chrysler executives many reasons to stuff their 426 HEMI in the Barracuda street car.
The 1970 Cuda was Plymouth’s sports version of Chrysler’s new E-Body platform. With the Barracuda being the base and the Gran Coupe being the luxury variant, the ‘Cuda was the top dog. The Cuda had a vast selection of engines, starting with a 5.6-liter (340 cubic-inch) small-block V8 and topping out with the 426 HEMI V8, a 425 horsepower and 490 lb.-ft. of torque beast.
As the third E-Body Plymouth produced and the first production Cuda ever fitted with the legendary 426 HEMI, this car with chassis BS23R0B100003 was built on August 1st, 1969. This pre-production Cuda was finished in Alpine White with a Black interior and was fitted with the iconic 4-speed Pistol Grip shifter.
After its production at the Hamtramck, Michigan plant, the Centerline, Michigan Chrysler-Plymouth facility received the car for the purpose of prepping the flat rate manual for all future HEMI Cudas. Afterward, the car was sold to the public and in 1983, it was purchased by the current owner in Indiana.
For the majority of its life, the Cuda has been kept in the NATMUS Museum in Auburn, Indiana, and has only been driven for 17,755 miles. The car has been repainted once in its original color, making it a true time capsule of automotive history. In 2005, Galen Govier documented and confirmed the significance of this car, presenting it as the first-ever HEMI Cuda.
The car is equipped with the following options:
- A33 – Track Pack 3.54 Rear Gears
- B41 – Front Disc & Drum Rear Brakes
- B51 – Power Brakes
- C26 – Overhead Console
- D21 – A833 Manual Four Speed
- E74 – R-Code 426 CI HEMI V8 Engine
- EW1 – Alpine White Exterior Paint
- X9 – Black Interior
- M85 – Front & Rear Bumper Guards
- PRX9 – Leather & Vinyl Bucket Seats
- P – Premium Trim
- R22 – AM with Stereo 8-Track Player
- R31 – Rear Speakers
- V68 – Sport Stripes DELETE
- N96 – Shaker Hood
If you are a muscle car enthusiast or collector, this rare and historically significant 1970 Plymouth HEMI Cuda is an opportunity not to be missed. With its iconic status as the first-ever HEMI Cuda and its unique factory options, this car is truly one of a kind. Now, this automotive masterpiece is up for sale at the MOTORVAULT in Indianapolis, Indiana, with a price tag of $2.2 million. Don’t miss your chance to own a piece of American muscle car history.
1970 Plymouth HEMI ‘Cuda Image Gallery: