We have been talking about a lot of different Mopar vehicles going across the auction block lately. It seems that as the pandemic restrictions have been pushed back, there have been a lot of amazing rides or collector pieces that have been up for sale. This weekend should prove to have some prime examples of classic Mopar muscle cars going up for bid at the Mecum Indy event and while there is one rare 1971 Plymouth HEMI Cuda convertible getting a lot of attention, one other unique HEMI Cuda is going unnoticed.
With the launch of the 1970 Plymouth Barracuda, the Plymouth brand launched their third generation of the Barracuda in 6 years. Something that seems unprecedented in today’s automotive industry. The introduction of the E-Body Barracuda was special. Based on the popular mid-sized B-Body platform the E-Body was wider and shorter, giving the Plymouth Barracuda and its corporate sibling the Dodge Challenger some of the most identifiable muscle cars of the era. Despite being related the Barracuda never shared any exterior sheet metal with the Challenger. The third-generation Barracuda aimed to get rid of its economy car stigma that the first two generations brought with it being based on budget-oriented Plymouth Valant.
The Barracuda introduced a more performance-oriented “Cuda” model, which could be equipped with a number of powerful engines like the standard 335 horsepower big-block 6.3-liter 383 cubic-inch V8, a 290 horsepower small-block 5.6-liter 340 cubic-inch V8 with three 2-barrel carburetors (also known as a 6-barrel) exclusively for the track-oriented AAR (All-American Racers) Cuda, a 7.2-liter 440 cubic-inch V8 with either a 375 horsepower 4-barrel setup or a 390 horsepower 6-barrel setup, or the legendary 7.0-liter 426 cubic-inch HEMI V8 making an underrated 425 horsepower.
The Cuda models proved to be a hit on the street, dominating most stop light to stop light grudge matches. Dealers had no problem selling the new E-Body throughout 1970 as the Plymouth brand’s high-performance for a modest price structure drew a lot of muscle car buyers into showrooms. While the Cuda was popular for 1970, only 652 left the Hamtramck Assembly line with HEMI-power (14 of which were convertibles).
Not many people opted for the massive HEMI, due to its $871.45 price tag. That might not seem like much by today’s standards, but in 1970 it was quite a bit considering a 1970 Plymouth Cuda hardtop had a starting price of $3,164 and came equipped with the 383 cubic-inch V8. In comparison, the 440 cubic-inch 6-barrel V8 only would set you back $250.
The 1970 Plymouth HEMI Cuda could be optioned with a 4-speed manual or an optional 3-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission. MotorTrend test a 1970 Plymouth HEMI Cuda in its May 1970 issue, where it was able to do a 0 to 60 mph time of 5.8-seconds and tackle the quarter-mile at 14.0 seconds @ 102 mph.
This particular car is a matching “R-Code” (the original code for the HEMI engine) 1970 Plymouth HEMI Cuda, which has been unrestored. Equipped with a 3-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission and the A32 Super Performance Axle Package, which gives this Cuda a HEMI suspension handling package, power front disc brakes, 26-inch radiator with shroud, 7-blade torque drive fan, and a 9 3/4-inch Dana axle with Sure-Grip limited-slip, and a 4.10 rear axle ratio.
Being unrestored this HEMI Cuda still proudly wears its Jamaica Blue exterior paint, which looks great due to being garaged-kept for the past 43 years. Only the engine compartment has been touched up to prevent rust. Of course, there is the famous Argent-colored “Shaker” hood scoop poking through the hood, a standard feature on HEMI Cuda models. There are also the famed Rallye road wheels wrapped in Goodyear Polyglas GT rubber and a set of factory front-mounted road lights.
Inside, the untouched factory interior remains and features the classic three-spoke wood grain steering wheel, center console, high-back vinyl seats, all still look in fantastic shape.
But what makes this car so special is the fact that it only has 16,870 original miles on the odometer. Now, the engine was repaired in 1986, but HEMI Cuda models with higher miles that have been restored have gone for over $150,000 at past auctions. So it will be interesting to see how this unrestored model with such low miles in great shape, will achieve.
The car does come with the original invoice, bill of sale, broadcast sheet, and warranty manual. The car will go across the auction block tomorrow, Friday, May 21st, at the Mecum Indy event. For more information or to bid on the car, you visit Mecum.com. Mecum estimates the car could take in $175,000 to $200,000.
1970 Plymouth HEMI Cuda in Jamaica Blue Image Gallery: