There are Hemi Cuda clones, and then there are cars that I would call modern interpretations of the original. This 1970 Cuda convertible started out as a nicely done Hemi Cuda tribute, but when the current owner got his hands on it two years ago, he knew what he needed to do. While the car was visually pretty nice, there were things about it that werent quite amazing enough, so he called in some experts, started writing some pretty big checks, and a few months later, had this gorgeous Hemi Cuda convertible with the full pro-touring treatment.
For you historians out there, this one didnt start out as anything amazing, although the tan leather buckets are kind of a cool footnote. But otherwise, this was just a 318/automatic ragtop that probably had a pretty good life before the transformation. Heres the rest of the info from the fender tag:
BP27:Plymouth BarracudaPremium, Gran CoupeConvertible
G01: 318 230 horsepower 1x2 barrel 8 cylinder1970Lynch Road, MI, USA
120420: Sequence number
E44: 318 cubic inch 2-barrel V8 230hpD31: A904 3-Speed Auto Trans.EW1: White / Alpine White Exterior ColorPRT5: Trim - Premium, Leather Bucket Seats, Tan000: Full Door Panels922: Build Date: September 22115478: Order number
V3X: Black Convertible TopA01: Light PackageB51: Power BrakesC16: Console w/Woodgrain PanelC55: Bucket SeatsL31: Hood/Fender Mounted Turn Signals
M25: Wide sill moldingsM31: Belt MoldingsR11: Radio Solid State AM (2 Watts)V5X: Body Side Stripes, BlackY05: Build to USA SpecsEND: End of Sales Codes
The bodywork is really very nicely done, and if there have been any panel replacements, the work is invisibleour experts havent been able to find any signs of major surgery anywhere on the car. The Hemi Orange paint is vivid, and looks great on the great Cuda curves, especially with the black hockey sticks out back. Theres something about Hemi Orange that seems to really show off the panel alignment, because this car and the last orange Road Runner, both of which are exceptionally well-assembled, look killer under the bright lights in the photo booth. Hours and hours must have been spent on getting the finish into shape, with color sanding and buffing to make it show quality. This is one great looking car.
It also has a lot of cool details. Of course, youve already noticed the Go-Wing out back and the chin spoiler up front, but custom touches include a Shaker hood scoop and grille that have also been painted satin black. Hood pins and driving lights have been added to the options list, and those cool Cuda rocker panel moldings are extremely nice, and do not have the black painted facets, just to set this one apart a little more. The bumpers were recently re-chromed and the original antenna was removed and the hole filled in. All the stainless has been polished, and the glass was new when the car was initially rebuilt.
As a Hemi Cuda tribute, there was already a vintage era-correct Hemi living under the hood, and a lot of guys would have been happy with the 500 or so horsepower it was generating. However, when this car showed up, they decided it needed more, so they made a call to Indy Cylinder Head and ordered up a F.A.S.T. programmable fuel injection system, a custom roller camshaft thats matched to the injection setup, and an MSD ignition system. That Shaker hood scoop needed to be functional, so they created a custom base for it, and now it feeds the fuel injection system just as it fed a pair of carburetors four decades ago. The block got a coat of Hemi Orange paint (what else?), while the valve covers were covered in traditional black wrinkle as original, and the red plug wires really pop against that black background. A massive aluminum Be Cool radiator effortlessly keeps temperatures under control, and the entire engine bay has been dressed up with polished billet accessories like the dual master cylinder and battery hold down. New wiring works in conjunction with an Optima gel cell battery to ensure that everything works as it should. With that new EFI system, the engine fires up instantly, idles extremely well, and roars through the power curve without any stutters or misfires. This is a very nicely engineered piece.
To fully bring the big Hemi into the 21st century, it needed longer legs on the highway. A call to Keisler secured one of their Stage II programmable A41 4-speed automatic transmissions. Built by Keisler and including their machined bell housing and tail shaft, its up to the challenge of transmitting the Hemis horsepower, and also gives the car a deep overdrive for easy cruising and plenty of top speed. Out back, an 8.75-inch rear carries 3.55 gears on a Sure Grip, which makes the most of the transmissions well-spaced ratios. To firm up the feel, subframe connectors were added to the tub, the suspension was fully rebuilt using components from XV, including adjustable racing shocks, tubular control arms, fat sway bars, and adjustable strut rods. A Firm Feel steering box telegraphs the signals to the steering wheel without a filter, and massive disc brakes from SSBC with color-matched calipers live at all four corners. The ceramic-coated long tube headers are absolutely astounding works of art, and feed a massive dual exhaust system with Flowmaster mufflers and correct tips exiting through the valence panel. Out back, a new aluminum gas tank with high-pressure in-tank pump delivers the high octane through thick braided stainless lines. Wheels are 17-inch Centerlines wearing 235/45/17 front and 255/50/17 rear tires.
In the same way that the exterior is only subtly modified, the interior is 95% original equipment with a few tricks. The buckets, door panels, and dash are all excellent reproduction pieces rendered in black vinyl, which looks awesome against that Hemi Orange paint. And thats a good thing, because they brought the Hemi Orange into the cockpit by painting the console, steering wheel spokes, and gauge panel to match, which really brightens up the interior. The gauges were all rebuilt, and they resisted the urge to hang a big tachometer from the dashboard or steering column, keeping the factory styling intact. The only major deviation from stock is a $10,000 stereo system with speakers hidden throughout the passenger compartment and trunk. If you look closely, youll see some of them tucked into the foot wells in custom-made housings. The beautifully upholstered trunk is stuffed full of additional high-performance stereo equipment, including a pair of subwoofers, crossovers, amplifiers and other gear. Overhead, theres a black convertible top that was just installed by RK Motors Charlottes own upholstery shop, and it fits as well as any Ive ever seen on a Cudanice work, guys!
Theres a lot of paperwork with this car, too. The recent work is all laid out with receipts and invoices for the parts and labor, adding up to some pretty darned big numbers. There are also manuals for all the stereo components, the fuel injection system, the transmission, and other hardware, so youll know exactly how it all works after you get this one home to your own garage.
This car gives RK Motors Charlotte one of the worlds biggest selections of Hemi Cudas, from originals, to tributes, to pro-touring cars, to off-the-charts amazing custom pieces. This one slots nicely in the middle, not quite a pure tribute car, but with enough added performance to put it soundly in the pro-touring category. With smart upgrades like the fuel injection and transmission, it drives like a 2011 Barracuda might, while retaining the classic good looks that are the reason why these cars remain so popular. Beautifully built, and with that monster stereo, this one will be a hit at any show, and on the road its as easy to drive as it is fast. Whatever your preference, a Hemi Cuda convertible is the ultimate summertime toy. If this one seems like it would fit in your garage, give us a call today!
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