Pro-Touring done right, that's this 1970 Plymouth 'Cuda. Not just big wheels on a semi-restored, anonymous muscle car, but a completely re-engineered and updated machine that packs 21st century technology inside some of the best-looking sheet metal ever designed by Chrysler stylists. How about a fuel injected 6.1 liter Hemi, a fully independent suspension, and an indestructible 5-speed Tremec transmission, all wrapped in a killer Limelight Green package that's been restored to show condition! The last car we had that was built to this level was the triple-black RK Motors-built 1971 Hemi Cuda Convertible we featured two weeks ago that one sold in five days, with three guys wishing they had been a second faster with a credit card deposit. So if you're interested in this one, I'm guessing the clock is ticking.
I'm always pleased when custom car builders leave the factory sheet metal alone, and in the case of this 'Cuda, the very best aspects of the original design are 100% intact. The stock grille with nothing more than a purple pinstripe, the body-colored bumpers, and the factory rear window slats remain on the car, but look totally custom with a coat of Limelight Green on them (and by the way, FJ5 Limelight Green is this cars original color according to the fender tag). Same deal with the hood is it custom or factory? Hard to tell, isn't it? As for the body itself, it was restored to better-than-new condition with great panel gaps all around. The paint is 2-stage urethane, and has a vivid glow to it that even the best day-glo colors of the muscle car era couldn't achieve, and it will look this good for decades given proper care. Check out the original-style hockey stick stripes with appropriate 6.1 HEMI callouts, a nod to the powerplant under the hood that only the truly observant will notice before it's too late. The builder calls his work reversible restification, meaning that anything he changed could be taken back to stock if a future owner decides he wants a 'Cuda like everyone else's instead of a one-of-a-kind show-stopper. No mounting holes have been modified, no panels altered, and nothing cut apart not so easy to do and very, very few builders would go this extra mile. Nice!
So it looks cool, but how does it run? This one was originally a 340/4-speed car, which isn't too shabby in original configuration, but when rebuild time came, it received a BIG upgrade. The new 6.1 liter SRT8 Hemi was built by the pros at Indy Cylinder Head, and they started by boring and stroking the block to 426 cubic inches, then topping it with a set of CNC ported and polished cylinder heads. Then they painted the entire thing Hemi Orange to make it look a little bit like an original piece, if you're willing to overlook the modern coil covers with HEMI emblazoned on their faces. Heck, they even added a vintage yellow-cap battery to keep it from looking TOO modern in there. A set of trick exhaust headers feed a 3-inch stainless steel exhaust system built to show standards by Rocky Mountain Street Rods, which ventilates though the stock rear valence. But the real story is that gorgeous induction system featuring an octet of Hilborn-style velocity stacks that look vintage but actually use modern EFI for turn-key reliability and an amazing power curve. Bob Ream of Imagine Injection handled the wiring and programming of the system, and the result is a 675 horsepower engine that you'll never think twice about when you turn the key it ALWAYS fires up instantly and idles perfectly. A massive aluminum radiator with an electric fan keeps everything cool, and you've undoubtedly already noticed the modern serpentine drive that powers a highly efficient A/C compressor, power steering, and a major alternator to power that thumping stereo system. It runs and drives like a brand new car off the showroom floor, with instant starting and no flat spots on the power curve. It runs well enough to keep up with the modern performance hardware coming out of the Mopar store, and looks good enough to pick up trophies every time you open the hood (which it has already done repeatedly).
Since there's nothing as fun as running a potent small-block through the gears, a stout Tremec TKO 600 5-speed manual was installed behind the 426 stroker motor. Supplied by Keisler and modified to fit in the E-body like it was born there, this transmission is more than capable of handling the horsepower, and with a tall overdrive, it cruises easily when you don't feel like stomping around. The chassis is highly detailed for show, with Sublime Green floors and that killer exhaust system. Look a little closer and you'll see an updated tubular front A-arms and coil-over shocks, along with a modern rack-and-pinion steering system that really takes the wiggle out of this fish. Out back, a matching independent setup from Heidts has been installed, a piece that belongs in the Museum of Modern Art instead of under a car. With chrome-plated A-arms and coil-over shocks, it's a showpiece in itself. This suspension transforms the 'Cuda from potent drag racer to an incredible canyon carver. The center is a beefy Ford 9-inch with a custom polished housing that is both strong and beautiful. To enhance cornering performance and reduce un-sprung weight, inboard disc brakes featuring 4-piston Wilwood calipers were installed, and even the axles were chrome plated for maximum eyeball appeal. Up front, there are giant rotors with race-car caliber 6-piston calipers. Pure Pro-Touring at its best.
In a nod to the past, the wheels are vintage-appearing polished Torque-Thrust replicas, 17s up front and 18s out back wearing 245/45/17 front and 295/45/18 rear Nitto tires.
With a lot of Pro-Touring cars, the builders are often content to leave the factory interiors alone, which, in the case of Mopar performance cars that can be a good thing. This car takes everything that is great about the original Chrysler design and builds on it. Like the exterior, which subtly blends old and new, the interior does the same. Note the Barracuda emblem in the custom steering wheels hub, original door panels now covered in black leather, and the original seats with ostrich skin inserts. The gauges are white-faced pieces from AutoMeter that have been situated in the stock dashboard and look like they belong there. A stock pistol-grip shifter is atop the Tremec, and stock carpets and headliner have been installed to complete the show-ready look. They even left the original back-up light indicator on the dash, and power windows have been added. The entertainment system is a high-powered unit from Pioneer with enough kick to blow the windows out of their frames, just in case the engines soundtrack isn't enough for you. Also note the power windows!
There's a ton of information on this car, ranging from all the manuals for the stereo system to an article on the finished product in Mopar Enthusiast magazine. It's also a multiple show winner, having received the 2010 Show class Winner at Mopars at Thunder Mountain, Bandimere Speedway, and both the Platinum Award and Outstanding Custom Engine Award at the Rocky Mountain Rod and Custom Show.
So if you missed the wicked black Pro-Touring AAR Hemi we had a few months ago (and there were more than a few phone calls after it was gone) and the '71 Hemi Cuda Convertible two weeks ago, here's another chance. This car is every bit as nice as those, the level of detail is just as extraordinary, and the performance is just as mind-blowing. As I said earlier, this isn't just some muscle car with a modern set of shoes; it's a fully upgraded piece that can run with some of the nastiest pieces built in 2010. The fact that it's relatively subtle (if you can overlook the paint, that is), makes it even more delicious. We can't guarantee well continue to find these awesome Pro-Touring E-bodies, so you need to move fast when they show up. Interested? Call now!
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