Have you checked the pricing on Z/28 Camaros and Boss 302 Mustangs lately? Through the roof! Collectors are coming down off their big-block bender and realizing that small block cars that are built to handle are an awful lot of fun to drive and their competition history still makes people smile with memories of hard-fought battles on road courses across the country in the Trans-Am series. And like the Camaro and Mustang, the Barracuda slugged it out in the form of the AAR, named after Dan Gurneys All American Racers. Produced for only one year, 1970, these are some of the best driving of all muscle cars, with a raucous side exhaust, three deuces on the potent 340, and a finely tuned suspension that doesn't have to deal with 600 pounds of big block over the front axle. Rare when new and even rarer today, it's time to get on the AAR bandwagon because values are only going up.
Here's the fender tag information:
Special, AAR 'Cuda
2 Door Hardtop
J03: 340 290HP 3-2BBL 8 CYL
Jefferson Avenue, MI, USA
235383: Sequence number
E55: 340 cid 3x2 barrel V8 290hp
D32: Heavy Duty Automatic Transmission
FY1: Top Banana / Lemon Twist Exterior Color
H6X9: Trim - High, Vinyl Bucket Seats, Black
000: Full Door Panels
323: Build Date: March 23
M02715: Order number
FY1: Top Banana / Lemon Twist Top Color
A53: Trans Am Package
B51: Power Brakes
C16: Console w/Woodgrain Panel
C55: Bucket Seats
J45: Hood Tie Down Pins
J32: Single Horn
M21: Roof drip rail moldings
M33: Body Side Moldings
N44: Side Exhaust
N94: Fiberglass Fresh Air Hood
R11: Radio Solid State AM (2 Watts)
V6H: Longitudinal Stripes, Trans Am Black
Y05: Build to USA Specs
26: 26in Radiator
EN1: End of Sales Codes
This documented, numbers-matching Lemon Twist AAR 'Cuda has a recently completed high-dollar restoration, and today presents in outstanding condition inside and out. Current information suggests that only approximately 900 AAR 'Cudas still exist, and only 12% of the entire production run were painted FY1 Lemon Twist, making this a very rare piece. Of all the high-impact colors available at the time, I think I like Lemon Twist the best bold, but not cartoonish, vivid without being glow-in-the-dark bizarre. On this AAR, it has been faithfully reproduced, and the result is one of the cleanest, sleekest 'Cudas I've seen in a long time. The body panels are in excellent condition with good panel gaps, and even the AAR-specific fiberglass hood fits extremely well. That hood, of course, is unique to the AARs, with a large hood scoop feeding the Six Pack 340 underneath, and was made of fiberglass to save weight. The hood and tops of the front fenders were blacked out, both for an aggressive look and to reduce glare for the drivers, and on this car, the satin black is rich and even. The finish quality on the fiberglass is worlds better than the factory ever managed like Shelby Mustangs, this early fiberglass had a tendency to move around when it got hot and finding one with good panel gaps, even on the dealer's showroom floor, was virtually impossible.
All the correct AAR details have been accurately restored on this one, too. Out back there's a matching satin black 'ducktail' spoiler, up front the splitters on either side of the lower intake are intact, and the side-exit exhaust breathes through chrome-plated trumpets. The decal package exactly duplicates the original strobe stripes that run the length of the car, culminating in red, white, and blue AAR shield. Other trim, such as the ribbed rocker panel molding, is in excellent condition, and all the stainless has been given a high quality polish job. Front and rear bumpers are body colored for a fully integrated look that was rare in 1970, chrome was still in, but not in the Mopar design studios. Glass, mirrors, trim, and emblems are all what you would expect from a restored car, making this AAR ready to show.
On the other hand, if sitting still at a show isn't your thing, this is the perfect car for you. Under the hood you'll find the matching-numbers 340 cubic inch small block topped by 3 2-barrel carburetors. Although the race cars were limited to 302 cubic inches, Plymouth decided that the 340 was a better fit for the street version, and the extra cubic inches generally make the AARs faster than their Mustang and Camaro competition, although all three manufacturers rated their Trans-Am inspired street cars at 290 horsepower. Whatever the number, the engine bay of this particular AAR is in brilliant show-ready condition, with immaculate detailing and exact finishes throughout. Check out the gorgeous cast iron exhaust manifolds, the massive Six Pack air cleaner, and the correct yellow-cap battery. As with almost any restored Mopar these days, little details like the hoses and clamps are correct, the wiring harness is new, and the radiator is a correct 26-inch unit. If you're a stickler for accuracy, I think you'll be pleased with this one.
The high-winding small block churns power through the original, numbers-matching TorqueFlite automatic, which has been fully rebuilt and functions perfectly. While you might think that an automatic is counter-intuitive for a car like this, remember that the AAR street cars were still built to appeal to a wide variety of buyers. Plus, it shifts so crisply that you'll easily get used to just stomping and steering, and with this cars cornering abilities, you'll want to keep both hands on the wheel anyway. The Trans-Am package also included an 8.75-inch rear axle with 3.55 gears for the perfect blend of acceleration and cruising ability. The floors are solid and coated in a layer of satin black as original. The unique side-exit exhaust system has been faithfully replicated here and sounds fantastic. It stands proudly on a set of new 15-inch Rallye wheels featuring what is generally regarded as the first application of staggered tire sizes, although this one now wears Good Year Eagle ST radials, with 235/60s up front and P255/60s out back.
Slide behind the wheel and get comfortable in the fully restored black interior. The woodgrain steering wheel matches the console, and the seats feature fresh covers. Black carpets are new underfoot, and a fresh headliner has been stretched overhead and is taut and wrinkle-free. The gauges are crisp, and the factory tachometer shows 8000 RPM, which perhaps they'd need on the race track, but the street motor has a little more reasonable redline. New door panels are like bookmarks to the gorgeous interior.
And as if having 100% matching numbers wasn't enough, we also have the original Chrysler Corporation Broadcast Sheet.
If you're a hobbyist who loves driving his cars, there are few better performance models than the Trans-Am born and bred pony cars. With the biggest engine of them all, the AAR 'Cudas are fast, nimble, and a lot of fun. The best ones, like all investment-grade vehicles, are those with matching numbers and full documentation like this one carries. With a top-flight restoration to original specifications, you can show this one proudly anywhere in the country, where it will surely be a hit. Or, if you're like me, you can fire it up, run it through the gears, and listen to that killer soundtrack, compliments of the side exhaust. Either way, this car is both a lot of fun and a smart investment for the future. Fast, rare, and beautiful are exactly the combination that create lasting value, and with today's shaky economic climate, investing in something that makes you smile isn't a bad idea. Call now!