Bluefire Metallic
White
426 HEMI V8
5 Speed Manual
  • John Arruzza-built 426 cubic inch Hemi V8 / 536 horsepower
  • Keisler Tremec 5-speed manual transmission / Hydraulic clutch
  • Strange Dana 60 rear axle / 3.73 gears
  • Baer 4-wheel power disc brakes
  • 17-inch billet wheels
  • B5 Blue paint
  • White interior
  • Rallye gauges
  • Alpine audio

We've sold, and actually built, a ton of Hemi 'Cuda tribute cars. Not real Hemi 'Cudas, but exact replicas for folks who can't exactly afford the six-figure price tagof an authentic, numbers-matching piece. That said; I have to say this '71 'Cuda might be the coolest Hemi 'Cuda resto-mod we've ever had. Not stock, and never intended to be confused for a real Hemi 'Cuda like some uninspired imitators, this MoPar was built to drive and drive HARD!

This is where I would ordinarily give you some fender tag information, but because this car is so heavily modified from stock (plus the tag isn't there anymore), what's the point? Instead let's talk about what this Plymouth is today. It's powered by a fire-breathing, 536 horsepower Hemi -- assembled by John Arruzza, equipped with a 5-speed Tremec transmission and fitted with giant, vented Baer brakes. If you're a true performance fan, that's surely more interesting than a fender tag with codes for a 318, tinted glass, and an AM radio, right?

This car showed up a few years ago as a fully finished piece with just a handful of miles that was already 100% ready to rock. But instead of simply taking photos and putting it out on the floor, we decided this brute deserved to go to the next level and sent it into the RKM Performance Center for a few choice upgrades. What came out was this B5 Blue killer. Today, that 2-stage paint still features an incredible shine and, as you can see from looking at our high resolution photos, its founding panels are still incredibly straight. On top of those panels, HEMI billboards, supplied by Phoenix Graphix, are clean and blemish-free. And all the Argent Silver pieces on the car have been refinished in the correct shade and texture. Yes indeed: this is one sharp-looking 'Cuda!

The devil is certainly in the details, and this coupe doesn't disappoint. The car's white vinyl top is tight and looks excellent. There's a lot of fresh chrome everywhere. The fender gills are new, and someone spent a lot of time polishing stainless. Naturally, that stainless frames glass that's in excellent condition, with pliable weather stripping and felts. And lenses and other plastic items look factory-fresh.

Okay, enough about cosmetics; let's talk about performance and horsepower! The engine is a 426 cubic inch Hemi that was built by John Arruzza. If you don't know John's work, you just don't know Hemis. He's built over 600 Hemi engines in his career, and still builds each one himself instead of farming things out or letting some underling do his work. He's even built Hemis for Richard Petty! The Arruzza mill in this car produces a claimed 536 horsepower at 6,200 RPM and 471 lb./ft. of torque at 4,500 RPM. As you know, that's considerably stronger than any stock Hemi ever was. The big block is topped by two 4-barrels and an authentic shaker hood. Exhaust is handled by a set of gigantic long-tube headers dumping into a 3-inch, true-dual exhaust which makes it sound like an angry God is chasing you. Up front, a March serpentine system drives a large pulley fan and a polished PowerMaster alternator. An MSD ignition system lights the fires, including thick Taylor wires and a Blaster coil mounted in the stock location. For the right look, the car's original 26-inch radiator was retained. A set of polished Hemi valve covers provide some nice dress-up, and the entire thing is painted a correct shade of vintage Hemi Orange.

Translating all that power into motion is a Keisler/Tremec 5-speed manual transmission. We've installed a lot of these and they're an incredible upgrade for classics, combining eyeball-flattening acceleration with relaxed cruising. And that's despite the relatively tall 3.73 gears in this 'Cuda's Strange Dana 60 rear end. That Tremec accompanies a requisite hydraulic clutch that provides improved feel and reliability. The car's suspension is pretty much stock, with upgrades like adjustable QA1 shocks, heavy duty springs and a fat sway bar. Spent gases flow from an H-shaped crossover to throaty Dynomax mufflers and traditional stainless tips. And, of course, there's the aforementioned Baer brakes, which feature 13-inch rotors up front, 12-inch rotors out back and high quality PBR calipers. If you're sharp, you've also noticed those trick billet wheels that were designed to look a lot like the original Rallyes. Measuring 17-inches in diameter these rims are considerably lighter than originals, and they wear sizable 255/45ZR17 Sumitomo HTRZs and 275/50/17 Falken Ziexs.

Climb inside this Plymouth and you'll discover more of the RKM Performance Center's outstanding work. The seats are fresh buckets with clean covers sat inside a like-new driving environment. The dashboard is stuffed with original-style Rallye gauges with trick white faces that add a unique twist to the original look. The Tremec is stirred by an original pistol-grip shifter, now topped with a correct 5-speed shift pattern. You've probably noticed that the car's ubiquitous R11 Music Master AM radio has been replaced by a high-tech Alpine head unit that feeds scattered speakers for a vastly improved listening experience. Floor mats with blue 'Cuda logos embroidered on their faces keep fresh carpet nice and clean. And the trunk features a fresh mat, a matching alloy wheel and a third Falken tire.

So, if real Hemi 'Cudas are just out of your price range and a clone is, well, just too ordinary, take a good, long look at this awesome MoPar. This car takes the rule book and throws it out the window, instead focusing on building a classic that's a party to drive and incredibly potent on the street. With a few smart upgrades, like the Tremec 5-speed and a high-end stereo system, it's a very capable cruiser that can devour vast stretches of interstate. With those big brakes, killer shocks, and modern rolling stock, it can go around corners with the best of them. And best of all, it's wrapped in a very stock-appearing package that'll fool all but the sharpest of viewers. If that sounds like your kind of fun, this is your kind of car!

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