Black Velvet
Black
500 V8
5 Speed Manual
  • 500 cubic inch Indy Cylinder Head V8
  • 575 horsepower / 575 lb./ft. of torque
  • Tremec TKO600 5-speed manual transmission
  • Ford 9-inch rear axle
  • Detroit Speed suspension
  • Power rack-and-pinion steering
  • Baer Pro Plus 6S power disc brakes
  • 19 and 20-inch custom widened Forgeline GZ3 wheels
  • Upholstery Unlimited leather interior
  • Vintage Air conditioning

If you've been following the collector car hobby for the past few years, you already know that the folks at RKM Performance Center REALLY enjoy the word “ultimate”. They've built "Chargers":http://www.rkmotorscharlotte.com/sales/inventory/active#!/1970-Dodge-Charger-R-T/131033 they've built "Camaros":http://www.rkmotorscharlotte.com/sales/inventory/active#!/1969-Chevrolet-Camaro-SS/134726 they've built "Mustangs":http://www.rkmotorscharlotte.com/sales/inventory/active#!/1967-Shelby-GT500/134428 and now, they've extended their mind-blowing ethos to Chrysler's most famous E-Body. Representing planning and customization at its very finest, this impressive Plymouth pro-tourer is a world class interpretation of what a modernized '71 'Cuda AAR might look like. With a clean body that's dropped on an exclusive Detroit Speed suspension, fitted with a leather-lined interior and bolted to 500 cubic inches of Indy Cylinder Head power, it's the kind of trophy-worthy classic that'll road trip right to the show. And, in case anyone out there is still wondering who has the baddest muscle cars on the block, it's RK Motors Charlotte's brash, 575 horsepower answer!

The beneficiary of a highly detailed rotisserie build that was commissioned and completed by some of the best techs in the business, this slick Plymouth super star features a seamless custom appearance that's highlighted by an immaculate coat of pure pigment paint. The team's plan was, first and foremost, to continue our tradition of building the most impressive classics on the planet and, more acutely, to enliven a somewhat stale 'Cuda segment. The build began with a mostly-solid body that was fitted with fresh roof skin, new quarters and a replacement header panel. Once that body was straight, smooth and supplemented with a custom front valence, Jet Black two-stage was decorated with custom, AAR-style war paint. And, after roughly 1,500 hours of labor, that paint reflected precise gaps, flush surfaces and better-than-factory fitment. Now, we all know it isn't easy to perfect a car that's going to be dipped in such revealing attire. And that difficulty doubles when said attire is pretty much the ONLY thing prospective admirers have to focus on. But no worries here, just take one look at our high resolution photos and you'll see a tailored and polished Mopar that's as intimidating as it is alluring.

'Murdered-out' muscle always gets such love/hate reactions. Fortunately, this 'Cuda has enough detail to achieve the sinister ambiance of 'murdered-out' while maintaining the polish and pizzazz of a truly show-worthy custom. At the front of the car, an aggressive valence hangs a modified, flush-fit bumper between clear parking lamps, clean headlights and a familiar Charcoal grille. At the sides of that grille, black sport mirrors and flush door handles combine with black fender gills and correctly gridded billboards to hint at a serious personality. At the top of those gills, a pinned, AAR-style hood leads the eye to flush-fit glass and Charcoal drip rails. And, opposite that hood, a tucked and modified bumper rides between a Charcoal valence, factory tail lamps, an AAR-style spoiler and brilliant stainless exhaust tips.

'Ultimate' aesthetics aside, the folks at RKM Performance Center seem adamantly opposed to assembling a world class pro-tourer that isn't 100% functional. For proof of that enduring dedication, look no further than the aforementioned RK527 Mustang; a build that traveled roughly 1,500 miles to attain Long Hauler status on last year's Hot Rod Power Tour. This Plymouth continues our theme of drivability thanks to 500 cubic inches of Indy Cylinder Head Street Wedge power. And, thanks to a 4340 crank, Eagle H-beam rods, a Comp hydraulic cam and Wiseco 10.25 to 1 pistons, that beefy RB block twists 575 horsepower into 575 lb./ft. of torque. At the top of the Charcoal mill, a small, color-keyed air cleaner forces wind in to a giant Holley carburetor and 440-2D dual-plane intake. At the sides of that intake, 440-EZ-1 heads hang a billet breather and slick aluminum valve covers over long-tube, ceramic-coated headers. At the front of those headers, a Mopar electronic distributor sequences spark between a Mallory Promaster coil and black Taylor plug wires. At the front of those wires, a Billet Specialties Tru Trac system spins a polished Powermaster alternator behind a 26-inch Be Cool radiator and two Spal puller fans. And visually, the polyurethane-seated powerplant perfectly complements the car's custom inner fenders; with details like beefy support tubes, hydraulic hood hinges and a Ringbrothers clutch reservoir adding both purpose and class.

Despite all the internet hoopla about big wheels and stancing, the true definition of a pro-tourer is: a vintage car that's benefited from significant structural upgrades which allow it to equal or exceed the performance of modern counterparts. And that's EXACTLY what this professionally massaged 'Cuda intends to do! The powerful Indy engine sends thrust to a proven Tremec TKO600 5-speed that, thanks to American Powertrain, props a QuickTime bellhousing on a powdercoated crossmember. When the third pedal leaves the floor, Hydramax hydraulics and ProShift3 mechanicals mate a Science Friction Street Slayer 2 clutch to a Science Friction billet flywheel. And all that science ultimately equates to a cryogenically-hardened yoke spinning a familiar Ford 9-inch. That awesome drivetrain rides between laser-cut and boxed chassis rails which, aside from aftermarket subframe connectors, are specific to this application. Turns come courtesy of a Detroit Speed Aluma-frame front half, which anchors power rack-and-pinion steering between tubular control arms and custom-valved coil-overs. The car launches on a Detroit Speed QUADRALink, which hangs two more custom-valved coil-overs under widened wheel tubs. Those launches are countered by a hydroboosted Baer Pro Plus 6S brake system, which clamps 14-inch drilled and slotted rotors with black, 6-piston calipers. Custom, mandrel-bent exhaust employs a mated crossover in front of polished SLP mufflers and traditional stainless tips. Power grabs the pavement via custom-widened Forgeline GZ3s, which spin 235/35ZR19 Michelin Pilot Super Sports in front of 345/30ZR20 Michelin Pilot Super Sports. And the coupe's Satin Black floors, custom units that were hand-fabricated around its 3-inch raised driveline, are complemented by a full array of stainless and Charcoal finishing components.

Notice that all the modifications in the preceding paragraphs actually enhanced the car? I say that because, this -- the cockpit, is where many pro-touring builds start to fall apart. When you're upgrading any classic, especially a performance-oriented offering, there's really no need to fix what isn't broken. A stock '71 'Cuda's interior is, for the most part, a simple exercise in managing the driving experience the car provides. And, save for a few common upgrades, that's exactly how we left this intense E-Body. Open the solid-closing doors and you'll find a supple Upholstery Unlimited interior that wraps leather, reverse-stitched seats in a nice blend of vintage style and modern convenience. At the front of those seats, a topped and stitched dash hangs Classic Instruments Moal gauges above a Kenwood CD player and controls for a cool Vintage Air climate system. Below that dash, LED courtesy lighting illuminates custom carpet, which rides between Science Friction foot pedals, a stylish Pistol Grip shifter and FatMat sound deadening. At the sides of that carpet, custom Vos Upholstery door panels anchor small chrome handles behind simple power window switches. Above those panels, a custom suede headliner seats a factory rearview mirror opposite suede sail panels. In front of the driver, a small-diameter Tuff Wheel sports bright chrome spokes. And behind the passengers, a fully carpeted trunk hides an Optima gel cell battery.

If you know RK Motors Charlotte, you know our affinity for provenance. Naturally, we documented this sinister Mopar's build with both invoices and photography.

In the pro-touring movement, the best cars are often commissioned by reputable professionals like the RKM Performance Center. This incredible Plymouth is a clean, solid, well-constructed classic that was purpose-built to look good and kick asphalt. And, with timeless style, excellent performance and modern comfort, it's an instant crowd-gatherer that's an absolute blast to drive!

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