We won't bore you with all the details of the AAR 'Cuda program—chances are, if you're looking at this car, you already know the story and how absolutely cool these cars really are. Whenever the factory sets to building a purpose-built vehicle whose mission is to kick asphalt and take names, you know the results are going to be spectacular. This fully documented 1970 AAR 'Cuda features 100% matching numbers, a high-quality restoration, and is painted my personal favorite color, Burnt Orange Metallic.
All AAR 'Cudas are two-tag cars, and received their special “TRANS AM” second tag perhaps more as a marketing thing than an actual assembly line necessity. However, the first tag on this one is nearly full, owing to some nice options and a lengthy list of standard AAR features:
BS23: Plymouth Barracuda Special, AAR 'Cuda 2 Door Hardtop
J0B: 340 cubic inch 290 horsepower 3x2 barrel 8 cylinder 1970 Dodge Main, Hamtramck, MI, USA
302062: Sequence number
E55: 340 cubic inch 3x2 barrel V8 290 horsepower
D21: 4-Speed Manual Transmission
FK5: Dark Burnt Orange Metallic / Deep Burnt Orange Metallic Exterior Color
H6X9: Trim - High, Vinyl Bucket Seats, Black
000: Full Door Panels
410: Build Date: April 10
M04060: Order number
FK5: Dark Burnt Orange Metallic / Deep Burnt Orange Metallic Top Color
A53: Trans Am Package
A62: Rallye Instrument Cluster Package
B51: Power Brakes
C55: Bucket Seats
G34: OS LH Remote Racing Mirror
J45: Hood Tie Down Pins
J82: Rear Spoiler - Duck Wing
M21: Roof drip rail moldings
M88: Decklid Moldings Treatment
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
First off, even the lights in our photo studio can't capture the quality of the paint on this car, nor the depth of the color. Burnt Orange is a tricky shade to get right, but with modern paints and finish techniques, it can be dazzling. Expertly applied over a fully restored 'Cuda body, the paint is dazzling and it's a good thing the AAR comes with a blacked-out hood, otherwise you'd have a hard time driving it on a sunny day. The body shop here at RK Motors Charlotte just finished aligning the panels, and it fits together with crisp shut lines and laser-straight panels from bumper to bumper. As I mentioned, the blacked-out hood has been accurately duplicated and the hood itself is in excellent condition with no cracks or stress marks in the fiberglass. A proper AAR decal package, including strobe stripes and All American Racers chevron on the rear quarters, has been installed. The blacked-out rear spoiler matches the hood and ties the whole car together nicely, with the result being a car that looks every bit the part of a race-ready piece.
The AARs received the same trim as the other 'Cudas, including chrome front and rear bumpers which have been re-plated, and all the stainless is polished. There's good glass all around, and the hood pins are a nice race-inspired touch. The deeply inset grille is barely visible but for the chrome edges, which is quite a sight in one's rear-view mirror and I'm sure that was the intent. This car also carries low-mounted driving lights and a rear deck-mounted antenna which only enhance the performance car profile.
AARs received their own unique powerplant, a 340 cubic inch small block topped by three two-barrel carburetors. While all that carburetion might seem like overkill on a small block, the result is a car that loves to rev and never seems to run out of breath. That big air cleaner draws fresh, cool air from the functional hood scoop, and force feeds the Holleys underneath. You can see in the photos how beautifully finished the entire engine bay is, and I guarantee no engine left the Hamtramck plant wearing a coat of paint that shiny and evenly applied. All the details are accurate, from the hoses and clamps to the yellow cap battery. Correct markings, such as the 'MADE IN CANADA' stamp on the power brake booster and warning decals throughout enhance the showroom fresh look. The fender tags are reproductions, but the originals are included as part of the documentation package, and no liberties have been taken in their content. And in case you didn't catch it before, this is the original, numbers-matching engine.
Underneath, this car is incredibly clean with floors that have been finished like the rest of the body. The original 4-speed manual transmission spins an 8.75-inch rear full of easy-cruising 3.55 gears. The AARs received a special side-exiting exhaust setup, and this one has an accurate system that doesn't look cobbled together like so many muffler shop specials. The suspension has been rebuilt and the control arms and spindles refinished in correct cast iron gray that looks authentic but won't rust. A new gas tank hangs out back feeding fresh lines, and the brake system has been fully rebuilt at all four corners. Cars like this are always a pleasure to work on and look at thanks to their cleanliness, and you'll probably find yourself instructing your friends to get under there and look around it's so nice. The finishing touch is a set of handsome Rallye wheels wearing E60-15 front and G60-15 rear Goodyear Polyglas GT tires, one of the first such applications of staggered tire sizing.
The interior is also as correct as the body, done in black vinyl with high-back buckets as original. If you need any additional proof of the 340s high-RPM proclivities, look no further than the original 6500 RPM tachometer, and believe me, nothing sounds more amazing than a V8 running at 6000 RPM! The buckets feature new seat covers, there are fresh carpets on the floor, and overhead the headliner is taut and wrinkle-free. New door panels proudly advertise the 'Cuda name. Both the pistol-grip shifter and the wood grained steering wheel match, tying them together nicely, and the gauges have all been fully rebuilt and re-faced so they look better than new. The original Music Master AM radio still lives in the dash, right above the cool back-up lamp indicator light that Chrysler seemed to be so fond of. As a performance car, there's no weight-adding console, and it looks pretty butch with the shifter just sticking out of the transmission tunnel like that. Under the rear spoiler, you'll find a nicely finished trunk with a new mat and a correct space-saver spare complete with inflator bottle and a full jack assembly.
Documentation is extensive, including restoration receipts, a photo album, and the original fender tags I mentioned earlier.
The AAR might be the most collectable of the small block Mopars. With a fascinating story behind them, they were a cool experiment from a time when automakers were willing to try almost anything to improve their performance credentials. They're also fabulous cars to drive, with that lightweight V8 under the hood, handling is exceptional and those three deuces make a sound like nothing you've ever heard before. This one is beautifully restored in a very cool period color (which is also correct for the car), and it's a combination that always attracts a lot of attention here in the showroom. Look at prices on Boss 302s and Camaro Z/28s lately, and you'll understand why the AAR is so highly sought. Call today!
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