AAR ‘Cuda

1970 Plymouth ‘Cuda AAR

Offered by Mecum | Indianapolis, Indiana | May 16, 2019

Photo – Mecum

The Plymouth Barracuda was only built between 1964 and 1974, but it stands among the best muscle cars of the era. While Hemi ‘Cudas and Hemi ‘Cuda convertibles are certainly cool, the AAR is really, really cool. And so is its corporate cousin: the Dodge Challenger T/A.

What it amounted to was essentially an option package. It was supposed to be a street version of the ‘Cuda Trans-Am racing car that was campaigned by Dan Gurney’s All American Racers, hence the AAR designation. They were all powered by 5.6-liter (340) V8s equipped with the “Six Pack” of three two-barrel carburetors. Output was rated at 290 horsepower.

Only available in 1970, the cars could be had in a variety of wild colors, and all of them had a flat black hood and side graphics. This one is finished in Moulin Rouge. Only 2,724 examples were built in a two-month production run. Mecum has a rare estimate on this one: $60,000-$70,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Mecum in Indy.

Update: Sold $53,900.

’70 Hemi Cuda Convertible

1970 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda Convertible

Offered by Mecum | Kissimmee, Florida | January 15-24, 2016

Photo - Mecum

Photo – Mecum

The 1970-1971 Plymouth ‘Cudas are the best muscle cars. Yeah, that’s sort of a sweeping statement (and entirely opinion)… but it’s true. We’ve featured a 1970 Hemi ‘Cuda and a ’71 Hemi ‘Cuda Convertible (and a ’70 ‘Cuda Convertible that is supposed to look like a Hemi), but never a ’70 Hemi ‘Cuda Convertible. Which is what this car is.

Hemi ‘Cuda Convertibles are among the rarest of muscle cars: only 11 were built in 1971 and only 14 were built in 1970. That Hemi is a 7.0-liter V-8 rated at 425 horsepower. This car is one of five (of the 14) equipped with a four-speed manual transmission. On top of that, this car is loaded with options and was sold new in British Columbia.

It came back to the U.S. in 1999 and was restored. It’s covered a little over 27,000 miles in its life. Offered in factory-correct Lemon Twist paint, this car will easily break the million dollar mark. Click here for more info and here for more from Mecum in Florida.

Update: Sold $2,675,000.

Low-Mileage Hemi ‘Cuda

1970 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda

Offered by Mecum | Indianapolis, Indiana | May 12-17, 2015

Photo - Mecum

Photo – Mecum

The third-generation Plymouth Barracuda was new for 1970 and the top-of-the-line ‘Cuda, when properly equipped, was the absolute king of muscle cars. The 1970 and 1971 ‘Cudas are particularly collectible, but the 1970 model was a little cleaner in design.

This car has the biggest and baddest engine that was available: Chrysler’s stunning 426 Hemi – a 7.0-liter V-8 rated at 425 horsepower. This car was ordered new just as you see it – in high impact Tor Red with painted wheels. The new owner, who was in his 60s at the time, used the car exclusively at the drag strip.

When he passed away shortly after a handful of quarter miles, the car was sold and the new owner covered just a single mile in the car in 16 years. The next owner drove it the most – 73 miles. That’s right. This car has 81 miles on it. It is the lowest-mileage ’70 Hemi ‘Cuda known to exist and short of Chrysler discovering a warehouse full of unsold cars that rolled right off the factory floor into storage, you will never find anything like this again. It is a time warp car – unrestored but completely roadworthy. It is one of the final 10 Hemi ‘Cudas built in 1970 – but it’s the mileage that sets it apart. Look for a price between $600,000-$800,000 when it crosses the block. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $450,000.

A Real Hemi ‘Cuda Convertible

1971 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda Convertible

Offered by Barrett-Jackson | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 19, 2013

There are muscle cars that are desirable and then there are desirable cars that happen to be muscle cars. This is as close to the latter half of that sentence as you can get. This is the most desirable muscle car there is. It’s also just about the rarest – with only 11 built.

When people make “re-creation” or “clone” or “tribute” cars, they usually start with a run-of-the-mill car – a V6 or a base V8 engine and base or mid-level trim. Then they go to the Mopar catalog and order a Hemi crate engine and stuff it under the hood. It’s not desirable. It might be fun to drive or show your friends, but it just cheapens the real thing.

But this is the real thing and boy is it pretty. It’s the only Plum Crazy Hemi ‘Cuda Convertible (it is the original factory color and, in my opinion, the best). This is one of two  that were built for Canadian export. And it’s got that magical 7.0-liter 427 Hemi under the shaker hood.

These don’t come up for sale very often – obviously, there’s only 11 of them. One sold for $2 million a few years ago and, while a little extreme, that was the going rate – a few years ago. This is not a $2 million car today – even though any Barrett-Jackson employee near a microphone during the car’s sale will surely be telling you otherwise. This will undoubtedly be one of the top sellers of the auction. Read more here and check out more from Barrett-Jackson in Scottsdale, here.

Update: Sold $1,320,000.

Local Car Show Revue – July 2012

I was able to hit up a few local car shows during July (as of this writing July still has more than a week left, so hopefully I can hit up more). Here’s a quick rundown:

July 15 was the date of the British Car show put on by the British Car Club of Greater Cincinnati. The setting was nice but the weather was uncooperative. I had to hand it to some of the owners, embracing the spirit – and weather – of British motoring. I saw a guy in an MGA driving in – sans roof – during a downpour. Many of the cars received impromptu plastic coverings, but some were open to the elements. It was both sad and awesome to see. Sad because you hate to see the interiors of these restored cars get wet – awesome because it means the ones that did get some rain probably also get some regular use. And I’m all about cars being driven regularly – flawless paint isn’t as attractive as paint that shows it is being enjoyed.

Photos are sparse due to the heavy rain and the fact I treat my camera as if it were my child. Here are some highlights:

My favorite of the show came down to two cars, first this Daimler SP250 “Dart.”  This was the first Dart I’ve ever actually seen in person. The side view (below) shows it better, but I had two people tell me how Daimler had the styling so right… until they got to the front. Either way it’s a great looking car with a Chrysler Hemi V8 underhood. It’s also a lot longer than most of its contemporaries.

The other car I loved very much wasn’t even British – it was a Saab Sonett II. Many of these cars simply fell apart over time but this one was glorious. And it had, if I remember correctly, the three-cylinder two-stroke engine.

Some other cars: Jaguar Mark 2 (white), 1959 MG Magnette (black), 1970 Austin America (bluish-green), and a DeLorean DMC-12 (silver, obviously).

Another show was the 2012 edition of Rollin’ on the River (held on July 22). It is a properly big show with cars just rolling in one after the other. Again, I failed to take a plethora of photos (although the weather was brilliant) as I spent the early part of the day watching – and more so listening – to the cars roll in. The afternoon was spent chatting up some of the owners and unfortunately, no one offered to just give me their car.

This show had something for everybody, from customs:

To muscle cars:

And Corvettes:

The two directly above I really liked. One is an obvious “work in progress” and the one with the black wheels looks racy and mean. I love it.

And there were cars for everything in between. My favorites included a super rare Pontiac Trans Am Tojan and a 1912 Ford Model T Town Car. This Viper was perhaps the most exotic supercar there. It was listed and displayed as a 1997 Viper GTS-R. The window sticker didn’t mention an “R” (which was mostly an aero package that would be duplicated in 1998 for the GT2). I’m guessing it was all dealer-added post-sale. But whatever, it’s still fast.

(Don’t worry about this one, once it got a little speed it fired right up).

Russo & Steele Scottsdale Highlights

This is our final Scottsdale auction recap. It’s been weeks since it happened but we finally caught up. Russo & Steele sold a wide variety of cars from the affordable (the lowest seller was a 1978 Triumph Spitfire 1500 Convertible that sold for $4,675) to the super expensive – the top sale was this 1968 Chevrolet Corvette L88 Roadster that sold for $687,500. It was one of only 216 built during three years of production.

The second top seller was a 1965 Shelby GT350 that was once used as a race car at the Carroll Shelby School of High Performance Driving. It has a fresh restoration and looks amazing. I could easily imagine myself tearing around a racetrack in this car. But for $467,500, it’s a little out of my range.

Our two featured cars from this auction, a 1973 Mercury Cougar XR7 Convertible and a Ketchup & Mustard-liveried ’96 RT/10 Viper both sold. The Cougar brought $17,600 and the Viper $39,050.

Other highlights included a pair of rare Mopar’s: this 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona:

sold for $118,800. And a blue 1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda sold for $115,500. And finally, probably the rarest car in this sale was this 1984 Knudsen Baroque Cabriolet – 1 of 2 such cars built. Knudsen built 11 total Baroques in Nebraska in the late 70s and early 80s in a variety of bodystyles. When new, these cars cost between $80,000 and $225,000. According to the consignor, this car cost $86,000 in 1984. It sold for only $12,100.

For complete results, click here.

Nash Bridges ‘Cuda

1970 Plymouth ‘Cuda Convertible

Offered by Barrett-Jackson | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 15-22, 2012

If this car looks familiar to you, then I am glad to say we share similar taste in 1990s primetime television cop shows. This was one of five ‘Cudas prepared for the CBS series Nash Bridges starring Don Johnson. Of the five built, it was the one personally retained by Johnson after production wrapped in 2001. He sold the car at Barrett-Jackson in 2003, where it was purchased by the current owner.

In the show, the car was supposed to be a 1971 Hemi ‘Cuda Convertible – of which only 11 were built. There was a time in the past five years where a Hemi ‘Cuda Convertible would cost you a cool $2 million. I’m not sure that price would stand today.

But that’s another story. This car is actually equipped with a 340 V8 (5.6 liter) and it’s a 1970. It was one of 64 convertibles built for the Canadian market in 1970. It’s also an automatic – Don Johnson couldn’t be expected to drive, carry on a scripted conversation, take direction from a camera car, and shift, could he? In fact, Johnson did much of his own driving on the series, particularly when doing a dialogue scene and driving through San Francisco (and never hitting a red light!). Apparently, this took a lot of skill – keeping appropriate pace with the camera car and being able to be heard over wind and engine noise. Yes, I’ve watched DVD commentaries of Nash Bridges.

I remember this car selling in 2003 for almost $150,000. Part of me just can’t imagine it bringing that much now. You could probably get a real Hemi coupe for close to that price. The muscle car bubble did burst, despite what certain places will tell you. This is not a $150,000 car. Don’t get me wrong, I want it – bad. But I’m a gigantic fan of the show and Nash Bridges’ ‘Cuda is a car I’ve loved from first sight. You’d really have to love the show to pay more than double what this car is worth, were it any other 340 ‘Cuda Convertible.

More info on the lot car be found here. More on the auction here.

Update: Sold $88,000.