Under The Hood

You say "hemi'cuda," I say "Hemi 'Cuda"

The life of an editor is filled with many torments, not the least of which is how to properly spell words. It’s also important to note that the first lesson of journalism is to spell names correctly, but in an area like the old-car hobby, there are a lot of things that cannot be found in a dictionary. If an editor does not know the proper spelling off the top of his or her head, we have to turn to factory literature. Luckily, the Old Cars Weekly archives are filled with good material to prove that LaSalle should be spelled as one word, while De Soto is actually two words, though you don’t always see these two marques spelled this way.

While editing Geoff Stunkard’s upcoming column “From the Musclecar Files” for the May 8 issue, I noticed Mr. Stunkard used “hemi’cuda” when referring to a 426-cid-powered 1970 ‘Cuda.
This spelling is used on the car’s Shaker hood scoop (by the way, “Shaker” is one of those words capitalized on some cars, not capitalized on others), but it’s not a spelling often seen. Even though Stunkard is a very well-known writer and is the former editor of a Mopar muscle car magazine, I figured I would double check his spelling since we usually use “Hemi ‘Cuda” as two capitalized words when referring to these powerhouses.

I remembered the OCW archives contains Chrysler and Plymouth data books from 1970 and later so I looked up Hemi ‘Cudas in the data book. The data book always refers to both the Hemi and ‘Cuda in lower case. I couldn’t believe ‘Cuda should be spelled ” ‘cuda” in lower-case form and went to look for an original ad. In the ad I found, ‘Cuda is capitalized, as is Hemi, and the ad calls the car “Hemi-‘Cuda” with a hyphen. So, since Mopar spelled it however it wanted to do it, we will too!

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