In the Jan. 20 issue of OCW, we called the 1970 Hemi ‘Cuda convertible offered at Russo & Steele‘s Scottsdale auction an “ultimate opportunity.” Well, someone “seized the day” Jan. 22 and spent $1.7 million to buy the ultra-rare, ultra-desirable muscle car.
Below is what was published on the car in the Jan. 20 issue of OCW:
The revolutionary “pony car wars” began in the 1960s, changing American muscle cars forever. This new class of American muscle quickly established itself and competition formed on all fronts. Not one to back down from a challenge, Plymouth began to revise what engine options were available for the Barracuda. For 1967, a plethora of V-8s ran the gamut, from two- and four-barrel versions of the 273 to a seldom-ordered 383 “wedge,” the latter available only with the Formula S package.
At the top of the pile, there was even a limited production of 50 Super Stock, non-street-legal, Hemi-powered Barracudas that were built solely for drag racing. These Hurst-prepped Barracudas were capable of quarter-mile times of less than 11 seconds with top speeds exceeding 130 mph.
Such influences inside and outside of Chrysler by 1970 resulted in the development of the ’Cuda. The short-lived production of what is now a top-tier collectible Plymouth muscle machine began with the all-new 1970 model built on Chrysler’s entirely new E-body platform, derived more from the B-body than from its A-body predecessor. This aspect, in particular, resulted in the E-body’s engine bay gaining a significant increase in available space over previous Barracudas. This factor alone allowed the installation of Chrysler’s hydraulic-lifter Street Hemi for the ’Cuda, a 426-cid, 425-hp powerhouse on the street.
The dowdy fastback A-body was soon forgotten as new Barracudas — and ’Cudas — were available only as stylish hardtop coupes and convertibles.
The 1970 Hemi ’Cuda convertible that will be offered at Russo and Steele’s 11th Annual Scottsdale auction event is one of the only 14 1970 Hemi ’Cuda convertibles built and one of only nine of these to have left the factory with an automatic transmission. Finished in its correct and authentic FC7 white over a red interior, this Hemi ’Cuda convertible is a verified, one-of-one, top-tier collectible MoPar muscle machine with its 425-hp, 426-cid Hemi V-8 and Hemi-specific Torque-Flite 727 three-speed automatic transmission.
The car has covered just 19,000 miles from new and remains as well-optioned today as it did when it left the factory with power steering, power front disc brakes, power windows, the Rallye gauge package and more, all documented by three fender tags. This numbers-matching MoPar masterpiece received a top-flight, nut-and-bolt rotisserie restoration just more than two years ago. The car retains documentation that covers its entire history.