Cold 'Cuda cash

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The appeal of American muscle cars extends far outside the borders of the United States. While the overall number of muscle cars built for export to other countries is not large when compared to U.S. sales, that number is significant for those enthusiasts searching for the car of their dreams.Those who are looking abroad for a muscle car sold to a foreign buyer might actually have an easier time taking that approach than looking in their own backyard. The reason? According to Drew Alcazar, head of Russo and Steele Auction Co. of Phoenix, it?s because of the paper trail of exported muscle cars.

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"Export cars are fairly well-known," explains Alcazar. "They're very well documented; much better documented because they had to cross borders or go overseas."

Through the seven years of presenting January auctions in Scottsdale,Alcazar says he's consigned about a half dozen export muscle cars to sell in Arizona, including a T-5 Mustang several years ago and a 1970 Plymouth Hemi 'Cuda at his most recent event on Jan. 18-21.

The Hemi 'Cuda is 1 of 44 constructed for export to Canada during the 1970 model year. It's finished in Lemon Twist, Plymouth?s Hi-Impact yellow, with a black vinyl top and black interior. It also displays the prominent Shaker hood and "hockey stick" striping. The car was built in Chrysler Corp.'s Hamtramck, Mich., assembly plant on Dec. 11, 1969, under code Y07 (built to spec for Canadian order).
Its Canadian buyer took possession of the car in August of 1970, and owned the car until 2003. A Texas muscle car enthusiast then acquired the 'Cuda and proceeded on a six-figure, multi-year restoration.

On display at Russo and Steele, the car featured its original Quebec license plate, and several pieces of documentation, including the 1970 sales contract written in French, and a VIN "decode" sheet authored by Mopar authority Galen Govier.

Interesting to note, the Quebec Department of Revenue sales tax receipt for the car's purchase, dated Aug. 14, 1970, lists the Hemi ?Cuda?s net value as $2,250. Almost 37 years later, the car sold at Russo and Steele's Scottsdale 2007 auction for $225,000, a full 100 times more than its 1970 value and a good reason to continue searching the ends of the earth for export muscle cars.

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