When it comes to collectability, few cars match the term better than a HEMI-powered ‘Cuda. These E-bodies were among the first muscle cars to draw serious money at auction and remain some of the best four-wheeled investments out there. Value aside, this 1970 Plymouth ‘Cuda has some other great numbers working in its favor. For starters, it’s 1 of only 7 black on black HEMI ‘Cudas listed in the Chrysler registry. It’s also 1 of just 284 1970 HEMI ‘Cudas to leave the assembly line backed by a 4-speed manual transmission. Factor in power front brakes, the Track Pak, and a Shaker hood and this ‘Cuda just keeps getting better. Today, the car stands as a 426-equipped show piece documented by Mopar authority Galen Govier. If you’re looking for one sinister E-body to top off your collection, take a minute to get the details on this slick ’70 ‘Cuda.
We’ll get started by decoding the fender tag. If your looking at the picture above, these tags are read from bottom to top and left to right. This one shows:
E74: 426ci 2-4bbl 425hp HEMI V8
D21:A833 4-speed manual
ROB: 426 HEMI. 1970 model. Hamtramck, MI production facility.
247347: Sequence Number
TX9:Black Velvet paint
H6X9:High grade black vinyl bucket seats
000:Full door panels – no upper door frame color
210:Scheduled production date – 2/10/1970
018428: Vehicle order number
TX9:Roof paint – Black Velvet
G36:Dual racing mirrors
J45: Hood tie down pins
J54: Sport hood
M21:Drip rail moldings
M25:Wide sill moldings
M88:Decklid moldings treatment
N41:Dual exhaust system
N42:Chrome exhaust tips
N96:Fresh air package (Shaker hood)
R11:Music Master AM radio
Y05:Built to USA specs
26: 26-inch radiator
Looking over that list, it’s pretty easy to see that nearly all the good stuff is here. From the HEMI and A833 combo to the Track Pak rear and Shaker hood, this car was born to rumble. While any one of Chrysler’s High Impact colors could have fit the bill, the sinister coat of Black Velvet paints the square-jawed E-body shape in a whole new light. It’s a quality re-spray capable of casting mirror-like reflections from almost any angle you choose. Look a little harder and you’ll note the black HEMI hockey stick stripes on the quarters. They’re barely visible from certain angles, giving the car a cool stealth look rarely seen on these cars. Colors don’t get much more hones than Black Velvet, so you can rest assured the sheet metal underneath is first rate all around. The shut lines look great and, overall, the car displays much better fit and finish that any 1970s assembly-line car did when new.
While the dark hue certainly ramps up the car’s appeal, the finishing pieces are worth a closer look as well. At the front, the wide grille is accented by a single red stripe broken by right-justified Plymouth lettering. The grille is framed by a pair of round headlights supplemented by smaller round driving lights in chrome bezels. At the top, the iconic Shaker hood is held in place by a pair of hood pins at the front of the car. The greenhouse is filled with like-new glass framed by sleek stainless and pliable weather stripping all around. Body-matched rear-view mirrors flank the A-pillars while corner markers, chrome door handles, and rocker trim round out the side view. Follow the C-pillars back towards a simple rear fascia filled out by stainless trim, a body-hugging chrome bumper, nicely-integrated taillights, and a discrete ‘Cuda badge.
Lift that shaker hood and you’ll find a correct 426 cubic inch Hemi V8 that’s been professionally restored to first class condition. As Chrysler’s top option for power-hungry gearheads this legendary elephant block, which is complete with its famous 2468330-2 casting number, utilizes cast iron heads, an oversquare bore, a forged steel crank, forged steel connecting rods, forged aluminum pistons and a hydraulic camshaft to turn stout 10.25:1 compression into an advertised 425 horsepower and 490 lb./ft. of torque. All that high-performance hardware is housed in a glossy Hemi Orange block which hangs an attractive set of Organisol coated valve covers above correct low restriction exhaust manifolds. Fuel and air are supplied by two large 4-barrel carburetors that are bolted to a high-performance intake manifold. Compression is sparked by high-quality Chrysler Electronic Suppression wires which are snapped onto a correct points distributor. Resultant combustion is cooled by a correct 26 inch heavy duty radiator which comes complete with reproduction Chrysler hoses and old school squeeze clamps. Visually, the Black Velvet engine compartment is clean and understated…or at least as understated as a bright orange 426 can be. The car starts easily, runs well, and naturally, all the little details like decals, a reproduction Mopar red cap battery, a correct Chrysler washer reservoir and a high-performance seven blade clutch fan have been accurately duplicated or completely restored.
In the late 60s and early 70s, if you were a true Mopar guy, the only transmission you wanted was a factory-issued A833 4-speed and the original 18-spline unit in this evil looking Plymouth is definitely tough enough to handle HEMI power. That high-performance engine and transmission combination feeds a fully sorted front torsion bar and rear leaf spring suspension that’s shackled to a correct manual steering system, a rugged Dana 60 rear end and stout 4.10 gears. Cool and confident stops are provided by power discs up front and power drums out back while exhaust flows down the center of the car through a true dual exhaust system. The system houses an H-pipe and factory-style mufflers and resonators for a classic HEMI exhaust note. Above all that impressive hardware, solid floors have been properly undercoated instead of polished in a nice shade of body-matched basecoat like so many over-restored Mopars that roll through our showroom. At the corners of those floors, traditional 15-inch Rallye wheels spin around fresh trim rings and argent center caps. A thorough examination of all the car’s bushings, lines and hoses ensures it has road going reliability to matches its eyeball-popping curb appeal.
Swivel this Plymouth’s solid-closing doors and you’ll find a correct black interior that’s simple, functional and performance-focused. The front bucket and rear bench seats are covered in showroom fresh leather that displays no signs of wear at all. Below those seats, stain-free carpet anchors fresh black lap belts next to pristine stainless door sills. At the sides of that carpet, sculpted panels proudly hang the Cuda name above traditional window cranks, integrated door handles and cool chrome lock latches. In front of those panels, a clean black dash features a correct Music Master AM radio and a correct but minimal factory instrumentation. Below the dash, a Hurst Pistol Grip shifter extends from the floor, offering full control of the A833 below. Above, a taut black headliner works alongside a dome light, visors, and bright hardware, in rounding out the roof in style. In front of the driver, an attractive three-spoke steering wheel provides both form and function. Behind the cockpit, a fully restored trunk props a correct decklid decal above a new mat, a correct jack assembly and a fresh Space-Saver spare tire.
Investment-grade Mopars are still blue-chip places to park some cash and they haven’t become any less amazing to own and drive. With it’s unique paint scheme and 1 of 7 status, this Hemi ‘Cuda hardtop is the one to complete your collection. If you’ve been searching for an awesome old school Plymouth to cherish, you’ve found your next car!