Whether we like it or not basic Psychology confirms that stereotypes, both positive and negative, are usually founded in reality. That means all those catchy sayings you’ve heard about North Carolina country boys being brave, polite and simple are absolutely true. See, gearheads in the Tar Heel state know all it takes to have a good time is something with an engine, something with bullets or somewhere with a little bit of land. And that basic outlook on life is probably why we’ve built such a great reputation as fun-loving, free-spirited adventurers. The all-original time capsule ‘Cuda you see here was custom-ordered by one of North Carolina’s most fearless backwoods daredevils, and spent most of its life sitting in his world-class car and motorcycle collection. Not only is the car packed full of rare and unique options, it’s also equipped with a top-of-the-line, high performance drivetrain, still covered in original paint and still cradling a 2,010 mile original Hemi V8. We all know time travel, however desirable it may be, as a phenomenon that’s only found in fiction. But when you take one look at this untouched Plymouth survivor, the ultimate, lowest mileage reference-grade Hemicuda in existence, you’ll begin to question both your sense of time and perception!
There’s a reason, per auctions results, the 1971 Hemicuda is the most valuable muscle car of all time: they were unique and exclusive cars even when new. And, as with any hand-picked hobby car, you really can’t get a feel for this Plymouth’s significance until you thoroughly understand its owner. Zachary Taylor Reynolds, born in 1938, lived a life most people only dream about. He was the grandson of the world’s biggest tobacco tycoon, the son of a prominent political figure and the heir to seemingly unlimited money, fame and intelligence. By the early 1900s the Reynolds family’s penchant for reckless behavior was already a subject of national conversation. But in the midst of the roaring 20s Zach’s dad Dick Reynolds, and the uncle Zach was named for, sealed the deal by becoming well-known members of New York’s Gotham club scene and transporting Mafia bootleggers on their personal planes. Eventually that risky lifestyle gave way to Zach’s uncle dying under mysterious circumstances, and Dick moving back to Winston-Salem to become a pillar of the community and the Mayor of the city. But Dick was a natural wonderer, and although he wanted to settle down and raise his young family, he just couldn’t resist a chance to sign up for the Navy and rediscover adventure. Unfortunately his combat service in World War II did not quell his appetite for new acquaintances, and it wasn’t long until his wife Elizabeth learned of her pending divorce via a popular radio news show.
Now charged with raising four kids by herself, Zach’s mother decided he and his younger brother would eschew the prominent private educations of her two eldest sons in favor of public schools and summers on the family’s 12,000 acre estate. A few years later, with only one parent in the house and 22 miles of fenced in property at his fingertips, nine year old Zach had already become an avid gun enthusiast; a skill that would later net him a national marksmanship title. And by the time he attended R.J. Reynolds high school, Zach had already established his first motorcycle club and become a race winning rider. Unfortunately the unscathed survival of a few serious wrecks slowly convinced young Zach of his perceived indestructibility, and he began spending most of his nights terrorizing the streets of the town his family essentially founded. The police were none-to-happy about Zach’s penchant for blatant street racing and daredevil trickery and, at his mother’s urging, made him spend many nights in jail and eventually revoked his license. Not to be outsmarted, and knowing North Carolina doesn’t require a license to operate a tractor, Zach simply re-geared one of his family’s rigs and happily chugged up and down Winston-Salem’s quaint country roads at speeds approaching 60 MPH. Fortunately all those growing pains weren’t in vain as Zach ultimately wanted to become an engineering undergrad student. However, his mom insisted he attend Wake Forest University, a nearby college that was devoid of engineering programs, and Zach eventually swapped educational ambition for enlistment in the Navy.
After four years honing his mechanical prowess in a Virginia ship yard Zach came home to find that his absentee father, who was displeased with his daredevil lifestyle, had disowned him AND his three brothers. But Zach, already substantially wealthy thanks to several independent family trusts, had no intentions of changing for anyone and began building one of the world’s largest private motorcycle and muscle car collections. The Hemicuda you’re currently looking at was special ordered from Ed Owens Plymouth in Winston-Salem, North Carolina to be a centerpiece of his amazing collection. Serviced and inspected by Zach’s friend Lonnie Maines, it’s not only one of the highest optioned ‘Cudas ever built, it’s also a fully documented, reference-grade survivor that still has many traces of its original owner ingrained in its octane-rich DNA. The car’s three fender tags set it up as follows:
* E74: 426 cubic inch, 425 horsepower Hemi that’s equipped with two 4-barrel carburetors
* D32: Heavy Duty automatic transmission
* BS23: Plymouth Barracuda special: ‘Cuda 2-door hardtop
* R1B: 1971 model assembled at Chrysler’s Dodge Main facility in Hamtramck, Michigan
* 295999: Sequence number
* FE5: Rallye Red exterior paint
* H4X9: Black high level trim that’s complete with a vinyl split bench seat ($16 optional equipment)
* 000: Full door panels
* 216: Built February 16th, 1971
* 062620: Order number
* V1X: Full black vinyl top
* U: Built to USA specifications
* V6X: Quarter panel sport stripes ($37.55 optional equipment)
* HEMI FENDER: Complete with Hemi fenders
One of the many historical documents included with this amazing Mopar’s sale is an original Chrysler broadcast sheet that lists the following factory build sequence:
* A01: Light package ($35.75 optional equipment)
* A34: Dana 60 super track rear end that’s equipped with 4.10 gears ($201.75 optional equipment)
* A45: Front and rear spoilers ($54.65 optional equipment)
* A62: Rallye instrument cluster ($76.75 optional equipment)
* A67: Plymouth backlight louvers ($171 optional equipment)
* B41: Front disc brakes
* B51: Power assisted brake system
* C52: Bench seats
* C93: Carpet or mats
* D32: Heavy duty A727 Torqueflite transmission ($229.35 optional equipment)
* D58: Dana 60 rear end that’s equipped with 4.10 gears
* D91: Sure Grip differential
* E74: 426 cubic inch Hemi V8 that’s complete with two 4-barrel carburetors ($883.90 optional equipment)
* F25: 70 amp Mopar red cap battery
* F96: Oil pressure and temperature gauges
* G11: All windows tinted ($36.85 optional equipment)
* G36: Painted dual outside race mirrors
* G41: Day/night interior mirror
* H31: Blower-style rear window defogger ($28.90 optional equipment)
* J11: Glove box lock ($4.05 optional equipment)
* J15: Cigarette lighter
* J21: Electric clock
* J25: 3-speed variable wipers
* J31: Dual horns
* J45: Hood pins with lanyards
* J55: Undercoating and heavy duty hood pad ($20.80 optional equipment)
* J68: Rear window louvers
* J78: Front spoiler
* J81: Wing-type rear spoiler
* L05: Map courtesy light
* L11: Glove box light
* L15: Ash tray light
* L25: Trunk compartment light
* L31: Fender or hood mounted turn signal indicators
* L34: Road lamps ($21.05 optional equipment)
* L65: Ignition switch lamp with time delay
* L74: Title switch time delay
* L76: Heater control lamp
* M05: Door edge mouldings ($6.00 optional equipment)
* M21: Roof drip trough mouldings
* M25: Wide sill mouldings
* M31: Belt and hood mouldings
* M88: Low decklid moulding
* N41: Dual exhaust
* N42: Chrome dual exhaust tips
* N51: Maximum engine cooling
* N65: Seven blade fan with clutch
* N85: Tachometer
* N96: Shaker hood
* P31: Power windows ($101.30 optional equipment)
* R32: Dual rear speakers ($25.05 optional equipment)
* R33: Microphone ($10.75 optional equipment)
* R36: AM/FM stereo that’s complete with a cassette player ($337.05 optional equipment)
* S15: Heavy duty Hemi suspension that’s complete with a front sway bar
* S25: Heavy duty firm ride shock absorbers
* S77: Power steering ($106.95 optional equipment)
* S83: 3-spoke Rim Blow steering wheel ($28.60 optional equipment)
* U84: F60x15 raised white letter polyglas tires
* W21: Rallye wheels ($54.25 optional equipment)
* W34: Space Saver spare tire
One of the coolest things about “Dr. Zacho” Reynolds was his unique sense of style. Zach knew actions speak louder than words, and he also knew there wasn’t one single person on this planet he had to impress. That laissez-faire outlook and subsequent freedom from societal norms allowed him to pull off a certain flamboyance and creativity that ONLY someone of his presence and stature can. I mean, do you know anyone else who can don a red jumpsuit, wrap up in a black cape, ham-fist a skull swagger stick and be taken remotely seriously; let alone look straight badass while doing it? No. That’s because Zach possessed a perfect balance of danger, charisma and youthful charm that was as intriguing as it was welcoming; and all that character and personality certainly flowed into his cars and bikes.
Being the heir to the Reynolds tobacco empire, and having an avid love of Winston cigarettes, Zach predictably ordered his brand spankin’ new ‘Cuda in Chrysler’s FE5 Rallye Red, a V1X black vinyl top and V6X Hemi billboards. When the car arrived at Ed Owens’ dealership a few touch ups were performed on its hood and fenders, 70s assembly line quality being what it was, and the black billboards were automatically accented with white Hemi letters and white outlining stripes that continued onto the car’s profile. As any decent daredevil knows, you can’t be good at cheating death unless you taunt death; so in addition to having his name painted right above both of the car’s door handles Zach commenced decorating its fenders, hood and trunk with his typical array of skull decals, ace of spades decals and American flag decals. For the first 30 years of its life, this is exactly how the car would remain. It was only after a high caliber Mopar collector Steven Juliano bought it from a North Carolina museum that it was returned to 100% factory luster. Steven determined the only way to safely separate the vintage decals from the vintage paint was to carefully scrape them with his finger nails. The painted “ZACH” letters on the doors were whittled to a mere outline using a mild buffing compound. And the entire car was treated to a through polish and shine. Today, 16 years after that cosmetic freshening, this ‘Cuda sits as one fantastically straight head turner which possesses new car solidity and looks as if it could have rolled out of Dodge Main yesterday. And lest you think Zach’s spirit isn’t still with the car, one careful look at its doors reveals the faint outline of his official brandings!
Of course, even without Zach’s unique aesthetic tweaks, this sinister stoplight brawler is still very easy on the eyes and STILL some of the meanest looking muscle to ever grace American roads. At the front of the car, an optional Rallye Red multiport grille hangs four 1971-exclusive halogen headlights above a showroom fresh chrome bumper, original chrome road lamps, flush-fitting parking lights and optional wing spoilers. At the top of the car, a fresh air hood props stainless hood pins, a small chrome “PLYMOUTH” script and a “hemicuda” branded shaker in front of original tinted glass that’s cleared by turtleback wipers and framed by original stainless trim. At the sides of the car, original Hemi Fender’s hang small turn signal indicators and 1971-exclusive fender gills in front of optional body-matched racing mirrors, satin-finished door handles, optional door edge guards and dent-free rocker mouldings. And at the back of the car, a traditional flat black valence centers a cool silver “’cuda by PLYMOUTH” emblem and 1971-exclusive tail lights between original rear window louvers, an optional decklid wing, a second showroom fresh chrome bumper and correct stainless exhaust tips.
Despite his loved ones’ constant attempts to dampen his desire for fast cars with storms of personal threats, Zach always drove the most impressive metal in town. There was the infamous Catalina 421 Super Duty he purchased for “family transportation”. There was the 140 MPH NASCAR-built Cobra he bought to outrun a few specific loudmouths. There was his custom-built, rocket powered Ford Galaxie that made a 200 MPH pass down Interstate 40 and became unofficially known as The Tobacco King. Hell he even had five planes, including one custom-built Pitts, which earned him both a national aerobatics title and the nickname Cigarette City Flash! The point is: Zach ALWAYS had a need for speed and an appetite for the very best. And given how well he and his friends maintained his lust-worthy collection, the engine bay of this top-dog ‘Cuda is exactly how you’d expect it to be. There’s an all-original, low-mileage Hemi which wears a correct 2468330-2 casting number above a matching 295999 partial VIN. There’s a gracious amount of original Hemi Orange overspray that creeps onto the engine’s closest ancillary components. And there’s original Rallye Red paint covering a firewall and inner fenders that look so fresh they’ve likely never seen a mechanic’s cover. Fuel and air are supplied by two 4-barrel Carter AFB carburetors which are bolted to a high performance intake manifold. Compression is sparked by high quality Chrysler Electronic Suppression wires which are snapped onto an original dual point distributor. Spent gases are expelled through original low restriction exhaust manifolds which seal tight below an obviously vintage set of Organisol coated valve covers. And resultant combustion is cooled by a 26 inch heavy duty radiator that comes complete with original hoses, original squeeze clamps and an original fan shroud. Visually, this reference grade engine compartment is clean and understated… Well, as understated as an all-original, matching numbers HEMI can be. The engine cranks immediately and runs just as well today as when it rolled into Ed Owens showroom. And there are tons of little details like specific fuel lines, original carburetor hardware, original brake booster hardware, original coil wiring, mild weave hoses and original factory-fill fluids that can’t even be duplicated by today’s nicest NOS and concours cars.
Ace stunt pilot or not, I don’t think Zach ever got the wheels of this solid Plymouth off the ground. But if you decide to do just that, hopefully via a conventional lift instead of an actual flight plan, you’ll find a clean original undercarriage that appears so untouched it could have been teleported straight from 1971. The high powered big block spins an original A727 TorqueFlite 3-speed automatic transmission that’s branded with a correct 3515849 Barracuda code and a matching 295999 partial VIN. And that heavy duty gear slinger churns torque through an optional Dana 60 rear end that’s still equipped with a tough Sure Grip differential, killer 4.10 gears and an original factory paper strap that’s branded with a build sheet matching 026 part number. At the front of the car an original torsion bar suspension, which is complete with a thick sway bar, specially tuned shocks and original control arms that still display a thin layer of factory Cosmoline, helps increase both drivability and track times. At the back of the car, the aforementioned Dana pumpkin utilizes original leaf springs and a second pair of specially tuned shocks to ensure tight turns and drama free launches. Stops come courtesy of an optional power brake system that employs optional front discs and traditional rear drums. Turns feels firm and responsive thanks to a factory optioned power steering. Spent gases are whisked away by an original true dual exhaust system which features an H-pipe crossover, rear-mounted resonators and Chrysler branded turbo mufflers. And all this first rate hardware proudly stands on original 15 inch Rallye wheels which wrap original F60-15 Goodyear Polyglas GTs around pristine center caps and spotless trim rings. Aesthetically, the bottom of this Super Track Pack ‘Cuda is just as reference-grade as its engine bay. And all its original details, including optional undercoated floors, hasty paint drips, standard chalk marks, steel chassis hardware and an old school stainless gas tank are precisely where the factory left them.
Ever hear the old southern saying “I told you this story to tell you another story”? Well, I’m going to tell you a short story to tell you an even shorter story. While recovering from a motorcycle accident that landed him in the hospital, Zach ordered a small Ham radio to stave off boredom. That little bit of exposure to the hobby excited him so much he built an entire two-room system in his house that could broadcast worldwide. Among other people, Zack often talked to the Shah of Iran and Arizona native Barry Goldwater; and his signal became so powerful the FCC would regularly visit his house to complain about his interference with local radio stations. Now, I told you that story to highlight a very rare option in Zach’s ‘Cuda. Because he was such an audiophile, he was one of the few guys to actually check the order form for a premium factory stereo that came complete with a microphone jack and a recorder. Of course, when it comes to most Hemicudas, there are two things to consider: 1) They were bought mainly for performance, and 2) The addition of Chrysler’s almost $900 Hemi usually didn’t leave much room for frivolous extra-cost luxuries. But I guess one of the many perks of being a millionaire heir to the world’s largest tobacco company is checking the box for pretty much anything you want, anytime. Inside the car a rare split bench front, full bench rear seat combination displays virtually no signs of wear at all. Opposite those seats, a fresh black dash hangs and a fully-functional Rallye instrument cluster above a standard Music Master AM/FM radio, an optional locking glove box and a lit ashtray that still conceals butts from Zach’s beloved Winston cigarettes. On the doors, sculpted panels proudly hang bold “’Cuda” emblems above optional power window switches, integrated door handles and chrome lock latches. The driver interfaces with the road through an optional three-spoke Rim Blow steering wheel and a chrome column shifter. And the passengers stow their cargo in a virtually untouched trunk that props an original mat and an original Space Saver spare tire below optional rear window speakers, an optional rear window defroster, and factory wing springs.
Just in case this world class Tar Heel survivor’s amazing story isn’t enough to impress you, it also comes with extensive documentation and the provenance of being part of high profile Mopar collector Steven Juliano’s ultimate collection. According to the car’s Mopar Action spread Steven, who exclusively buys Mopars “the hardest of the hardcore collectors can only dream about”, wanted to find the ultimate Hemicuda and subsequently put the word out in his inner circle of Mopar aficionados. An associate of well-known restorer Roger Gibson mentioned Zach’s 2,000 mile survivor and, after a few leads, Steven finally got a number and made the call. The owner promptly told Steven the car wasn’t for sale but did eventually agree to let him look at it. So Steven grabbed fellow Mopar aficionado Tony D’Agostino, landed in the piedmont of North Carolina and, after two hours of crawling all over this ‘Cuda, realized he had actually found the kind of survivor that’s usually reserved for car guy fantasies. Upon asking Tony his thoughts, he received the response “If you don’t buy this car right now, I will. And I’ll never need to own another Mopar as long as I live.” And that’s all Steven needed to hear to blurt the word “DEAL!” before the owner even finished naming his price.
Here’s an itemized list of this one-of-a-kind Hemicuda’s documentation:
* The original broadcast sheet outlined above
* The car’s original factory punch card
* The car’s original two page window sticker
* Ed Owens original bill of sale for the car
* A small stack of Ed Owens original warranty and dealership paperwork pertaining to the car
* A copy of Zach’s original title for the car
* The car’s original owner’s manual
* Proof of the car’s insurance that dates back to 1971
* One of the car’s original vehicle registration cards that’s dated to 1973
* A small, hand-written maintenance log
* A 1985 North Carolina state inspection that shows the car had only racked up 1,928 miles at that time
* An extensive write up on Zach Reynolds and his passion for all things mechanical
* A copy of the car’s cover spread in the June 2005 edition of Mopar Action.
Throughout his life “Dr. Zach” was in the company of celebrities, rock stars and what most considered the upper crust of society. But no matter who visited him, or who he traveled to see, he always called Winston-Salem his home and Winston-Salem residents his closest friends. Unfortunately time waits for no one and Zach, now pushing his 40s, had suffered a series of accidents and was beginning to have premonitions of dying in a plane crash. At the behest of his wife, he decided to quit flying altogether and settled into being a mentor and friend for community kids who had long admired his daredevil spirit. One of those kids, a local 18 year old, had just gotten his pilot’s license and was eager to take Zach up to show him a few moves. Given his premonitions Zach was secretly reluctant, but his kind nature would never allow him say no to a kid. On that fateful evening in 1979, the tenth anniversary of Zach’s national aerobatics championship, he would take off from his namesake uncle’s regional airport and perish in a terrible plane crash. His friends and fans in Winston-Salem remember him as someone that, despite his privileged status, was always magnetic, warm, welcoming and exceedingly generous. And one friend described his perpetual youth by saying: “When we were 10, Zach was 14. When we were 19, Zach was still 14”.
As an avid gearhead, it seems only fitting that Zach Reynolds would pass his gift of perpetual youth to his amazing cars. Flashy, unique, scary and possessing the best of everything this car, the ultimate reference-grade 1971 Hemicuda in existence, is a refreshing reminder that extraordinary things ARE still possible and extraordinary things DO still exist. If you’re looking for the absolute ultimate muscle car that’s guaranteed to please the most discerning collector and serve as the perfect centerpiece to any collection, here’s your ace in the hole!