Whenever Chrysler decides to assemble a purpose-built performer whose mission is to kick asphalt and take names, the results are usually spectacular. And there’s just something about documented, SCCA-inspired pony cars that makes them universally appealing and highly collectable. We ALL know big block Mopars have been fetching big money prices for years now. But what most collectors fail to realize is that equally exclusive small block cars, like this authentic AAR ‘Cuda, are just as hot and sometimes a better investment. With their excellent combination of power and handling, broad aftermarket support system and increasingly rare status, these cars enjoy one of the fastest sell-through rates of anything in our showroom. And this fully documented coupe, a factory-correct piece that’s the beneficiary of a recent rotisserie restoration, will likely follow the quick-sale path of its striped and piped siblings. If you want a truly exclusive classic that does more than blister a straight line and under steer through corners, you’d better hurry up and clear some garage space!
Here are the car’s factory characteristics, as shown by its original fender tags.
* E55: 340 cubic inch V8 that’s fitted with 6-Barrel carburetion
* D21: Heavy duty 4-speed manual transmission
* B: Plymouth Barracuda
* S: Special
* 23: 2-door hardtop
* J: 340 cubic inch V8 that utilizes 6-Barrel carburetion to achieve 290 horsepower
* 0: 1970 model year
* B: Assembled at Chrysler’s Dodge Main manufacturing facility in Hamtramck, Michigan
* 294214: Sequence number
* FK5: Deep Burnt Orange Metallic paint
* H: High grade trim
* 6: Vinyl bucket seats
* X9: Black interior
* 000: Full door panels
* 403: Assembled on April 3rd, 1970
* M03422: Order number
* V1X: Black vinyl top
* A01: Light Package
* A21: Elastomeric Front Bumper Group
* A53: Trans Am Package
* A62: Rallye instrument cluster
* B51: Power-assisted brakes
* C55: Bucket seats
* G36: Outside mirrors (left hand remote, right hand manual)
* J45: Hood pins
* J82: Duck tail spoiler
* L31: Fender-mount turn signal indicators
* M21: Roof drip rail moldings
* M88: Quarter panel tape treatment
* N44: AAR Trans Am exhaust
* N85: Tachometer
* N94: Fiberglass, fresh air hood
* R11: Music Master AM radio
* V6H: Black, longitudinal Trans Am stripes
* Y05: Built to U.S. specifications
* 26: 26-inch radiator
* EN: End of codes
* 1: Assembly line 1
* TRANS AM
While most enthusiasts associate AAR ‘Cudas with colors like Sassy Grass Green and In Violet Purple, the cars wear Chrysler’s more subtle pigments just as well. This E-Body’s correct FK5 Burnt Orange Metallic looks great thanks to a top notch restoration performed by Midwest Muscle & Classic Car Restorations of Slinger, Wisconsin. And not surprisingly, Wisconsin is where our story begins, as that’s where this ‘Cuda spent most of its life. In the late 90s, devoid of its original engine, the car was found in a barn, haphazardly restored and sold for a tidy profit. Its new owner commenced years of daily use, and the subsequent weathering of that daily use. And when its current owner came to the rescue, he coordinated a long-term, rotisserie reboot that included roughly $25K in paint and body work. Naturally, everything on this coupe presents well, with no noteworthy flaws or wrinkles found anywhere. That means fit and finish is spot on, with a modern two-stage reflecting a luster that vintage Chrysler sprayers could never touch. In traditional All American Racers style, that luster is complemented by a sinister hood treatment and equally distinctive strobe stripes. And the result is one super slick road warrior that wraps brutal performance and a high level of accuracy in classic Mopar lines and killer good looks.
Designed to bridge the gap between track and street, this AAR’s race-bred look is backed by a long list of supporting details. At the front of the car, a Satin Black and stainless-trimmed grille hangs clear headlights and square parking lamps above a correct elastomeric bumper, large driving lights and unique ‘eyebrow’ spoilers. Behind that grille, an exclusive fiberglass hood anchors two small pins in front of clean glass that’s framed in fresh stainless trim, body-matched sport mirrors and a correct vinyl top. At the sides of that hood, flush door handles, camo-ed turn signal indicators and a gold Chrysler Pentastar emblem combine with chrome, side-exit exhaust tips to provide an authentic, race-ready appearance. And at the back of the car, a traditional ‘Cuda valence centers chrome-trimmed tail lights and a small “’cuda” emblem between a Satin Black ‘ducktail’ and thin, chrome bumper.
Pull the pins on this Cuda’s lightweight hood and you’ll find a correct, 340 cubic inch LA V8 that’s authenticated by a 3577130TA casting number and November (11) 24th (24) of 1969 (9) casting date. Although SCCA Trans Am race cars were limited to 302 cubic inches, Plymouth stuck to the tried and true “no replacement for displacement” rule for street applications. That means this car received a powerplant that was specifically designed for high performance turnpike warriors. And, thanks to its 2-barrel Holley carburetors, correct Edelbrock intake, high performance points distributor, high-flow cylinder heads and unique internals, it turns hefty 10.5 to 1 compression into 315 fire-breathing horses. That said; SCCA regulations and increasing insurance costs forced Chrysler to actually underrate the mill’s output to just 290 horses. But, in reality, the car easily disposes of most ‘equally powered’ stoplight challengers. Whatever the number, this engine’s spotless bay is in brilliant, show-ready condition, with immaculate detailing and exact finishes throughout. Awesome Burnt Orange fenders provide a surprising contrast to its glossy layer of Hemi Orange skin. A bright air cleaner looks great peeking through the aforementioned hood. And, as with most of today’s best restored Mopars, ever y detail has been correctly duplicated or returned to a convincing level of authenticity.
Hoist this powerful pony car and you’ll find exceptionally clean floors that have been painted and undercoated much as the factory would have left them. The high-winding small block churns an original A833 4-speed that’s validated by a matching 294214 partial VIN. That transmission twists torque to a heavy duty, 8.75-inch rear end that’s fitted with gnarly, acceleration-inducing 4.10s. The car’s suspension has been fully rebuilt to include a factory steering rack, Cosmoline-replicating torsion bars and fresh power front disc and rear drum brakes. As expected, those 11-inch, AAR-exclusive drums are accompanied by specially tuned shocks and re-cambered springs that tilt the car to accommodate its unique exhaust pipes. Speaking of that exhaust, the usual cobbled ‘muffler shop special’ look has been exchanged for a clean, OEM-style appearance. And hooking all that mechanical prowess to the pavement is a set of restored Rallye wheels which spin E60-15 Goodyear Polyglas GTs in front of G60-15 Goodyear Polyglas GTs to employ one of the first applications of staggered tire sizing. In looking at this awesome AAR’s super clean undercarriage you realize this is a car that sees minimal road time. And judging by the sheen on its weather-free stainless, I’m willing to bet it’s suffered hardly any exposure to the elements since its 2011 restoration.
Inside, the car’s stalwart vinyl interior is simple and purposeful. The original high-back bucket seats look good and feel comfortable thanks to fresh Legendary covers. Below those seats, new black carpet centers a familiar Hurst pistol grip shifter between carpeted and color-keyed “‘cuda” floor mats. At the front of that carpet, a stock dash hangs restored Rallye instrumentation above a correct Chrysler Solid State radio. At the sides of that dash, molded panels proudly hang the ‘Cuda name amid subtle stainless trim and simple chrome handles. Above those panels, a new headliner stretches from door to door and window to window. The driver keeps his bearing through a wood grain, three-spoke steering wheel. And the passengers store essentials in a nicely finished trunk that includes a new mat and correct spare tire.
The sale of this first class curve carver includes a copy of its original broadcast sheet, a stack of restoration receipts and a few pre-restoration photos.
All American Racers ‘Cudas are a cool experiment from a time when automakers were willing to try anything to improve their performance credentials. When that purpose-built personality is combined with this coupe’s factory-correct drivetrain, excellent restoration and major exclusivity, it creates the perfect recipe for an unbeatable collector’s piece. In today’s shaky economic climate, investing in something that makes you smile isn’t a bad idea. But remember: nothing with AAR stripes sticks around our showroom for very long!