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$18,000 and Counting! 1971 Cuda 340 Body

Original paint! Does that excite you? Most enthusiasts react to a picture like this with discomfort and horror, yet the No Reserve auction for this chunk of a Plymouth here on eBay has eclipsed $18,000. Convertible Mopar E-body cars like this 1971 Plymouth ‘Cuda 340 convertible in Alpharetta, Georgia are a license to print money, but this one will require a mountain of effort. One of 102 ‘Cuda convertibles delivered with the peppy 340 and automatic in 1971, it is rare, and the Hemi orange paint adds value as well. Finished properly, this will be one flashy drop-top.

In an addendum to the listing, the seller adds that repairs to the rear were done “probably in the ’80s” using parts from other cars as was common before aftermarket panels became available and affordable. In addition to being a convertible this ‘Cuda came with air conditioning.

The VIN Decoder at musclecardrive.com describes a ’71 ‘Cuda convertible with the 275 HP 340 cid (5.6L) V8.  Personally I’d want another ’71 Cuda on hand to double-check about 783 measurements before declaring the unibody structure ready for rebuilding. It does come with a “Date code correct” engine block.

Though perhaps the most complete area of the car, the rear needs rust and panel repair as well. It could be an optical illusion but (more fun!) the rear seems to have taken a bit of a clockwise twist compared to the front.

Most concerning here is the bent structural piece at the bottom of the picture. That bend almost certainly changed the geometry of the car, and could represent a challenge for a hobby builder. Hopefully anyone throwing out a bid for this ultimate Mopar project will have the tools and budget to do it right. Ignore the structural repairs (especially on a convertible) and you’ll guarantee yourself some headaches later. “Mopar Madness” seems to know no boundary. Doing the math backward from a sale price minus everything needed to build it, what’s your top bid for the skeletal remains of this once-gorgeous machine?


  1. VWBussEd

    THis is a form of insanity. Pretty sure of that.

    Like 63
  2. sir mike

    A lot of money for a vin tag…..really nothing left to make a car out of.

    Like 51
    • Oingo

      I’d rather pay that kind of $ for a Dynacorn.

      Like 20
  3. flmikey

    At least the seller is selling it at no reserve, and did not ask the moon and stars for it…he or she is letting the market set the price, and although that market is apparently insane, it is what it is…

    Like 58
  4. Fred W

    This makes the 356 Porsche and 23 window bus buyers look downright sane.

    Like 35
  5. TimS

    I love ‘Cudas. But this kind of money could buy one of untold thousands of classic rides ready to drive right now. Silliness.

    Like 36
  6. Fred H

    A fool and his money will be parting .

    Like 22
  7. tompepper

    More money than brains.

    Like 27
  8. Mike

    If someone decided to actually restore this, I wonder how much more rusty metal will they cut out to get to something they can work with. When done, will they mention that maybe 15% of the car is original?

    Like 21
  9. Srt8

    The price is probably being driven by shill bids. There’s no way that someone would bid 18k on a VIN, at least I hope not. I watch Barrett Jackson and Meecum and I’ve noticed that nice #’s matching Mopars are dropping a bit (except for hemi cars) and as this shell sits I would expect a person to spend in excess of 4 times the current bid to restore.

    Like 21
  10. Dan Almashy

    I suspect they will put the vin tags on another car with a 6 cylinder and re brand it as the original, some nut at the Mecum auction won’t know anything and bid 200 grand for it just to win the bid, it’ll be stored in a warehouse never to be seen again.

    Like 19
    • Greg Tabert

      No No No – you cannot remove or reuse VIN tags on another body – that is a FELONY FEDERAL OFFENSE!

      Oddly, you can start at the vin tag and rebuild the body around it!

      Like 5
  11. cold340t

    Well, at least EVERYTHING it needs is Available. Because it needs EVERYTHING!

    Like 26
  12. NovaTom

    Feel sorry for the poor sap that pays big bucks for this pile after its “restored”

    Like 11
  13. Gaspumpchas

    Would have been better off with the 71 cuda in Plattsburgh last weekend, complete car for 4800. Something stinks about the 18 large. By looking at the rust there’s more daylight than there is metal, Like you guys said, shill bids and guys with rocks in their head, Plus this looks like its twisted up like a boar hog’s d!ck. Guess somebody saw the 71 hemi cuda at me-cum for 5.5 mill. SMH.

    Like 9
  14. 82ndVet

    I love ‘Cuda’s especially ’71s, but some people have too much money. Eventually someone will get their money back out of it.

    Like 5
    • Sandy Claws

      Careful, you will be accused of envy, and worse yet, the dreaded, class warfare! The prices will dramatically fall, esp. for outrageous items like this, that when “restored” are 95% lies. Problem is, the people that pay this kind of money will never miss it anyhow when they end up losing, and that is the real tragedy here. If prices were they way they should be, then this would have been crushed years ago. Obviously, this is too far gone to restore, so any “restoration” is out right fraud and anyone who disagrees with that is a big part of the problem.

      Like 12
      • 82ndVet

        Envy, no
        Empathy, yes
        The classic car market is like real estate, it fluctuates.

        Like 0
    • Srt8

      I find it highly doubtful that anyone ever sees a return on the investment required to restore this skeleton. The bubble has burst on these cars and is coming back into some form of relative sanity. Restomods seem to be the flavor of the year now and I’ve seen nice 60’s models Mopars, Fords and GM’s selling for prices I would pay. I saw a decent tri power 389 GTO hammer at 27k and a 67 R/T (#’s matching) go at 25k. Like the old saying, what goes up must come down and they are.

      Like 4
      • 82ndVet

        To each his own…
        Restomods are cool, but are usually made out of the undesirables that are left.

        Like 2
  15. redwagon

    just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should.

    Like 8
  16. Dontexhale

    Why is half of the VIN tag covered up? Since that’s what you’d be buying, I would think you’d want to see the whole thing. Hmmmmm.

    Like 4
    • Steve R

      If you type the VIN number of a car into a search engine such as GOOGLE, it would link back to the eBay ad and this thread, assuming someone typed the VIN into a response. It’s a way to track the history of the car.

      Like 3
      • Andrew

        Yeah, good answer. Whoever buys this will certainly want to make sure the VIN was not unreversibly exposed to the internet linked to the very public state of this car in April of 2019 (even if eBay itself does not archive things long term, other sites may, such as BarnFinds).

        So the VIN is private – in the buyers’ interest, thinking of the future moment when they’ll market the restored car. I’m sure the buyer can verify it before finalizing the purchase, obviously.

        Like 5
  17. Jim

    A buddy of mine has a ’70 Cougar Eliminator convertible that looks just that bad. But he has the entire car still, dismantled but still all there. I wonder what it’s worth?

    Like 2
    • Ramone

      Cougar Eliminators were ever offered as convertibles.

      Like 5
  18. h5mind

    A fellow who worked for me had previously worked for a Mopar restoration shop. Customers would drag in a crumpled chunk of rusty steel with a V.I.N. and $20K later they would have a bare chassis ready to blow another $40-50K+ on. I guess some guys really want to relive their teen years?

    Like 7
    • Sandy Claws

      Unless the car you relive those memories in is the actual car you owned, the memories will be far better then another car….cheaper too. Besides, how about making NEW memories, we aren’t dead yet!

      Like 15
  19. Bowtie brigade

    A buddy had a 70 barracuda that had been rear ended so hard it bent the entire trunk area down… Sold it in still driving condition in 05′ for $12,500. In 87 I bought a beat to s#!t rolling shell 70 cuda 440-6 for $200. Sold the 440-6 specif k member and Dana 60 out of it, it sat behind my shop till 95′ a mopar collector paid me $3000.00 for the shell vin plate and title. Nothing suprises me with mopar guys.

    Like 6
  20. Arthur

    Seems to me that whoever buys this car would be better off having the restoration handled by a professional outfit, like Graveyard Carz or Roadster Shop.

    Like 3
    • Sandy Claws

      Or they could roast weenies with hundred dollar bills. That is the kind of money this is going to take, and in the end, what do you really have?

      Like 8
      • Arthur

        If it’s too far gone for the standard restoration, I’d say this would be something for Roadster Shop or a similar outfit to tackle, especially since AMD produces all the necessary sheet metal for it.

        In which case, what you would really have is a restomod that you can take to the track and drive it as hard as you want, like the HellFish Cuda that Roadster Shop built for one of their customers.

        Like 0
    • Bob

      The only Mopar shop available that could handle this beast properly is Mike Mancini’s American Muscle Car Restorations in North Kingston, Rhode island. It’ll come out perfect! Just bring your checkbook.

      Like 0
  21. Maverick


    Like 2
  22. CJinSD

    In the late ’80s, I had a job where I often got to drive my employers’ 1970 Barracuda convertible. It was a 225/6 with an automatic, but the straight line speed wasn’t the issue. Its structure was as limp as a wet noodle. When driving with the top up, the leading edge of the top would thrash from side to side relative to the top of the windshield. It seemed like the two latches that held the top closed would give up at any second. That was an immaculate, low mileage car with an engine that placed no great stress on its structural integrity. A 340 convertible would be a waste of a great engine.

    Like 3
  23. Keith

    Wow! really???

    Like 5
  24. Andrew

    “Ran when parked”…? :p

    Like 4
  25. John S

    I went through all of the comments and cannot believe no one made the phantom cuda reference from graveyard cars. it can definitely be a thing of beauty again, with the right pockets.

    Like 4
    • Bob

      They’ll gaffe it up!! Mike Mancini’s American Muscle Car Restorations is the only place to bring it! It’ll come out perfect!

      Like 1
  26. Howard A Member

    I’m convinced this stuff is posted by the BF’s staff for pure entertainment,,,nobody is this crazy,,,are they?

    Like 9
  27. Marty Member

    Lots of talk about people ‘having more money than common sense’ and the ‘cost of a restoration far exceeds its value’….

    You people say that like it’s a bad thing! You’d prefer guys with ‘too much money to spend’ should just keep it all?

    The children of those who do restoration work, sell supplies and parts, can all just go barefoot and starve I guess…it’s all ok as long as the rich guy gets to keep his money.

    Maybe instead of him ‘wasting his money’ restoring a classic American car, he can get better value with the purchase of a shiny new Kia.

    Like 11
    • triumph1954

      Marty. Well said! Usually the people on here that talk about people having more money than common sense are the same people who will tell you how much better new cars are compared to old! Wonder why they are even on BarnFinds.

      Like 7
    • Srt8

      That whole kids starving is a bit of a reach. The thing that most people see is that someone can find a better value and bang for their $$. It’s more like having to suspend belief that someone will actually buy and restore what’s there. It’s not like this was a hemi car with the hemi still intact.

      Like 1
    • Ted

      No disrespect Marty but you’re missing a key part of some of the comments you bring up. As the entire car valuation yo yo’s over the years one of the biggest problems is overpriced cars and the associated overpriced restorations. Do a search on how many top drawer restoration shops there was in the 2000’s compared to now. There seems to be shops where having your car depends more on the name than the costs incurred. I have no problem with someone investing 300K in a car they’ll never get 75K out of, but the rising costs of the cars themselves, bodywork, paint is something we’ve all encountered due to the free spending of the monied. I agree with you on spend it now, we can’t take it with us, but some prudent financial outlay if it was applied would correct a lot of this, and take the clowns like gas monkey garage, the car flipper shows, and the YouTube shops out of the equation and the lure of them that draws the neophyte car guy like moths. I’m with you on keeping the industry moving but try looking at the whole from a different perspective. :)

      Like 0
  28. James Martin

    Weed must be laced, cause I never been that high and I live in Colorado. Them mopar freaks definitely have the good stuff. WOW!

    Like 4
  29. Doug Baldridge

    I’m a Mopar freak anybody buy by that for 18 grand they need their head examined.lol

    Like 4
  30. Del

    I miss bid. I meant only 18 dollars.😆

    Like 2
  31. mjf

    Hmmm How do you restore a pile of Rust ???

    Like 2
    • Arthur

      Assuming a standard restoration is even possible, I’d say you need everything in the AMD catalog, a lot of money, and the services of a professional shop that can strip the paint off to see what metal is there that can be used.

      In all bluntness, though, my personal feeling is that given its condition, the winning bidder for this Cuda would be better off turning it into a restomod … at the very least, a restomod designed to resemble a stock Cuda convertible with Magnum 500 wheels.

      Like 0
  32. Superdessucke

    And that poor little low mileage ’85 Shelby Charger couldn’t draw a single bid starting at $2,500…

    Like 4
  33. Hemidavey

    If it was worth restoring, the shop selling it would do it. I think you could buy a nice one for 125,000, paying a shop and buying parts will exceed 150k

    Like 1
  34. mainlymuscle

    $200 k away from being a hundred thousand dollar car.Shill bidding beyond the shadow of doubt.

    Like 3
    • CJinSD

      The automatic transmission means it is $200K away from being a $65K car.

      Like 1
  35. robj Member

    Never knew “Rose Colored Glasses” came in such a strong prescription!

    Like 5
  36. Kman

    Nobody seemed to catch it. This car was featured on Barn Finds before. It was in a yard or a field. I thought it was insane to buy then and still do.

    Like 1
  37. Mark

    turn around as fast as you can and RUN!

    Like 1
  38. Arthur

    I just visited the eBay page featuring this Cuda and found that the bidding has ended. The winning bid is $18,600. Hopefully the winner is a either a professional shop or someone who can afford the services of a professional shop.

    Like 0

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