1970 Plymouth Cuda 340 Barn Find!

When the 1970 models rolled into dealer showrooms, buyers could tell right away that the Barracuda was a vastly different car. Mainly because it lost its prior association to the compact Valiant, on which it had been based since 1964. The Barracuda was now all pony car, sharing its new platform with the Challenger that Dodge has just introduced. The ‘Cuda model was where muscle met the road and the 340 was the most popular engine choice. This 1970 ‘Cuda 340 is said to have been in a barn since the days of when Jimmy Carter was in the White House and overcoming a lot of rust will be the buyer’s biggest challenge. It’s for sale in Lincoln, Nebraska and available here on eBay where the bidding stands at $12,300. The reserve has not been met.

Compared to 1969 sales, buyers stampeded into Plymouth dealers for the 1970 Barracuda. They sold nearly 50,000 Barracuda’s that year (which by itself is not that huge), but that’s nearly 50% more than the number Plymouth sold the year before. 1970 would be the year of the “High Impact” colors offered by Chrysler and, in the case of the seller’s car, it came in Hemi Orange. A ‘Cuda 340 coupe with an automatic transmission comprised under four percent of Barracuda sales that year, just under 1,800 units. So that puts the seller’s car in somewhat rare territory, given the likely survival rate 50 years later.

For reasons unknown, this ’70 ‘Cuda 340 found itself banished to a barn after less than a decade of service and 79,000 miles. For some of the photos provided, it looks as though the car was untouched for 40 years. During this time, the dreaded tinwork got hold of the little Plymouth. From the exterior, it looks like the problem is largely in the quarter panels, but the frame, floors and trunk have been seriously impacted. In some places, there is more daylight than metal. So, bringing this car back to life will not be an undertaking for the faint of heart.

I suppose this would not be considered a numbers-matching car as the seller believes the short block was replaced under warranty. The exhaust manifold is from a ’72 340 which may have been swapped at the same time as the block. We’re told that the transmission, carburetor, distributor, radiator and power steering pump are all original. The car came equipped with the 3.55 axle package. With all this said, the car does not run, and we don’t know quite what it will take to change that. The fender tag and VIN decal are quite visible.

The Hemi Orange paint is original to the car and it was paired with a white interior, which is in a desperate state now. It has bucket seats, console and rally gauges, but what’s left of the insides will need to be gutted and started over from scratched once the rust is eradicated. If this car had been lightly used and well-maintained, it could be worth upwards of $60,000. In fair condition, it could fetch $35,000, but this car is light years away from even that. So, don’t spend all your money buying this car – chances are you’ll need twice that much to fix this one up.

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Comments

  1. Arthur

    This looks like something that Mark Worman and his crew at Graveyard Carz could sink their teeth into. They specialize in something like this.

    On the other hand, if it’s too far gone for a standard restoration, there is always the pro-touring route if handed to the right hot rod shop.

    Like 12
    • Steve R

      People building high end Pro Touring cars don’t start with cars in this condition. All that matters to them is the body, it saves time and is far cheaper overall to buy the best body the can find and afford. This car will likely be bought by someone doing a home restoration.

      Steve R

      Like 4
  2. Mark

    Well said. There aren’t many examples out there and this one appears to be straight with good chrome and glass as well.

    Like 3
  3. DON

    Its a Plymouth, so the EV code paint would have been “Tor Red” .This car looks a lot better than many E bodies posted on this site . Sure the interior is roached, but you would be replacing most of it on a restoration , and quarters and trunk pans are common areas to go, and parts are available . This will one beautiful Cuda when its restored !

    Like 13
    • 370zpp

      I agree Don, I would love to see this one brought back to life.

      Like 5
    • Phil Detweiler

      Thank you, DON!

      Coming from a Plymouth family (my dad was a Chrysler-Plymouth dealer from 1966 to 1980), it’s a bit of a pet peeve of mine when people substitute the usually better known Dodge name for a High Impact color on a Plymouth. As you’ve observed, EV2 is Tor Red on a Plymouth, not Hemi Orange. Plymouth and Dodge were having the same intramural battle over whether this color was red or orange as were Chevrolet and Pontiac at General Motors over the very similar Hugger Orange/Carousel Red.

      The pictures of this car also reveal the truth about another common misconception: Hemi Orange exterior paint doesn’t match the engine paint. Even Mark Worman gets that wrong (he’s said on Graveyard Carz that they’re the same, except that EV2 has a bit of metallic flake, but not enough to be considered a metallic paint). The pic of the engine compartment clearly shows that Hemi Orange engines are more orange than is Tor Red/Hemi Orange, although they’ll look slightly red in a Vitamin C/Go Mango car.

      Like 14
    • robert semrad

      Hi, Don….you’re correct, it is Tor, not Toro Red. I bought a new 71 Roadrunner and somewhere way back then, I got it stuck in my mind that it was Toro, and that’s what I’ve believed for 50 years, until now…..thanks for the correction…. Bob

      Like 1
  4. Duwane McKnight

    I’m so sad that people let these incredible cars deteriate into this state hey I understand not having that cash on hand to start the restoo however if after 10years thier should be a mopar non destruct cause where if you haven’t begin the project after 10years and can’t provide a habital place that the mopsr won’t deterioate into a state like this I would like to Dave every mopar I see this one I don’t think any of the metal frame or interior I bet the dash frame is even full of cancer on this one the phrase parts car at best seem to be a good fit as much as I hate that phrase but then what good parts are let that would equal the asking price

    Like 3
  5. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    It was rusty when they put it away !

    Like 1
  6. Tim Hornick

    ahhhh yes … my favorite Mopar .
    gotta love those ‘cudas

  7. chevelle guy

    ahhhh yes , my favorite Mopar . gotta love those old ‘cudas

    Like 2
  8. George Mattar

    These cars rotted to the windows by 1977. How the seats got that condition is thanks to mice. They destroy cars. I keep traps in my garage all the time. Dryer sheets also and put them in the car. No mice. 340 is a great performer. But for the purist the orig is gone. $14,000 is too much considering the work needed to restore.

    Like 3
    • bone

      They wouldn’t have eaten the entire back seat, they like foam for sure, but not vinyl . I’m thinking they were ripped up and someone stripped the rear and started stripping the fronts down to redo them and they gave up . that would explain why the fronts aren’t bolted down .,

    • Phlathead Phil

      Moth balls keep mice out.

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