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3,700 Original Miles: 1973 Plymouth ‘Cuda

I get that the 1973 model isn’t one of the most favored cars from the third-generation Barracuda herd, but considering the direction muscle offerings were headed in by this point just the fact that the ‘Cuda held on this long (plus even one more year) is a testament to the fact that Plymouth was doing all they could to preserve a good thing.  And it’s not that the ’73 was bad, quite the opposite, it just had some tough shoes to fill when compared to the ’70 and ’71 cars.  That being said, the car for sale here on Craigslist is not only the best you could get for the period, but it’s also only been driven 3,700 miles.  This E-Body isn’t cheap either, with the seller hoping for $75,000, so if that doesn’t scare you away head on over to Kingston, Washington, and check this beauty out in person.

We’d like to give a big thank you to reader Pat L. for the great tip here!  We get a moderate amount of details about the car’s past, including the seller telling us it’s one of the lowest mileage ‘Cudas in existence, which, if accurate, I don’t find at all hard to believe.  He says there are documents available to prove this, with one in particular mentioned as being the fuel purchase log, plus all of the original purchase papers from when the Mopar was new are also stated to be present.

The Silver Frost Metallic finish is noted as original and has held up nicely overall, due in part to the seller’s claim that the Plymouth has been stored inside a climate-controlled dwelling its entire life, including 42 years where I’m assuming the car wasn’t driven.  The body is stated as totally rust-free and in excellent shape, with only a few issues mentioned including some paint imperfections on the roof and trunk lid from items stored on top of these areas during the hibernation decades.

Choices under the hood were down to two for the 1973 model, only a 318 or the optional 340.  Fortunately, this one’s equipped with the latter, which made a period respectable 240 horsepower.  There’s also a 4-speed manual transmission, so by this time, you couldn’t do any better than what we have here.  The seller claims the ‘Cuda runs and drives like a brand new car, with a re-cored radiator and a fresh fuel tank recently added.

Buckets were standard in ’73 but a console wasn’t, and I kind of like the cars without the divider between the seats as it seems to draw more attention to the way cool Pistol Grip shifter, which fortunately can be found here.  Everything inside reflects what I would hope a 3,700-mile 50-year-old climate-controlled stored auto would look like, and if you’re finding the $75k price a bit optimistic the seller mentions or best offer at the end of his listing, so maybe there’s a little wiggle room.  What are your thoughts on this next to final year Plymouth ‘Cuda?  Would you preserve the miles where they are, or double them by Christmas?

Comments

  1. Big C

    They couldn’t give these things away, back in the 80’s, 90’s. Now? $75k. Sheesh.

    Like 16
  2. Bob

    I owned a 1973 Cuda 340 with the Slap Stick…loved it.
    Family grew, so the Cuda had to go. Sold it in 1978 for 1K.

    Like 19
  3. Jasper

    The kind of thing I’d score if the Power Ball ever works out!

    You’d be hard pressed to restore one to this nice for the money. Seems like a basket case to even start with is always $10K.

    Like 15
  4. Sam

    I’ll take the Yellow 72 MACH 1 for $21,500

    Like 16
    • Torino Cobra

      Myself also, that 72 Mach 1 didn’t look too bad, and the Price seemed right.

      Like 2
  5. Bob

    I don’t know, maybe it’s me, but I get a little suspicious of all these 50 year old cars with less than 10,000 miles on them.

    Like 12
  6. Greg

    If you like the Barracuda body style of this car and given if had the best options available for 73 and 3700 miles only l could see this car being a 50k in today’s market. Even if everything is authenticated. 75k not so much. I was in high school when this car was new and it was all you could get.

    Like 4
  7. JoeNYWF64

    Did they even have climate controlled garages in the early ’70s & earlier?
    & if so, who used them? Cheap cars(most were not loaded) back then were disposable & used in all types of weather & parked anywhere & everywhere. Just watch old tv shows from back then.
    You could get a declutching fan w/o a/c? Not so at GM back then – i think. Surprised the fan here is that far from the radiator with no shroud.
    New gas tank? I know of a few ’60s GM cars with orig gas tanks still being used parked outside most of their life – but were undercoated back in the day. & have well over 300k miles on them.
    I guess it helps the tank to add fresh gas at least once every couple of months.

    Like 4
  8. Greg

    What happened to the American muscle car by the early 70s was a tragedy but on the other hand it made the classic car market what it is today. Original, powerful,fast and rare and as crazy as this market seems at times there’s still deals out there.

    Like 4
  9. mick

    It’s been a little less than 50 years since I drove one of these (my girlfriends brother had one) or even really looked that closely at a 73 so forgive me if my memory is a little foggy but is that the correct front bumper for that year?

    Like 4
    • PRA4SNW

      mick, you are absolutely correct and the first thing I noticed when looking at the front end picture. The 2 rubber bumperettes are missing. See the back end shot to see what should be there.

      Kind of fishy that those are missing on such a supposed low mileage car. And it wouldn’t be so hard to put some on. But then again, probably a popular Day 2 modification.

      Like 3
      • PaulS

        It was pretty common for the owners to remove the front bumperettes because they messed up the lines of the beautiful front end. I also don’t buy the low mileage claim and if the odometer has rolled over then this is a very well maintained car. Just my 2 cents.

        Like 0
  10. Zen

    If it really is what they say it is, wow. Why not do one of those auctions like Barrett Jackson? I, too, would hesitate to buy a big money car on craigslist.

    Like 4
  11. Claudio

    A late friend of mine said its only money , you have to spend it after he inherited 500k , wich he spent all of in 5 years , for the rest of us $75k is a lot of $$$

    Like 3
  12. Sunshine

    3,700 miles? “Sure, 3,700 miles at 1/4 mile at a time!”
    Given the very few options to add weight or rob power, this may have lived life 50 years ago at a drag strip.

    Like 4
  13. Bick Banter

    Almost bought a ’73 Challenger 340. Couldn’t quite come up with the $3,200 it cost back in ’87. It wasn’t a low mileage creampuff as this one’s alleged to be, though it was pretty nice. Red with black vinyl roof. Automatic. All stock. Sounded great and pulled strong.

    I forget the mileage now but I think it was under 100k. Back in those days, there was a pretty big value difference between the pre-1972 muscle cars which were rising, and the smog era muscle, which were still cheap.

    Like 6
  14. Stan

    A stock 87-93 foxbody would likely be a drivers race. Cool 73′ cuda

    Like 2
    • Robert

      True enough Stan, but honestly, which one would you rather be rolling around in? It’s a rhetorical question, of course… I’d love to be the proud owner of this classic, but I just can’t get on board with paying a years salary for a car, I don’t care how nice, rare, sought after, or anything else it might be, besides I’d want it to drive, and it wouldn’t have 3700 miles on it for long! Ir any rubber on those rear tires either! Look, I’m in the camp that likes to use what I purchase, not park it in a climate controlled garage and wipe the dust off with a diaper..

      Like 2
  15. Robert Proulx

    Is it beautifull yes, but i’m always weary about these fantastic finds of low millage stored vehicules from the past. Again it looks flawless but i would not and never buy sight unseen. As per 75 g’s even Archie Bunker would have said jeeez Edith. In the 90’s many models couldn’t be sold no matter how cheap and today people are asking gazillions go figure. If the 3700 milles id genuine for a true Mopar fan (and rich) this could be worth it

    Like 3
  16. 370zpp 370zpp Member

    Miles? Maybe. Cost? Doesn’t matter, I’m not buying it. Beautiful? Oh yeah.

    Like 2
  17. C Force

    An older restoration being passed of as 3700 mile original car?

    Like 2
  18. Robert t mcfarland

    Keep in mind that the odometer on these models can be rolled in about ten minutes tops. In the 70’s I owned a wholesale business in Memphis. All of the local banks decided that they wouldn’t finance anything with over 50,000 miles. Going to the auction was a hoot. Every five year old car there had 48,000 miles. What a coincidence. Beware.

    Like 5
  19. bill

    If you’re a fan and it’s legit,where else can you get one?

    Like 3
  20. Jon

    Idk…it looks right. If it is what it says it is, then I get it. It’s like brand new.
    I would need some credentials, before I would drop that kinda cash.

    Like 0
  21. Brad

    Facing reality- a 50 year old motor would not look that nice as the natural (indoor?) air would patina and mottle even the best of metals. Good luck, Chuck.

    Like 1
  22. pcchuck

    In June 1971 I bought a dealer demo 5 k mile 70 Barracuda Gran Coupe…. which was the high trim. 318 column automatic, A/C, and the houndstooth interior. Red with white vinyl top and the 5 spoke road wheels with 3 narrow stripe white walls. It was extremely sharp… Drove it for real in Ohio and Michigan and in 78 it had rusted to the point where the rear springs were loose from the trunk floor. The last night I owned it, on a rural road it still did 115…. sold it for $700 with a fresh bondoed paint job. Loved that car….

    Like 0
  23. Joseph DiCarlo

    I owned one in red for $ 3978…and odd cents delivered a 1973 CUDA` 340 4 speed pistol grip just like this sample in silver it from 1973 to 1979.
    Whishing I could post pictures of mine, it was one the best cars in its category that I have ever owned . Reliable, performed as good and better than many of its kind on the roads back then. Other than consumables the only factory part that failed was the fuel tank sending unit .It was fun to drive and after a few improvements like name brand RADIALS, hp. shocks and torsion bars ..it handled better than its counterparts of the day, my opinion of course.
    I admit to not being an expert about all of the options that could be had on the Cuda`s ,but if memory serves, all Cuda`s were equipped with power steering which this one appears to not have but more important than that , is the rally gauge pack 150 mph speedometer that this one does not have. According to the dealership that mine came from, the rally pack was one of the standard features that set it apart from any 340 4 Barracuda with a pistol grip. This one sports the 120 mph and the cluster is not photographed … what`s up with that?
    Out of the nearly 20 K Barracuda made in 1973 nearly 9500 were Cuda`s and in my travels while I owned mine, I only got to see 6 of them up close at car events, in each case they all had power steering and a rally pack gauge cluster with the 150 mph speedo. Not accusing anyone of anything ..but something does not feel right . Now retired and able to buy one even at the price asked for, would I buy one if it was as legit like mine was ?? No…the price of vintage cars reached the ABYSMALLY IDIOTIC FIGURES of present times decades ago, especially where it concerns the abused terminology CLASSICS now interchangeable with vintage cars , I would pay 5 times what it cost me back in 1973 with 47 miles on the clock, But somebody will likely fork over that amount, and the old saying goes, nobody has ever seen a BRINKS truck at a gravesite so spend the money and have fun right? 75 k worth of fun
    could be a 1973 Cuda for somebody, but not for me.
    The best part about vintage cars is that they can be taken apart and put back together many times … unlike the plastic snap fit junk of today , they may run better and more efficiently but they are plastic junk,

    Like 0
  24. Richard Oconnor

    I am the current owner of this vehicle and have known about this vehicles existence for over two decades. As to the comment the climate controlled garage, it was parked in a two car garage attached to a house. If you’re wondering about the bumperettes they are in the trunk wrapped in newspaper since new. Fuel tank for sitting with fuel in it for over forty years deteriorated just like the heater core. Car was parked in 1980 as documentation will confirm. Post second gas crunch and the original owner never got back to it. Every single bit of this I can prove, with all do respect if you’re not willing to investigate or understand the significance this car might not be for you.

    Like 4
    • PRA4SNW

      Thanks for posting, Richard.

      A ’73 Barracuda was my first car and I have been in love with the look since then. Glad to hear that you have the original bumperettes. It just doesn’t look “normal” to me to see them removed.

      Like 0
  25. Ffred

    The pictures look right for a unrestored car but the price is about 40K to high. As far as mileage should be higher. I’ve had my ’68 roadrunner over 50 years and it had 32,000 miles on it when I bought it. It now has 40,000 miles.

    Like 1
  26. Philbo427

    Man, haven’t seen a ‘Cuda before with such low mileage! Wow, time capsule!

    Like 2
  27. JOSEPH DICARLO

    It looks like the real thing but it may not be …too many deletes ,I owned the real thing from brand new in $4275 delivered RED 47 miles on the clock 1973 to 1979 .. The 340 4 speed Hurst pistol grip shifter .Wishing I could post pictures of it . Q 1# Where are the rubber bumperettes ?They were the first move toward mandated energy absorbing bumpers . Q2# Why does it have a 120 mph speedo since CUDA`s had a Rally gauge pack with a 150 mph speedo , tach , 4 in one gauge pack and a clock the size of Rhode Island not photographed ? Q3# Why is the Chrome lettering CUDA not visible on the right side of the dash ?.It was not printed on a tag it was chrome raised lettering like that on the rear near the license plate
    too many Whys ? .Last but more plausible than the first 3Qs is no power steering pump is visible in the photos .
    Besides my own I only saw 6 more in my area out of the 9300 plus copies made in 1973 ..they all had the features like mine had which are not represented in this version, not accusing or insinuating anything but the questions are legitimate.
    One thing is for sure, none of the guys who owned those 6 , whom got to talk to and exchange info about the car would ever consider driving one with ARMOSTRONG steering, me especially ..unless you have driven one you cannot know why it is not a good idea .

    Like 0
    • Richard Oconnor

      Read above comment by Richard O’Connor me, rally pack just like the power steering were options ,just like it says on my original window sticker

      Like 2
      • PaulS

        I believe you Richard, I have no reason not to since you’ve explained all of it.

        Like 0
      • JOSEPH DICARLO

        Richard, I meant no offense …and my earlier comment was phrased to reflect it .For the record, I admit readily that not in 1973 or now I have been an expert about the options which Plymouth offered for the flagship of the Barracuda line up. I know that in 1973 you could the base Barracudas with a slant 6 and a vinyl hat , the idea makes me cringe. But the `CUDAS were the top of the class, therefore assuming that they were fully optioned where performance was concerned especially the rally pack gauges is not much of a stretch, because many times my 340 4 sd version with 323 final ratio made full use of the 150 mph speedo, so that burying a 120 mph speedo deeper than the Mariana`s trench is not much of a challenge, why not have the 150?
        The dealer from which I bought mine from had 2 more on his lot besides mine, and all 3 were identically optioned, the colors were the only difference.
        The option bit never came up , I simply assumed that the `CUDAS had no delete options bases upon the 3 he had on the lot.
        The same applied to the other 6 mentioned in my previous comment and I do not recall any of their respective owners mentioning options. They were fun cars even with less power than some of earlier version. Even at 72 years of age I would still enjoy driving one . I sold mine to buy my first house…good or bad decision who know? Can`t get everything right …just like not getting the options right ?.
        Anyway good luck with selling yours, without the rally pack I`m out of the running LOL .Even without the options in question , as nice as your is, it will undoubtedly bring the price you set for it …

        Like 0
      • Philbo427

        Hi guys, I’m not as familiar with ‘Cudas and more so Challengers. If you got a Rallye Challenger (‘72-‘73) the Rallye gauge pack was an option. Even on a 1970 Challenger T/A I have seen the standard gauge panel.

        As far as the dash emblem, for Challengers only 1970 had a raised script molded into the dash. I think 1971 to 1974 it was a little plaque that stuck into the dash with two pins.

        Here is a 1973 brochure that includes Barracuda/‘Cuda models. There is a chart showing the Rallye gauge pack was an option on a ’Cuda not standard. Mopar did some weird stuff and you could mix and match stuff. There even was a prototype 4 door Barracuda that was never released.

        https://www.uniquecarsandparts.com.au/brochures_1973_plymouth_duster_valiant_barracuda

        Like 0
      • PRA4SNW

        Joseph, no slant 6 available in the ’73 Barracuda.

        Like 0
  28. belinda!

    A “herd” of Barracuda? Perhaps a school of Barracuda.

    Like 1
  29. JoeNYWF64

    Correct me if i am wrong, but oddly, for 1972-1974, the lighter duster/demon/dart would be faster than the cuda/chally with the most powerful motor & same trans & axle ratio in each because a larger or more powerful motor like the 440(or even 400) was not avail in the heavier cuda/chally – good way to kill sales of the latter. Imagine if the lighter ’72-74 nova got the heavier Z28’s motor.

    Like 0
  30. Philbo427

    Hey guys, sorry if this is a double post. I made a post but it didn’t seem to get posted?

    Just adding information.

    I went online and looked at a 1973 duster/valiant/barracuda brochure, and the rally gauge cluster and also power steering are optional for the ‘Cuda for 1973.

    Like 1
  31. Philbo427

    Dunno about ‘Cudas but for Challengers only 1970 had the Challenger emblem, similar to the exterior badge, glued on the dash pad. 1971-1974 the name Challenger was on a little rectangular badge that had two pins that went into the dash pad. After looking online I believe the Barracuda/‘Cudas to be the same.

    Like 1
  32. pcchuck

    Re; My ccomment above… When ordering a car back then you had to be very careful… EVERYTHING was optional. My 70 Gran Coupe had the optional elastomeric rear bumper in body color and chrome bumperettes. The front bumper was stock chrome with no bumperettes or fog lights. It also had optional rocker panel trims that had longitudinal strakes… really set it off. Its’ 318 developed 230 hp… Spending for the 340 got you 10 hp…. why bother?

    Point being, if you weren’t careful you could end up with a car with zero options… like this Plain Jane…. which was clearly targeted at the guys who would ”jack it up” with those ridiculous rear spring shackles…

    I never understood so many low option cars back then… Buying the biggest engine and a manual cost about the same as the base engine, automatic and air.

    Like 0
    • mick

      I did not know the 1970 340 engine ever came with 240hp. I thought the low end for that engine in 1970 was 275.

      Like 0
      • pcchuck

        You’re right.. according to google. Even at that, I’ll still take the high trim 318 automatic with air….

        Like 0
  33. Chris Cornetto

    I had a 71 in the early 80s. The car had supposedly 47,000 miles on it and it looked it. It was the worst car I ever owned. I paid too much and thank goodness I had AAA back then. It ran hot, even after, water pumps, radiators, this that, hose springs, blah, blah. The wipers ate the windshield. after the 2nd door handle and tiring of sliding over the console, which ofcourse I broke the door one night. I just left the window down enough to reach in. The trunk floor was made of the rare disappearing steel, cause it was disappearing after a year. I sold it for almost what I paid, it left its next owner 3 miles from my house along the road. I bought a Challenger convertible for a tenth of what that thing cost, stuffed a 440 in it and never had it towed, go figure. If this unit was as reliable as mine, I can see it having laid forever…..

    Like 0

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