440 EFI V8: 1971 Plymouth ‘Cuda

The Barracuda finally broke free of its lineage to the Plymouth Valiant in 1970 with an all-new E-body platform that would be shared with the new Dodge Challenger. Sales perked up by a third over 1969 to fall yet again by two-thirds for 1971. Was it the quad-headlights that people didn’t care for on the ‘Cuda or perhaps the pony car market was on its way out? At any rate, here’s a 1971 ‘Cuda 340 convertible than was only 1 of 30 when it was built, but it’s had a rotisserie restoration and a crate 440 engine now resides under the hood. Located in Summerfield, North Carolina, a single bid here on eBay sits at $99,000, so It’s likely this car will trade in six figures.

Plymouth built 48,867 Barracudas for 1970 and only 16,492 the following year. 1971 would be the last hurrah for drop-tops and only 292 ‘Cuda convertibles would be built. Of that number, just 30 would go out the door with a 340 V8 and a 4-speed. Which is a little puzzling to me that when someone decided to restore a car this rare why go with an incorrect motor? The 440 was available that year in the ‘Cuda, but only as a 6-Pack. The car’s engine came from a crate and has electronic fuel injection to boot. Also interesting is that the Shaker hood appears to be left over from the 340 with the 340 badging still on it. Why? Only 3,200 miles appear to have accumulated since the restoration took place.

A beautiful job was done on the body and paint, even keeping the 340 stripes even though it’s no longer one (another mystery). The white paint is said to be correct in color and everything appears top shelf with the body. We’re told the undercarriage was also brought back to new condition. Rather than stick with factory wheels, the restorer wanted a bit of a custom resto-mod look by choosing the aftermarket “mags” it now wears.

Inside the car, the seats were redone in Hemi Orange leather and do have a striking contrast to the rest of the automobile. Everything electric in the car is said to work properly, including the lowering and raising of the black leather convertible top. In case you don’t want to ride around exposed to the elements, the car comes with a new vintage air and heat system. The rest of the interior looks as though it would have left the factory that way, including the Pistol-Grip shifter.

Given the rarity of these cars in both ‘Cuda and convertible trim, these Plymouths can fetch big dollars in this condition. At least at the early stages of the auction, the changes to the car’s originality haven’t hurt its value, but the seller set the starting bid high enough to at least reach the minimum amount of money he’s willing to take.

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Comments

  1. Skorzeny

    To me, the white is horrible, the worst color they could have picked. There are only about 400 other colors that would have looked better. Nice otherwise.

    Like 17
  2. Troy s

    It hasnt been exactly restored to factory stock specs anyways, the 440 is just fine especially with fuel injection. Can’t see a whole lot under there with the gigantic shaker scoop so few will know. Really nice car for a whole lot of money.
    The E body came to the scene about two years too late, one of the most aggressive looking Mopars, especially the ‘Cuda, but all pony cars were losing ground by ’70-’71, especially a few years after that. The seventies were already beginning to fizzle, as far as muscle went.

    Like 5
  3. NovaTom

    Don’t think I’ve ever seen a white car with an orange interior. Not a fan – but of course it’s not my car.

    Like 10
    • Frank Sumatra

      Never saw a 1969 Camaro Indy Pace Car? Too bad. It even had orange stripes.

      Like 17
      • NovaTom

        Maybe it’s that big blob of black – something doesn’t look right. .

        Like 3
      • jokacz

        Not just orange, but hideous hounds tooth.

        Like 3
  4. Lash

    They ruined that car. What a shame.

    Like 13
  5. Don Vito

    You seriously think that engine swap isn’t going to hurt it’s value? This guy better hope some rich idiot comes along. A serious collector isn’t going touch this car unless that original 340 is laying around in his garage.

    Like 9
    • Ron LaPierre

      I agree. Pretending to be original with the billboard, and shaker hood reading 340, is old sleeper car stuff, not investment worthy.

      Like 1
  6. JoeNYWF64

    What’s the point with the white faced gages? A distraction, if you ask me.
    At least the short sidewall tires don’t have tacky glued on white or yellow
    letters/phrases, like i’ve seen on some modern cars.
    Tryin to picture if this color combo would look better with an all orange interior.
    Does Vintage air always provide as many outlet (under) dash vents as a factory a/c setup?
    With the hidden wipers not properly recessed, i wonder what the true mileage is.

    Like 2
  7. BlondeUXB Member

    Striking color/graphic combination.
    Loosing the “340” in the black flank panels would improve it.
    6-pack in place of the efi and factory rally wheels would clean up the rest and be a less confusing presentation…

    • BlondeUXB Member

      Clearly, I’m not a Mopar guy.

  8. Darrin

    Put the 340 back in it.

    Like 3
  9. Super Glide

    If all they did was an engine swap, they may have problems. I had a 70 440 Challenger R/T
    convertible. I know it was a very rare car.
    Over the course of it’s hard life the body twisted and it was already a big block car.

    This Cuda would be fine as a 340, but did they address Torque Boxes, spings, torsion bars and the rest of the drive line when they dropped in the big RB 440? If they didn’t, this car may self destruct and the Secretary will disavow any knowledge.

    Like 10
    • Phil D

      The torque boxes that were installed on even the lowliest Slant Six-powered convertibles were the same items that were installed on 440 and Hemi coupes. They were on this car from the factory.

      Like 1
  10. John

    great color package and lot of flash for the cash!

    Like 5
  11. Brian

    I believe hounds tooth interior in a Mopar should be a felony.

    Like 7
    • Super Glide

      A felony yes, with mandatory time. However, will that stem the tide of Chevrolet Zombies?

      Like 3
      • Don Vito

        Felony? Ditching the 340 for that boat anchor 440 on a 4 speed 1 of 30 car should get you straight up in front of a firing squad. Out of the 30, 25 of them probably wrecked or disintegrated into a pile rust.

        Like 5
  12. DON

    rotisserie MAYBE , but restoration to me means as built from the factory. This isnt anywhere near a restoration in my mind, more like a resto mod.

    Like 6
  13. Mark

    I think this is the most unappealing 71 Cuda I have ever seen. White bumpers and grille, white gauges and short sidewall tires… Yuk!

    Like 6
  14. Howie Mueler

    That interior is nasty, and so are the photos, just one poor engine photo.

    Like 5
  15. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    This car will sell for 100K at only one place – Barrett Jackson, where the resto mods rule.

    Like 4
  16. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    I found the dealer’s website that is selling it.
    Not much other information, though.
    http://davidsclassiccars.com/plymouth/534431-1971-plymouth-039cuda-convertible.html

    Like 2
  17. Moparman Member

    For those who’d like to upgrade wheels, yet retain a factory look, I would suggest these wheels by Dynacorn. I installed a set on my car in order to upsize to 15″ tires. They are one piece alloy, and look so close to the original that people are surprise to find out that they aren’t OEM rallies. The ones on this car (IMO) don’t quite look right; close, but no cigar! GLWTA!! :-)

  18. Doug Scott

    Well I know that everyone has their own opinion and mine is I really like it. If I had a spare $100,000 it would be in my garage right next to my 69 Road Runner convt.

    Like 3
  19. Nick

    Well it’s a nice ‘Cuda and looks nicely done and the owner is free to anything they want with their own car. That said it look it looks like a Clown car in that color scheme. Probably wasn’t built with the fuzzy orange upholstery though that was an actual option.
    It doesn’t help anything to throw another 200 lbs of dead weight over the front wheels either though I’m sure it’s used as a cruiser. Everybody who does these types of resto-mods think they’re worth more than they are, and so do those who buy them. It was a very rare and unique ‘Cuda to start with, they should have kept that was.

    Like 2
  20. Al Kameeno Member

    I like everything about this car. The color combo is quite striking, IMHO !! I dig the builder’s asthetic. Nitpick if you want, but i think it’s cool/different, and you won’t see another one like it !?!

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