Blank Canvas: 1970 Plymouth Barracuda Gran Coupe Convertible

It looks like this 1970 Plymouth Barracuda Gran Coupe Convertible is a project build that stalled pretty early. However, that could prove to be good news for potential buyers. It appears that someone has addressed its rust problems, making it a prime candidate for the buyer to build the car of their dreams. It seems that I’m not alone in my thinking because there have already been twenty bids submitted since the owner listed the Plymouth for sale here on eBay. It is located in Saint Louis, Missouri, and the bidding has already rocketed to $20,700 in this No Reserve auction. Tempted? Well, maybe you need to read on.

When this Convertible was shiny and new, its panels wore Alpine White paint. A lot of water has passed under the bridge in the past fifty-one years, but that doesn’t make this car a lost cause. It appears that it may have had some rust problems, and someone has addressed these by replacing the rear quarter panels, the trunk pan, the right rear frame rail, and the taillight panel. The work looks like it might have been performed to a respectable standard because all of the gaps look tight and consistent. That leaves this classic at a point where there is no further penetrating rust for potential buyers to tackle. The floors and underside of the car have a dusting of surface corrosion, and the buyer will probably address this as a matter of course. If I were to buy the Convertible, I would probably mount it on a rotisserie. It seems too good to skimp on, and the extra attention to detail should reap long-term benefits for future owners. It appears that this is a “what you see is what you get” proposition, so the buyer might be faced with sourcing glass, trim, and sundry other pieces of exterior hardware to complete the build. This could extend to a few hanging panels because while they have no rust, dings and dents in a few might justify replacement.

Apart from the carpet, the interior of this Convertible is virtually complete. A few items are missing from the dash, but its overall condition is respectable enough to see service in the completed car. The upholstered surfaces are toast, and the console is missing. How the buyer tackles this will depend on their vision for the vehicle. They could choose to source a trim kit in the correct color and material or opt for custom trim. This is a case where the world will be their oyster. The same is true with the drivetrain. The original owner ordered this Convertible with a 318ci V8, a 3-speed TorqueFlite transmission, an 8¾” rear end, power steering, and power front disc brakes. The car is now a roller, with the engine and transmission nothing but a distant memory. That poses an interesting question to consider. The owner claims that this is 1-of-318 examples of the Gran Coupe Convertible to feature the 318/TorqueFlite combination. My sources indicate that the correct figure is 381 cars, so it could be a typo error by the owner. That configuration makes it relatively rare, and sourcing a date-correct drivetrain is a possibility. The other alternative is to ignore originality and slot a more potent drivetrain under this classic. Whether that is old-school muscle or the restomod path, that will be for the next owner to choose.

It’s pretty easy to see why the bidding has been spirited on this 1970 Plymouth Barracuda because its lack of a drivetrain offers a range of possibilities for its next owner. The fact that they can commence their build with a rust-free body adds to its attraction. I would be so tempted to slot a Hemi under the hood if I found it in my workshop, and that is merely one option to consider. If you managed to secure this classic, what path would you follow?


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  1. Gary

    Lets go old school. A 230.2 CID L Head. The 3 speed auto should serve just fine, or go whole hog and put in a proper 3 speed manual. Preferably on the tree, but if you had to, it would solve the console problem on the floor. Bet you wouldn’t see another like it at cars and coffee. Is that the kind of enlightened thinking you guys had in mind when the question was asked? I wish I had the money for such fun shenanigans! It would be fun to stir the pop just once more before I go.

    Like 3
    • Jim Dandy

      Your a weird guy, but who am I to judge? Must admit, I would stop to gawk at such an atrocious car if so equipped. My grandpa said those old flat heads were pretty good engines.

      Like 3
  2. Charles Sawka

    Blank canvas ? This looks like a Picasso eating mushrooms design.

    Like 1
  3. Leslie Martin Member

    Whether to go back to original is only a tough decision because Gran Coupe convertibles were rare in the first place. It’s not like it would be hard to find a 318 2V and a 904 in the right date range. But if it were my project, I’d restore the lovely GC interior, and exterior back to it’s original stock Alpine White glory. But not until after upgrading the suspension and dropping in a modern powerplant like a 392 hemi. This car doesn’t need a Hellcrate to be a fun and reliable driver. Just a little TLC and body and paint to finish it.

    P.S. I would think twice about putting it on a rotisserie without making sure the frame rails and connectors are solid With that many panels replaced, there is probably more rust than meets the eye in the rest of the car.

    Like 2
  4. bone

    Adam, no one, NO ONE , ordered a car like this with a 318 ! dont assume all cars were special orders , most weren’t . This was a dealer lot car and meant to draw customers in and the small block kept the price down

    Like 1
    • Gary

      Well, I ordered a 318 in my 1970 so I could get the color I wanted. Many of us were more than thrilled with the simple LA engine in its standard form.

      Like 2
    • piston poney

      in my town there is a 1971 dodge challenger that was ordered with a 318, consul shit automatic, bucket seats, A/C, power steering, power breaks, hemi orange, and an R/T hood, the guy has it in a garage sitting beside a 1970 cuda 340 4 speed car, both need restored the challenger is going to get floor pans, under seat pan, trunk pan, lower quarters, and trunk extensions at the end of the year, it will be done in probably 2 years if i had to guess.

  5. erik j

    Well,never heard of a gran coupe conv. I had a 70 gran coupe, over head console,rubber ft. bumper. $350 drove it home 1985 ish cool car. This seems preaty rare and worth the effort. Good luck to next owner

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