Cuda Clone: 1973 Plymouth Barracuda

This ‘70s pony car is in the midst of an interesting transition. What started out life as a rather ordinary 1973 Barracuda with a 318 V8 is well on its way to becoming a 1971 ‘Cuda with a 383 and 4-speed. And this looks every bit like a no-expense-spared project given the level of the detail that has been attended to with this Plymouth. Interested parties will find the Barracuda in Pompano Beach, Florida and it’s available here on eBay where bidding has reached $24,200 with no indication of how high the reserve has been set.

1971 was the second year of the all-new Barracuda that finally lost its association with the Plymouth Valiant by joining forces with the new Dodge Challenger. That model year would be the only time the car would wear quad headlights and every powerplant in the Mopar playbook could be had in the car. The seller here was no doubt taken so much with the ’71 Cuda that he bought a ’73 from Texas and began transforming it into a ’71. Not just any ’71, but a ‘Cuda with a 383, 4-barrel carb and 4-speed. There were just 501 ‘Cudas built that way in 1971 in hardtop form. So, I guess the goal was to make this # 502?

To make things more interesting, the car would end up being finished in Hemi Orange paint (we don’t know what the donor car’s original color was). The car was completely stripped down and put on a rotisserie so the repainting process could begin. Now, wherever you look underneath, all you see is orange. Trunk, floorboards, engine compartment, you name it. Most of the sheet metal is new, so there is no rust anywhere to be found. The car now carries a ’71 grille, fenders, full quarters, drop-offs, roof skin, trunk, and tail panel. The floor and frame rails are said to be perfect. The hood has been painted orange as well, but not the other exterior surfaces.

Besides the Hemi Orange paint, the ‘Cuda was intended to gain a billboard white vinyl top and interior. The front seats have already been reupholstered, but the rear seat bottom has not. A new carpet kit is there waiting to be installed along with new interior panels, headliner, and the top material and trim. The dashboard is said to be perfect and all the components for factory air conditioning are already in the car.

Not to be outdone, the seller acquired a new, date-correct 383 V8 with 10:1 pistons and other performance goodies. The A833 4-speed has been rebuilt along with a new clutch. All the suspension components are new. In fact, when you check out the photos of the undercarriage, it looks practically like a new car. Even the electronics on the Plymouth have been converted to 1971 standards. Whatever components are needed to complete the project will come along with the sale, including the glass and graphics.

It’s a shame that the seller won’t see his vision to conclusion, but as he describes it, sometimes “life gets in the way.” We assume the logical thing for the buyer to do is pick up where the seller stopped off. There is one sticking point in my mind, however. When this transformation has been completed, will you be able to title and register the car as a ’71 or is it still a ’73 in the eyes of the DMV? A 1971 ‘Cuda (but not a Hemi) could be worth as much as $80,000 according to Hagerty, whereas the ordinary 318 V8 1973 Barracuda will top out at half that at best.

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Comments

  1. Tooyoung4heyday Member

    You can’t change the VIN so no matter what it looks like it’s still a 73′ Barracuda. The ’72-74 Barracudas are gaining popularity probably due to the fact that most are cheap or reasonably priced and are close enough to desirable ’70-71 versions. Even nice and restomod ’72-74 examples are bringing decent money these days. So this could still have reasonable money attached just being a ’73 or someone willing to pay for a ’71 “clone”. A bit unusual this clone however in the sense that in most cases a clone is made out of same year car as desired just making it spec out as a higher level machine, most commonly I would say is a a base Chevy cloned to SS status. It is fortunate for this seller that the bodys from ’70-74 were so very similar to be able pull this transition off. I say good luck to seller and buyer and hopefully car is seen through and project is not lost.

    Like 8
  2. Ruede Mcgriff

    Weird that they wouldn’t paint the body when bare- things like the rusty fender bolts concern me with the quality here

    Like 2
  3. Dave

    The electronics on these were, by today’s standards, rather primitive. You had a Plymouth Transaudio radio, a “Electronic Voltage Regulator” and maybe an Electronic Ignition box.

    • 370zpp

      Well, when you put it that way, we should probably all be looking at the newest buick instead of this 1973 car with the funny looking shifter knob . .

      Like 3
      • JoeNYWF64

        The newest Buick what? Do they even HAVE a 2 door anything, much less 1 that looks good? Or does Cadillac? Might as well get rid of both brands! I won’t miss em.

        Primitive IMO is points & condender, mechanical voltage regulator, & a radio with tubes inside! lol

        Like 5
  4. JBD

    I would have just kept the ‘73 with its round taillights and put in the big block B series engine. Best of both worlds!

  5. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    SOLD for $30,000.

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