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Future Find? 2009 “Hemi Cuda” Convertible!

Determining whether a car is destined to become a future classic is not easy. This is especially true when the vehicle in question has been modified. Even if this 2009 Challenger R/T doesn’t eventually achieve that status, it is still a car that will offer its next owner the possibility of an extremely enjoyable motoring experience. The owner has created a tribute car that is guaranteed to turn heads, but he has now decided to part with this beauty. It is located in Alexandria, Louisiana, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding is sitting at $29,800, but the reserve hasn’t been met.

It’s hard to know where to start with this Hemi Orange Challenger because the transformation that it has undergone has been quite dramatic. The seller bought the vehicle new from a Dodge dealership and immediately had it shipped to Drop Top Customs in High Springs, Florida. This company has been performing convertible conversions since 1976, and the quality of their work is first-rate. That was merely the starting point because the owner intended to create a Hemi ‘Cuda tribute car. After removing the roof and fitting a power top, Drop Top also added power rear quarter windows, ’71 ‘Cuda fender gills, and the Hemi “billboard” side stripes. Once it was returned to the owner, the Challenger was fitted with a Cervini shaker hood and scoop, along with a ‘Cuda grille and rear panel, gill rocker panels, and ‘Cuda badging. This is now a striking car, and the presentation is close to perfect. The panels are laser straight, with the gaps looking tight and consistent. The paint shines beautifully, and the wheels look flawless. The power top is in excellent condition, and there isn’t a lot to be critical of here. I find it interesting to examine convertible conversions. Some cars don’t lend themselves to these changes, while the lines of others make them a natural choice. There is no doubt in my mind that the Challenger fits into the latter category.

The Challenger is fitted with a 5.7-liter Hemi V8, a 6-speed Tremec manual transmission, and a 3.92 limited-slip rear end. With a genuine 18,700 miles on the clock, this is a classic that will be anything but worn out. When it was shiny and new, this engine would have produced 376hp. This was enough to launch the Challenger through the ¼ mile in an incredible 14.1 seconds. The Cervini shaker and cold air induction could potentially have unleashed a few extra ponies, so that figure might be able to be improved upon. However, there might be even more available to the buyer because a set of 6.1-liter Hemi “shorty” headers and a Predator tuner are being included in the sale. The accrued mileage reflects the amount of use the Challenger has had since new. However, it is serviced correctly, and the owner drives it weekly to keep the fluids circulating.

The interior presents in as-new condition and wants for nothing. The next owner will be able to drive this beauty with the top down and feel proud of the interior’s presentation. Aftermarket additions include a Hurst pistol-grip shifter for the 6-speed Tremec, along with custom “Hemi ‘Cuda” headrests for the leather seats. When I look at what the owner was trying to achieve with this car, I believe that he scored a bullseye. He wanted to create a classic with the looks and performance of the original Hemi ‘Cuda, but that provided a comfortable and luxurious motoring experience. Apart from leather upholstery and a leather-wrapped wheel, the Challenger scores power seats, power windows, air conditioning, cruise, acres of timber trim, GPS, and a premium stereo with every conceivable function.

When it was new, this 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T would have cost its owner somewhere around $30,000. I don’t even want to think about how much the conversion work has cost him, but the result is a car that would turn heads. Whether it will ever be a future classic is impossible to predict. For every person who has successfully bought a new car and hidden it away as its value and desirability has soared, there would be at least ten people who have gotten this process terribly wrong. That is why I would look at this car as a contemporary classic that is begging to be driven and appreciated. If it does happen to become a future classic worth a lot of money, that would be a nice bonus. Life is fleeting. Sometimes we need to seize the moment and let the future sort itself out. That’s what is awaiting the person who eventually buys this Challenger.


  1. Paul Stier

    There are actually 2 of these for sale on ebay. This one is in NJ.

    Like 4
  2. Jim in FL

    Being from Florida, I looked into having a conversion done by the place in High Springs. Once I learned that Chrysler scrapped plans for a factory convertible, I looked around for another option. Thought was to buy a brand new challenger and immediately send it for a chop. If I recall correctly, conversion started at $17k for the most basic (of course you supply the car) but went up from there with custom interiors, power train and bodywork. That was at least ten years ago. I abandoned the project as too rich for my blood. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a $60k car in 2009.

    I’ve seen these a couple times at dealers here in FL and the work looks great. I’m not fond of the ‘cuda body pieces or the wood grain, but to each his own. Not sure if it’s an investment vehicle, but I would love to have one with a manual for a daily driver. Maybe it’s time to start looking into it again.

    Like 6
  3. local_sheriff

    Why all this talk about investment? Buy the car if you LIKE it, not to speculate whether it’s gonna make you rich some day!

    I’m one of those who find the retro Challenger to actually look better than its forefather. There’s something about the width/length ratio that appeals to me, probably also because I always thought the ’71 Barracuda was a better version with its more ‘stubby’ look. Consequently a ‘cuda conversion on the new Challenger really works for me. Not a fan of the tail light setup here, but I seem to recall a similar ‘cuda conversion some years back utilizing true ’70-’71 ‘cuda tail light assemblies…?

    Like 14
    • Joe Machado

      Firmly agree, and always have, bought what I like.
      When you buy a new throw away vehicle, your, so called, investment dropped by a huge percent.
      And that is not an investment.
      Get over this investment crap.
      Flipper cars are bandaided together.
      You may have to take it apart anyway to see where mickey mouse worked on it.
      Get your wife, son or daughter involved with it. More family time together will reward you better than a $ investment.


    The convertible conversion is top notch excellent. Surprised FCA never did this. The next owner should drive it every weekend…and some weekdays too.
    It’s an investment grade vejicle flawless or with “patina”.

    Like 3
  5. Dusty Rider

    Looks heavy in the chin and rear to me. Maybe it needs chrome bumpers to break it up?

    Like 5
    • Gary Haas

      Cannot agree more! Chrysler did a good job but there is way too much bulk from bumper down. (Done for crash protection?)

      Like 1
  6. Moparman Member

    I agree w/ Detroit Land Yacht, that the convertible top conversion is excellent. (IMO) the billboard installation angle on this car is off. The “HEMI” should be positioned lower on the door. The front fascia looks compressed, and the rear looks like an afterthought. The conversion on the New Jersey car listed by Paul Stier in the first post looks much better, more “Cuda like; although I do like the shifter in this one!

    Like 6
  7. Troy s

    I agree with local sheriff’s comment, buy it because you like it. Plain and simple.
    It’s a custom car, not one of those old Plymouth Hemicuda convertibles made by Plymouth that a handful of gearheads bought way back when. A Dodge Challenger with tribute to Plymouth’s glory days and a custom only convertible top and other stuff, really professionally done and if you think of it, not overly expensive and also very user friendly in every way.
    And keep in mind there really is no similarity between the modern hemi and the old nasty race developed 426 Hemi…which was always a rare breed.
    Hard to believe this car is already eleven years old.

    Like 6
  8. JW454

    The side billboard is too high in the front on the door and it should have been done in a satin instead of gloss. The tail panel is completely wrong. I also don’t care for the burled walnut in the interior trim. It looks like it should be in a cheap custom van.
    Other than that, I really like it.

    Like 9
  9. PaulG

    Other than the tail treatment, most notably the reverse lights, and the faux (or real) wood on the interior it’s pretty cool. I don’t think rare means valuable (the original cost won’t be seen again) but if you want something different it’ll do the job.

    Like 5
  10. RJ

    The factory chrome wheels is what ruins it for me. It needs custom made or some vintage looking aftermarket wheels.

    Like 2
  11. G Lo

    I wanted to like it but I find the side decals to be horrid.

    Like 4
  12. sign guy

    It looks cartoon-ish. A modern car can never have the slim, lightweight lines of the original E bodies. The 2008 Challenger interpreted the design and it worked. This is trying to be a copy and it doesn’t work.

    Like 5
  13. DN

    The fake woodgrain is not only horrendous but used in excess, as commonly seen with the typical 109-piece set. “We are using all of it!”

    And do those embroidered floor mats read “Cooter Jones”? 🤣

    Like 1
  14. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    SOLD for $34,300.

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