HEMI ‘Cuda? 1971 Plymouth Barracuda

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Of the one hundred and fourteen 1971 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cudas built, how many do you think are still in existence? Well, from what I have seen on internet auctions and big-dollar TV auctions it’s a heck of a lot more than just 114! They seem to somehow, magically reproduce and today, I have found yet another “manufactured” offspring. OK, so the cat’s out of the bag, this Lake Helen, Florida resident isn’t legit but it’s still an interesting find and worthy of review. And, if you’re interested in owning a desirable imposter, here’s your chance, it’s available, here on eBay for a current bid of  $46,455 with the reserve not yet met.

There’s conspicuous and then there’s ChryCo in 1971, a corporation whose Dodge and Plymouth charges weren’t the least bit shy about projecting their performance visual image. The seller tells us that this Plymouth started life as a mundane Barracuda, which I guess from a title perspective it still is, and then got muscled up, in a big way, and lost the “Barra” part of its model name. Sure, it looks great, and its Pygmalion-like transformation has been well executed with the possible exception of the hood which is a non-original piece. F7 green will get my two thumbs up every time but I will admit that I’m not a fan of billboard decals or the non-integrated, tacked-on spoiler – both minor matters of preference. As is often the case with Plymouth E-bodies, this example is wearing a black vinyl roof covering and it shows as new. Long story short – no one is going to mistake this car for the real McCoy but it’s an exceptionally well-executed clone.

Now the engine is in fact a new 426 CI HEMI V8, similar to the original ’71 version but it has undergone a lot of modifications and is estimated to be able to handle 900 HP. It’s not said what it actually generates or how it runs (really fast I’d imagine). A TorqueFlite A727 automatic transmission puts the go to what looks like an 8 3/4 inch Mopar rear axle. Admittedly the image is only a partial of a partial but I’m wondering if it shouldn’t be, for legitimacy and to keep flying parts at a minimum, a Dana 60 – any knowledgeable Moparhead, please weigh in on that matter.

The interior is the standard black vinyl/black molded plastic environment and it too, shows as new. There is a non-OEM tachometer in place but beyond that, the interior is a nod to originality. There’s no trim tag image included so it’s unknown if black was the original interior shade but it really doesn’t matter, especially considering its current state – it needs nothing.

Call it a clone, a tribute, a facsimile, or whatever descriptor you choose to use, it’s the acknowledgment of what it is that matters. Twenty years ago, I was opposed to the entire concept but with stratospheric values for coveted high-dollar collectibles, it now seems to make sense. After all, factory hotrods have had a history over the years of not remaining factory and chucking originality in the search for more go. Yes, the current bid is high and you know the reserve is even higher but compare it to what one of those original 114 example would trade for today – a car that collectors would be likely to hermetically seal. At least with this example, you can take it out and beat on it (gently I’d suggest) and enjoy it without worrying about your entire non-replaceable investment going up, literally, in smoke, right?

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  1. JohnfromSC

    I guess the owner couldn’t afford to paint the trunk and get a matching spare tire. And that radiator looks so out of place.

    If this is truly a 900HP car ( I don’t see how without supercharger or nitrous), then that tranny better be a highly rebuilt 727 and the 8 3/4 differential needs to be made out of kryptonite.

    Compared to the real ’70 hemi cuda ( which did have a repaint. See trunk hinges and painted inside door latch screws.), this one looks a bit unfinished.

    Like 9
    • Edwin Haggerty

      Those cars originally came with an inflatable space saver spare and inflator. I’ve owned three over the years. None were hemis but two were 440 6 pack pistol grip cars. Neither were original 440 cars but that didn’t matter to me at the time, I just wanted to go fast. One had the Dana and one still had the 8 3/4. When you hit second gear at full throttle, the rear view mirror would fly up to the headliner and if the ashtray was about half full it would spit cig butts out of it. If the 8 track tape was not in playing position it would spit that out too. I know the new stuff is faster but they sure don’t feel like it.

      Like 35
      • KH

        The mirror going up into the headliner is so true. You had to have lived it to know that. Very true.

        PS: I did find a way to tighten up the mirror but it took a while.

        Like 4

      If you read the ad it says that the rebuilt 727 transmission was made to handle up to 900 HP, not that the engine is putting out 900 HP.

      Like 10
    • CCFisher

      “Estimated to be able to handle 900HP,” meaning the innards were built for 900HP, should the next owner choose to do whatever it takes to get there. To your point, that’s a supercharger bigger than a typical modern car’s engine, a nitrous system fed by tubes the size of paper towel rolls, or a couple of turbos bigger than a Ford Festiva’s wheels.

      I agree on the trunk. It’s a thoroughly restored and modified car. Leaving the trunk original serves no purpose.

      Like 2
    • Gregory S Smith

      That’s why the owner left the Barracuda emblem on it and not putting on a Cuda emblem the owner isn’t saying that it’s a original. It has quirks but second offs are worth something especially Mopars right now.

      Like 7
    • Douglas D

      He didn’t say it had 900hp he basically said that it could handle that much.

      Like 0
  2. Chris Cornetto

    Hemi Cudas are starting to be like 62 Belair bubble top 409s. There are more today than when they were built.

    Like 14
  3. Grant

    I feel for the poor 225 or 318 it was born with. Where are they now, orphaned? They were better cars, at least for normal, purposeful, driving.

    Like 8
  4. Oldschool Muscle

    Need to change the trunk panel emblem to ‘CUDA…lol

    Like 3
  5. Bret Maverick

    A 6 Pak hood??!! Really??!!
    As for the rear-end, when ordering a Hemi with an automatic, the 8 3/4 was standard, and the Dana 60 was an option, however, if the car was ordered with a 4 speed, it came with the Dana 60 as standard equipment!

    Like 9
  6. Mike76

    I’ve said it before on here, kinda cool looking car, albeit a bit janky on the details, but I am so, so, tired of seeing wannabes, clones, tributes, fakers, whatever you call them. It’s truly refreshing to see original cars that look similar to how they did when they rolled off the assembly line – at least the same badges and drivetrain. I am not an absolute purist but I am also not a fan of the SS everything culture. I’m far more interested in a bone stock 6 cylinder Nova than a rebadged and remade car. Being an Olds guy, I see this a lot now a days when 4 out of every 5 Cutlass’s seem to have a W25 hood and W35 spoiler on it…it’s gotten to the point where I had a guy come up to me and say my 442 can not be real because it has a regular steel hood and all 442’s had “Ram Air” hoods. Lol. I didn’t even bother…the internet has led to two negative things in car culture; over-accessorizing and “I read something on Google” experts. Sorry. Rant over.

    Like 38
    • Craig W Hetler

      its true and thats why cars we had are now overpriced for idiots that cant drive them or wished they had one with money. and those that can find one with in reason cant have or know how to build one

      Like 5
  7. Beauwayne5000

    40k$ ?? It’s OK…for a resto mod

    Like 1
  8. John

    900 HP and no roll cage… The body flex will destroy it in no time.

    Like 2
    • Melton Mooney

      …not with those tires. More likely to dump it in a ditch.

      Like 2
  9. Roland

    My understanding was 440 6 pack and hemi cars had Dana 60s, as well as 440 4bbl 4 speed cars, at least in the B- and C-bodies. Maybe because the E-body was lighter you could get away with an 8 3/4 rear with any engine and an automatic. Manual tranny cars with a hemi or 440 should have the Dana 60.

    Like 1
  10. Edwin George Haggerty

    I was going to bid but since it needs a new antenna I think I will pass.

    Like 1
  11. AMXGUY

    Anyone else see the rust on that car? Take a real good look at the trunk pan and underneath the car smh. Could at least of replaced trunk floor and detailed it. That bid is very rich for that car. Can buy a very nice 340/383 car that is much more drivable for that price. Anybody ever drive a Hemi car before ? If you haven’t one day in that car and you’d be throwing rocks at it.

    Like 2
    • Tyler

      Truth! A friend of mine had a hemi Charger back in the 80’s, & it broke me from ever wanting to own one. If tuned for normal driving around town, a small block would eat it’s lunch. With a hot tune, it was nearly unbeatable at the track, but would foul the plugs at a red lights. Not to mention all that weight up front makes them very heavy & they drive like crap. That 340 AAR Cuda would be my choice over a hemi car any day.

      Like 0
  12. Big Bear 🇺🇸

    Very fast Mopar we have here. I knew people back in the day that built Hemi like this. With the same style intake putting out 1,000 HP. No turbos, supercharger or NOS pure motor. This one looks like it also. I noticed the front end how it’s sitting. Since it was a 318 the torsion bars needed to be upgraded to Hemi ones. And frame connectors would come in handy. I am really surprised the seller didn’t install a Dana rear. The 8 3/4 could handle the tork if the posi unit and gears are racing setup. The reserve I would say north of $80,000. Who ever gets the Cuda better understand gas mileage is probably 5-9 mpg. But what a ride it must be feeling … pedal to the floor and the beast roaring!! Good luck to the next owner,,🐻🇺🇸

    Like 9
  13. Bryan

    This is a cool piece! I know others rather have factory setups but this a beauty. Who cares if it’s not original or to the eye, complete in every aspect of the car. If it was a real car, people will be too scared to drive them anyways. It’s a driver, not a trailer queen. I’d drive the doors off it then build it back up. Better that way anyways. Something like this I would restomod it cuz today’s technology will outperform the factory any day. Factory is fine but what’s the fun of that LOL

    Like 7
  14. BA

    Yes consider every NHRA dragster or tractor pull engine has spark plugs going right thru the valve covers , just like a hemi! I too believe 900 hp without a blower is no problem for a 426 hemi . If you believe half the LS crowd they make 900 hp with a small block with no power adding blower or turbo!

    Like 5
    • Al

      Just a K&N & headers lol!

      Like 1
  15. James Whetzel

    I know this is a little off topic but it is still a very desirable car even with its shortcomings I too had a 71 barracuda that was the copper color and not much left to start with so I decided to do a tribute car the one I had was fairly well optioned according to the original build sheet and paper build card unfortunately the barracuda is long gone had too sell it shortly after work was completed and have regretted it ever since but if any one is interested I would be willing to sell all original paper work and dealer items for the car ie owners manual, original sale sticker all the paperwork is in excellent condition and is sealed in the original plastic sleeve

    Like 3
  16. Robert Ward

    As long as you don’t use a trans brake it should be fine

    Like 1
  17. C Force

    They put the Dana 60 in the hemi cars for a reason,they can handle up to 650hp and the 8.75″ posi will eventually break at some point.Too much low end torque for it to handle.

    Like 2
  18. jefftrey davis

    i am with mike 76 i have a 66 gto that is a real one i have had it all one guy tells me its not a gto because it has a 4barl not tri power another one said its not a real one all gtos came with 4speed mine org. is 389 4barrel auto with a/c i asked one guy do you own one have you ever owned one do you plan on getting one answers no-no- cant afford one

    Like 5
  19. CadmanlsMember

    I am not going to get into specifics, but most sort of car guys have no idea what was on the streets back in the days. Yeah everyone at least thinks what was really quick. Won’t deny the elephant looks amazing, but it’s a long winded type motor, needs breathing room and gears to hit it’s stride. It’s all about power to weight and getting it to the ground! There were numerous engines that were closer to 500 HP. Today with forced induction and modern electronics 1000 HP is obtained. Can’t get it to the pavement but will do it strapped to a dyno.

    Like 5
    • FrankD

      Boy is that the truth. Dyno Numbers are great for racing and tuning. Oops,
      I almost forgot bragging!

      Like 1
  20. Jamie Jones

    Here a short video of my cuda running https://youtu.be/-Fg21mnwzMk

    Like 3
    • FrankD

      Nice One Jamie!

      Like 0
  21. Robert West

    That’s a nauseating amount of money for a car that is the exact opposite of original! These people are driving their own selves out of price range.

    Like 1
  22. Mike

    Hemi = Dana 9 3/4″ minimum or Ford 9″ A727 should be strengthened or when you try to leave the line hard it will puke its guts at the starting line, I’d probably put in a manual 5 speed or 6 speed tremec.

    Like 0

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