Mixed Bag: 1970 Plymouth Barracuda AAR

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As a general rule, AAR Barracudas are desirable specimens. But what do they become when the original engine is missing and the body is a mess? To my mind, they remain rare enough that it’s still worth saving, but the price becomes more of a question mark. This 1970 example here on eBay was originally a Rallye Red car that has been through the ringer, so to speak, being painted yellow and losing its original motor along the way. The Buy-It-Now is just under $20,000 and bidding is nearing $7K. 

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The “All American Racer” package gave the public a taste of what the racer crowd was enjoying on track, with the 340 “Six Pack” V8, aero enhancements, special body graphics, fiberglass hood and side-exit exhaust. It was a one-year only option, making examples today hard to come by and they command a high-price in top condition. With a non-original engine and the six pack and heads mounted for display purposes only, it’s hard to judge what this AAR’s value should be. Does the lack of a numbers-matching mill hurt it?

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It’s good to see the fiberglass hood still in place, but the AAR’s unique front “eyebrow” spoilers are no longer attached (and rust resides in their place). The body on the ‘Cuda is quite rough and it will be a labor of love to bring this example back. The presence of original paint inside the trunk and engine bay gives you a clue as to its potential (and the seller says only 145 cars were painted Rallye Red), and reproduction body panels, or junkyard pieces, may make the cosmetic restoration a little less daunting.

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The seller claims most of the unique identifiers are still present, but the data plate and trans am plates are missing. The interior is much better than I was expecting given the outside appearance (the seating surfaces notwithstanding) and the all-important 150 m.p.h. speedometer and 8,000 RPM tach are still in place. The AAR was a fierce combination of power, handling and exclusivity when new, so it’s no surprise they remain desirable today. But whether this one is restored depends on how deep the pockets of its next owner are, and whether this one is worth saving. What do you think?

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Comments

  1. Elliott Member

    This is going to be a “deep pockets” labor of love resoration. “Good luck to all ye who enter here!” :-)

    Like 1
  2. 68 custom

    some one will buy it and restore it ,then try and make a profit at the auction. pretty special car, to bad its been thrashed about.

    • Bob's your uncle

      I think they’ll be upside down no matter what they’re telling themselves right now. There’s a lot of missing special parts on that thing and nothing about any 70 ‘cuda is inexpensive.

      Like 1
  3. Chris

    Painful to see such a cool car mistreated like this over the years. Kind of makes me angry.

  4. RayT Member

    In my opinion, the lack of original engine, transmission and other bits essentially makes this just another ’70 Cuda that doesn’t run, has damaged/missing parts, and can NEVER be restored to its truly original state. Therefore, the seller’s description is meaningless — it’s like selling off Great-Great-Grandpa’s prized ax, which has only had the head and handle replaced a few times since he used it in Revolutionary War times — and borders on fraud.

    There is no way to legally make it the AAR ‘Cuda it was, short of miraculously finding original powerplant and trans. in someone’s garage.

    Much as I love Barn Finds, I really, really dislike these “wonderful, rare factory high-performance car!” ads that attempt to foist off incomplete and incompleteable cars as something they are not. Something makes me unwilling to resto-mod or rat-rod them, but they cannot be what is claimed, no matter how much care, labor and money one puts into them.

    Just sayin’, and of course YMMV.

  5. Jim

    It’s kind of overpriced for the condition. Current bid is maybe okay, but still high.

  6. JW

    Was just at a local car show and this was there in comparison to this featured car. No comparison even when restored.

    Like 2
  7. James

    There are thousands of muscle cars that no longer have their original engines and are still worth restoring. That car is also worth restoring. The T/A had a special engine with the T/A cast right into the side of it. If a T/A block was found it would still bring strong money even without the matching engine. The 4spd is a big plus too.

    I do hate it when I see ANYONE claim there are only X or Y number of a specific car in existence. There is no legitimate way to make any such claim unless you know where ALL of the ones produced are, like the Tuckers.

    Like 1
    • MG'zer

      I disagree with part of your statement. Insurance companies are updating stats as to what was wreaked and when. We know with simple research how many of each car was made. So simple with math we can come up with an educated guess +\- error. Adn I think you knew this argument was coming. IMHO

      • Bobsmyuncle

        Where have you heard that insurance companies are keeping track of surviving classics?

        Are you suggesting a shared database? Including what makes/models? What countries are covered? What about uninsured cars (common among the wealthy)?

        I’m not buying it.

        Like 1
      • James

        Most insurance databases don’t even accept the earlier (shorter) VIN’s and there is no tracking of classic cars by the insurance industry. And even if there was, NOBODY looked in every single garage, barn or warehouse and wrote down all cars that exist everywhere. Most of these idiotic and erroneous claims are based on “registry” websites where people voluntarily list their cars. This guys claims are from the AAR Cuda registry. Nobody from the AAR Cuda registry looked in all of the barns, garages and warehouses either. As soon as anyone makes a “only X number of cars still exist”, I know they are missing a few tools from the top drawer.

        Like 2
  8. RoughDiamond

    Obviouslly not the same as an AAR Cuda, however, I’ll never forget the day our Scout Troop was camping on some property one Saturday afternoon that belonged to one of our older Scout Masters. Our younger Assistant Scout Master, Don Pierce, was due to show up at any time. Now Don loved fast cars. All of a sudden I heard this roar coming down the straight and narrow two lane asphalt road that led to the property gate and wondered what in the heck it was. As it got closer I could see a snorkle hood scoop. Finally it slowed and pulled through the gate with Don behind the wheel and grinning from ear to ear. He had just bought a new ’70 T/A 340 Six Pack Challenger. I still fondly remember him asking us to help him lift the fiberglass hood off and what a sight it was to see that oval “340 Six Pack” air cleaner with those three Holleys sitting underneath. Don took each of us for a ride down that two lane asphalt road because he wanted us all to have a front row seat. The car was scary fast as he powershifting the four-speed transmission through the gears with the stubby pistol grip shifter and right on cue with the engine RPMs. Good times!

    Like 2
    • Jeffro

      Stories like this always remind me of why I love fast cars!

      Like 1
    • Mark

      The hoods on T/A Challengers and AAR Cudas don’t lift off they have hinges just like normal ones.

  9. GTO MAN 455

    deep pockets on this one, but clones im not into

  10. Rick

    “…but the data plate and trans am plates are missing.’

    Golly, wonder where they went?

  11. Danger Dan

    In the world of Mopar, missing data plate is a dead end.

    • Mark

      You can get a repro fender tag but not a VIN tag. If a build sheet is still in the car it is possible to get a fairly accurate fender tag made if not you would have to go through and get it made as accurate as possible.

  12. Blindmarc

    I bought one in the early 90’s for $ 3500. One owner top banana with a black top, this one Is a POS.

  13. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Yes it’s a little ruff or a lot – like has been said for any makes Ford Chevy or Mopar – these cars after 5 or 8 years were just old gas hogs – we were in our second going on third gas crisis.
    Where a car was used/driven most – up state vrs the dry west – has a lot also to do with condition. You will pay premium for a west coast car.

    The AAR/TA’s were special much like a Z/28 with the cross ram – like the hemi had – or those Boss Stangs which ran hard in the Trans Am series.

    That said and being a Cuda guy had the chance years ago to buy a couple but didn’t – just not what I wanted.

    Funny still have an NOS 340 6 pak manifold sitting around.

  14. chris lawrence

    missing tags and data plates… hmn. I don’t buy it. Mostly because someone else is hauling around a fake one and probably doesn’t know it, or this one is bs.

    • James

      They are only talking about the trim tag that identifies the car’s options, not the VIN tag.

  15. Frank

    missing data plates and original engine, 6pack, etc..do we have a build sheet that matches the vin, if so..then “maybe”..a big maybe.
    The real damage is what isnt seen, hidden rust, destroyed electronics, original panels that cant be saved and the hundreds of missing little pieces, some of which are not reproduced or are exclusive to this model..its those things that will catch ya in the long run.
    Can it be saved – ummm..sure…but lacking some of the significant OE items that made it a true AAR, it will never command (or earn) true restored AAR prices/value…at $20k asking price, your only 1/4th of the way on the journey, a journey the buyer will never actually obtain 100% on… Id have to pass.

  16. cudaman

    Here’s a red on red AAR that I tried to buy here in South Georgia. It had an older restoration from the 90’s and was an automatic (blaaaa). The owner/widow sold it to a “flipper” after he renigged on the agreed price then advertised it on “Carson line.com” as a “Barn Find”, which IT WAS NOT! Beware buyers……….

    Like 1
  17. Albert Gilliam

    If it is real aar cuda why are there exhaust cutouts in rear valence

    • James

      For a while you could not get the special mufflers that had both the entrance and exits on the same side of the muffler so it was common to replace with standard exhaust.

  18. Pete

    I’m not a big Cuda fan boy but I know that AAR Cuda had a behind the door thing (exhaust) going for it no cut out on valence panel

    I know AAR Cudas are getting harder and harder to find for a good price someone will buy and restore this car without a doubt

  19. Rando

    So.. you;re buying a VIN, a speedo, and a tach. Looks like everything else needs replacing. oh and a 6 pack setup. Who knows what the engine really is til you get it apart. Or check numbers. I took a 67 Dart GT for a test spin once. Got home and check the engine number. plain old 318 that had a 4 bbl on it. Didn’t run well. Took it back as it was supposed to be a “correct” GT and that one wasn’t supposed to have a 318 in it.

    So this is a Cuda with some nice parts. That’s about all. It could be made “real” again – sorta. But not original. Would be interesting to see the final version of some of the cars seen here.

  20. David king

    Is that a 340 still sitting in that cuda .and looked like it had a 4 speed pistle grip.wow.other than the front bumper it would be a fun project .and yes I had a 71 RT challenger ralley red back in the day.still had original paint I haven’t seen many 70 cudas that color.man that 4 speed would be fun.with a good posi.

  21. space GREGORY POLLACK

    A lot of comments on this
    It will be really tough to verify if it’s an AAR I see the pistol grip 4spd shifter which is good should have a Dana rear
    One problem isee is traction bars on the rear the thing is they don’t work on mopars you have to use an adjustable pinion snubber
    There are a couple places to find build sheets under the front buckets under rear seat or seat back under the dash above the glove box
    I’d buy it but not for $20,000.00 $6,000.00 is a good price

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