Original 383: 1971 Plymouth ‘Cuda

When you look at classic cars from the muscle car era, I’ve always felt that Plymouth hit the nail on the head with the 3rd Generation Barracuda. Its low, wide stance looks rugged and muscular, while the aggressive grille and rectangular exhaust outlets make cars like this 1971 ‘Cuda look like they mean business. This particular car is a tidy survivor, and while it has a few flaws, there is nothing that would demand immediate attention. The owner has decided that the time is right to part with this muscular classic, so he has listed it for sale here on eBay. It is located in Folsom, California, and the frantic bidding has sailed past the reserve to be sitting at $60,000.

This ‘Cuda is loaded with good news, and the major positive is that it is structurally sound. It remains unrestored, but a previous owner did perform a repaint in its original shade of Gold Leaf some years back. The vehicle has spent its life in California, which makes it no surprise to find that it has remained rust-free. The panels look clean, and the photos of the underside reveal no nasty secrets for the buyer to tackle. The body wears a few marks and dings, with the worst being the one that you can see in this photo in the rear quarter panel. The rest are the sorts of little “pin dents” that can accumulate when other people are careless opening their doors in a car park. The vinyl roof is said to be original, and it shows no evidence of splits or problems. The chrome and trim are in excellent order, as is the glass. The Rally wheels add the perfect finishing touch to the exterior, and these are wrapped in a good set of Cooper tires.

Plymouth offered several engine options in the 1971 ‘Cuda, but this car features its numbers-matching 383ci V8. It has never been out of the vehicle, so it remains original and untouched. The originality doesn’t extend to the transmission because the TorqueFlite has been replaced at some point. The car also features power steering and power brakes. The 383 may not have been the most powerful on offer in the ‘Cuda range, but the driver still had 300hp at their disposal. If they aimed it at the ¼ mile, the journey would be over in 15.1 seconds. The owner has tried to retain as much authenticity as possible. Rather than replacing the radiator and carburetor when they became tired, he has had both items rebuilt. One of the few items that he has needed to replace has been an engine mount. It appears that the car is in excellent mechanical health, and it is ready to be driven and enjoyed by its next lucky owner.

When you open the doors and look around inside the ‘Cuda, the impression is quite positive. There are no immediate flaws or problems worth noting, with the dash and pad free from cracks or significant imperfections. The console looks just as nice, while the seat upholstery and carpet are equally as impressive. The owner notes that the tops of the door trims have been treated with dye at some point. This doesn’t surprise me because while the Californian climate can be kind to classic steel, it can be murder on upholstery. It is especially true if it is white vinyl, as is the case here. The buyer will need to assess this to see whether the work is acceptable or whether new trims will be on the cards. Apart from the console, the ‘Cuda comes equipped with Rally gauges and a factory tachometer, along with one of the rarer factory options. The original owner ordered it with the radio and chose to tick the box next to the factory cassette player/recorder. It isn’t clear how many of these were sold, but the total wasn’t high. If you can find a functioning one for sale today, it will leave you little change out of $1,000.

This 1971 Plymouth ‘Cuda isn’t perfect, but I can’t see any reason why it couldn’t be. Its rust-free status will give the buyer firm foundations to build on, and with its original V8 and the rare cassette recorder option, it ticks a lot of the right boxes for Mopar enthusiasts. Its overall condition means that its next owner could enjoy the vehicle during the upcoming warmer months and spend next Winter performing a refresh to take it to the next level. Are you tempted to bid on this one?


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  1. Steve R

    It’s become a unique car due to the passing of time that can be enjoyed immediately without an additional outlay of money. That’s one of the main reasons interest is so strong, rightfully so.

    Steve R

    Like 16
    • Steve R

      Sold with a high bid of $60,100.

      Steve R

      Like 1
  2. Phil D

    As original and otherwise correct as this car appears to be, it’s a shame that the owner didn’t get a set of correct ’71 center caps for the rallye wheels (ironically, I see many sets on ’70 model cars right here on Barn Finds).

    • Don Eladio

      …and trim rings. Obviously, it’s a completely aftermarket wheel set-up. That being said, the ’70 center caps do look better than the darker ’71’s, lol.

      Like 1
  3. Jasper

    What a head turner! Buyer needs to blow some bucks on a set of period repop tires!

  4. Burger

    Always thought the 71’s were the best looking of this series. The more Challenger-like quad headlights, fender louvres, and other details really worked for an aggressive, muscular look.

    What I could never get with is the how the design worked from inside the car. The low seating and high beltline made being in one confined and claustrophobia inducing, as compared to my favorites, the 66-67 Coronets, which had 100% more visibility. But comparing the two is like apples and oranges. I just like more “open” glass and outward visibility. But as a sheetmetal sculpture, man, these are sure pleasing to the eye !

    Like 2
  5. Dave

    No A/C, but the dash has the outlets. May not be as original as it’s being sold as. Even so, a nice car made for highway cruising.

    Like 2
    • Nick

      H51 on the fender tag = A/C
      I think he meant he removed the compressor and under hood components… either way, it left the factory with A/C for sure.

      Like 4
  6. Kevin b

    I count 2 small dents on the rear quarter and one hefty one. The driver’s door appears to have been painted separately and not matching the rest. Still a very nice car, but I feel the writer, in his excitement, missed some things. Wish I’d bought one of these on the 80s when they were still affordable

  7. Nick

    Although the car spent time in California, It didn’t originate there as an ordered or otherwise dealer car. The rear tail pipes would have been turned down and not through the rear valance as shown because of noise laws. Good ole Cali…

    Like 2
    • Nick

      Correction – Noise reduction was only available on the 440-6.
      automatics. code A28 with the N97 Noise reduction Package.
      There were small cutouts at the turn down pipes.

      Like 3
  8. Charles Sawka

    Wow, if these little nit pick things are all you guys can come up with this must be a really nice car !

    Like 5
  9. PetertheGreat

    Alas, if some of us could only have seen into the future, many of us would have held on to our prized Mopars. Bought a new ’70 big block Challenger off the lot as a 19 year old. It, too, was the rare gold leaf… except with a black vinyl top and black interior! Sold it in 1984 for two grand and a bag of magic beans for a ’68 ragtop, one owner Corvette with an early dealer installed L46 350/350 replacing the original 327/300. Mine was never wrecked, but I had it repainted with the exact factory gold paint and replaced the vinyl top. The engine had work done and she ran like a clock that roared! 60 grand??? Excuse me while I go grab a tissue!!

    Like 7
  10. Troy s

    One tough fish there, nice ‘Cuda without the wild paint colors that I see so often these days.
    They hit the styling hard with these E bodies, one of those cars that looks like its doing a hundred miles an hour parked and had they come out in ’68 or 69 I suppose sales would have been a little better.

    Like 2
  11. Gary Rhodes

    PetertheGreat, here’s one for you. A older gentleman I came to know raced a 40 Willy’s coupe back in 66 to 70. It was a B/Gas? Record holder with a injected 426 Hemi and a Clutchflite. He wanted to go roundy round racing and the dealership that sponsored his coupe said sure, they would get him a car. This was some time in 71, gas crunch, insurance issues all that good stuff made for some good deals on left over muscle cars. They find a car and drove it 50 some miles from the other dealer, cut it up and made a dirt track car out of it. I was a kid then and my dad and his buddy would take me to the dragstrip and dirt track a couple of times a month. You could hear his car over all the other ones when he came past the flaggers tower. He never won any races but always ran up in the pack if memory serves. The car they cut up and raced was a red/black top and interior Hemi 4spd Cuda with under 75 miles on it. I stopped in at the dealership back in 89 to get a spare ballast resistor for my van and struck up a conversation with the partsman. He took me upstairs and almost every part they took off that Cuda was up there. I had no extra money at the time and had come home for the weekend so I didn’t even ask about price. Later I found out a truck driver stopped and inquired about nos parts and bought every nos part they had. He said he did this whenever he was deadheading home, he had a barn full of parts, his “retirement money”

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