Rare Convertible: 1971 Plymouth ‘Cuda 340

The Plymouth Barracuda was an all-new car for 1970, sharing its infrastructure with the new Dodge Challenger. It had finally lost the heritage it had with the Valiant since its introduction in 1964. The buying public responded well, and sales increased about 50 percent over the prior year. So, things were looking up for the Barracuda and its muscle car version, the ‘Cuda. This 1971 ‘Cuda convertible has been owned by the same party for 42 years and we’re told it needs a restoration. It’s not a regular runner, though, but will if you pour gas down the carburetor. Located in West Islip, New York, this ‘Cuda is available here on eBay with the starting bid of $50,000 having not yet been triggered.

After a good start for 1970, the Barracuda stumbled in sales for 1971 although the car was little changed except that it wore quad headlights for the first and only time. Overall production was down from 49,000 to 17,000 units. 1971 would also be the last year for the Barracuda convertible. Just 1,146 ragtops were built that year and in ‘Cuda 340 trim with an automatic, just 102 copies were made. So that places the seller’s car in rare territory and hence his optimism on the starting bid.

In doing the math, the seller says he has owned this ‘Cuda 340 since 1978. Jimmy Carter was still in the White House, Grease was the #1 movie at the box office, and Laverne & Shirley was the most watched show on television at the time he acquired the Plymouth. And the rate of inflation was running at eight percent in 1978 – and going higher. The car has accumulated 87,000 miles, most of which has likely not been recently. If appears to live under a carport that is open on three sides, not the most conducive environment to preserving a collectible automobile. The chrome parts may be starting to pit.

We’re told the ‘Cuda needs restoring and it has rot on the rear quarters and spots on the doors. But the limited photos do not show much. In fact, the paint looks like and shiny except on the driver’s side rear, but it’s not likely to be original after 42 years of potential exposure. The seller would have done a better job of making his case by pushing the car out into the sunlight and taking photos from all sides. We’re guessing the color is Rallye Red (but it looks brown; color change?) with a white top and a white interior. The convertible top looks pretty good, but we can only see the interior from outside the car, so there is no way to assess its condition.

Besides rarity, another thing in favor of the car is that the engine and TorqueFlite are numbers-matching. But the only reference that is made to its running order is that the “car will run if gas is put in the carb.” The 340 would have been good for 275 hp back in the day. Since the engine compartment looks rather unattended to and with the mileage being what it is, a complete mechanical rebuild is not out of the question. We’re told the seller has videos of the car to help gauge what you’re buying, but no links are provided so you’d have to press him for them.

Given the year, model, body style, engine, and low production, they all point to high resale values according to Hagerty, easily upwards of $100,000. But there are a lot of unknowns with this car. The seller would do himself and potential buyers a big favor by redoing the ad with more and better photos and a more through description of what he has. This is a very desirable car, yet the seller uses less than 50 words of copy to show it off.


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  1. Steve Bush Member

    Looks to be mostly solid and complete but seller admits it has rot and needs restoration. Consequently, he needs to get the car running, take some good pics and then start the auction at a reasonable number as $50k seems more like a max number for this in its current condition.

    Like 17
    • Mike

      Need to take better pics is right. Come on people, if you’re trying for $50k, don’t dump unedited pics straight from your phone to the auction. Ad states: “best to see it yourself”. Well, with those pics, you don’t have a choice but to see it in person before making any bid.

      Like 12
    • carl pederson

      A 70/71 “E” body will have more than “rot”. Those cars would rot/rust while you were looking at them.

      Trust me I know. Been there and done that.

      But a 71′ Cuda convert has credence.

  2. DON

    By the paint code ,the color is Autumn Bronze metallic , which I think looks really sharp with the white interior . I dont see anywhere that the car looks red. I agree that the price is high , but we all have seen complete rot box Chargers Mustangs and Camaros go for close to that price that need everything – if this is as solid as it looks, ( and it would really need to be looked over well ) the price may ,MAY be in the ballpark – Its a 340 Cuda ragtop after all, one of 102 built that year- How many are left ?

    Like 5
  3. George Louis

    The owner probably paid no more than $5000.00 in 1978 for this car when purchased. $50,000.00 is way too much ,PASS on this one!!!!!!!

    Like 3
    • Steve R

      How is the price a seller paid for a car 40 years ago relevant when it comes to their asking price? Since when does someone sitting at home on their computer get to decide what a seller gets to asked for their property?

      Steve R

      Like 16
  4. S

    I love the grille on these! Wow, a convertible is rare! This is a valuable car.

    Like 4
  5. Brian M

    If you want top dollar for a car like this it needs many more pictures, and it should at least run, if not drive. Come on !!!
    It should be detailed and running for that price tag…
    For a couple of hundred dollars it would have a chance of selling

    Like 1
  6. Howie Mueler

    Sure it must be rare if its on FeeBay.

  7. timothy herrod

    we were given a 71 barracuda convertible in 1978 or 79,power windows, power top the interior was perfect. we put a battery in it and the 318 ran just wouldn’t hold water as the block was cracked. We drove it around some and the doors wouldn’t open anymore as the rust issues were that bad and that car was less than 10 years old. I could stick my head thru the holes in the front fenders, it got parted out and the rest junked. We did not know what we had

    Like 1
  8. George Louis

    Put things in perspective. The car does not run, needs massive amounts of work , and back in the day people would be ashamed to ask more than $500.00 for something that looks like this!!!!! Hope you can sleep well at night suggesting that this is a buy!!!!!!!!!

    • Steve R

      I never suggested this is a good deal. It’s just that what someone paid or what these cars were selling for decades earlier is irrelevant. There are only two people that have a say in a cars value, prospective buyers and the seller, that doesn’t include people sitting on the sidelines.

      Steve R

      Like 3
  9. Gene Gohll

    Hi I know a Person who Come look at this car

  10. MDW66

    Paint code GK6 is Autumn Bronze Metallic

  11. Robert Eddins

    do i see rust speckling here and there. probably would need buyer who could do a complete strip to metal body, and everything else to that extent too. to the right perfectionist it could be a
    van Gough. nobody else should buy it, in 10 years only the best of the best will pique interest

  12. Paul N

    just my two cents, but I think given the condition and the rarity; I think a more fair asking price would be 25-30K. Maybe less?????

    Like 1
    • carl pederson

      I bought one about ten years ago that was 340 car too. About the same shape. Like this one, needed everything. Didn’t have the motor but had a boat load of NOS parts that guy had bought over the years planning on doing a resto.

      I gave him $20k for everything. And I spend over $50 doing it. It is a really nice cars, but to do one today would be even more. And starting at the price this fellow is asking is pie in the sky. Way too much.

      • Howie Mueler

        Only $50?

  13. Carl

    For the slow learners out there, that was $50,000.00 ++++

    Like 1
  14. Swadd

    Try and find a unmelested Cuda. I have 1971 Cuda 340 one owner been parked for twenty years in a hangar. 73000 original miles numbers matching only thing been changes is tires. All original car and I would have no problem asking 50k. And it needs restoration. Rarity and unmolested that why car worth more. Any true car guy should know this.

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