Story: Happy Ending! 1970 Plymouth AAR ‘cuda

Upon first glance, what you see here looks like a pretty harrowing sight- a 1970 Plymouth ‘cuda that has decades of crud all over it and hasn’t been moved since the eighties.  And it’s not just your run of the mill ‘cuda either, but rather an AAR ‘cuda, Pymouth’s 1970 only All American Racer model inspired by the Trans Am ‘cudas raced by Dan Gurney and Swede Savage.  This particular 1970 AAR ‘cuda has a very interesting history which can be traced back all the way to 1972, and you can read all about it here on Hagerty.  Thanks go out to Larry D. for the great tip on this one!

Plymouth made only 2,724 AAR model ‘cudas in 1970, and the AAR option got the buyer a small block 340 cubic inch V8 with 3 two-barrel carburetors on top, plus a 4-speed manual transmission.  Exhaust exited from the side behind the doors, and Plymouth added a broken strobe stripe down the entire sides to identify a ‘cuda as an AAR model.  So what happened that the AAR ‘cuda being featured here became the victim of being neglected inside a barn for such a long time?

Enter Ryan Brutt, aka “The Auto Archeologist” and author of the 2017 Book “Muscle Car Barn Finds”, which can be found here.  Ryan found the story of this ‘cuda so fascinating that he even used it as the cover photo for his book.  The story goes that in 2016 Ryan made a walkaround video of the ‘cuda in its owner’s Iowa barn, where it was in the condition that you see above.  The owner, Bill, bought the ‘cuda in 1972 and used it as his daily driver for about 10 or 15 years, but family priorities in the mid-eighties caused the car to be parked in a barn.  Thankfully, that ended up being a good decision, as Bill had seen several of his friends regret selling their muscle cars and he was not about to get rid of it.

Fast forward to 2019 and Bill, now in his sixties, realized he didn’t know how much time he had left and decided that it was time to get the ‘cuda out of the barn and back on the road.  Ryan was thrilled to meet up with Bill again in 2020 at the Mopars On The Mississippi show in Dubuque, Iowa, which is only a few miles from where the ‘cuda sat for so long in the barn.

Ryan was just amazed at the car’s original condition, calling it “as original as original can be”, except for the wheels and tires.  But even the wheels, although aftermarket Cragar S/S rims, are vintage bigs and littles and Bill managed to find some old Mickey Thompson tires that fit them.  The engine is also original and has not been gone through, with even the original gaskets still in place.

With all of the over-restored ‘cudas running around these days, it’s refreshing to see an E-Body that exemplifies the automotive truth of “it’s only original once”.  Barn Finds hopes you have enjoyed reading about this survivor ‘1970 Plymouth AAR ‘cuda!


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  1. Charles Atlas

    I prefer my 1986 Ford Escort 4 speed White hatchback with no radio.

    Like 10
    • Mohammed Singh

      Give it a rest Charlie.

      Like 49
    • Donnie L Sears

      Maybe that escort and $30k difference could get this cuda.

      Like 2
    • Taco

      I had one also; put 200k on it before trading it in. Never let me down.

      Like 2
  2. Slantasaurus

    I just saw this Cuda in person at the MCACN show in Chicago last weekend.

    Like 14
  3. gaspumpchas

    Amazing story! Shame to see it siting on a dirt floor garage; looks like the storage wasnt too dry. Kudos to the owner for keeping it all these years!
    Good Luck and happy motoring!

    Like 10
  4. Motorcityman Member

    She’s pretty enough to make that “Happy Ending” meaningful. 🤣

    Like 12
  5. Adak Killpack

    Charles Atlas is why I rarely read comments anymore. Thanks Chuck

    Like 5
    • No Comment

      Time for me to stop reading also. Just read the story from competent writers…even if they make a mistake now and again….and go to the next car. It has worked in the past to ignore annoying people and they go away.

  6. Danny

    I agree, Charles give it a terminal break!

    Like 5
    • Alias

      There is always some relative in the family that won’t shut up.

      Like 1
  7. MoPar Mike

    I just watched a video on this car, absolutely love it. If it ever gets restored I hope it stays day two with Cragars, fat tires and whatever other hot rod goodies it might have. I’ve lost interest in OE restorations as they’re all the same.

    Like 1
    • After Market

      Mike. I agree. Almost nothing stayed OEM after it left the lot.

      Like 1
  8. Claudio

    Well, our beloved Charles is still going strong !

    You, do have a great car and pride of ownership is felt with every one of your posts

    A powerful combination is a joy to drive and i am shure that you get plenty of smiles and attention

    Cars and coffee attendees would have to juggle between both cars

    I will gladly donate to the foundation that can help your mental situation and hope that you don’t drive too close to a Christmas parade …

    Like 3

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