The Holy Grail: 1970 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda

There are several automobiles from the muscle car era that are considered the “Holy Grail” today, which is a small and elite group. One of those automobiles is the Hemi ‘Cuda (Barracuda) by Plymouth from 1970 and 1971. Dodge had a similar car wearing the Challenger badge. These fire-breathing street racers were built in small numbers and – in the case of the ’70 Hemi Cuda – just 368 were produced with an automatic transmission, like the seller’s car. With low miles and In-Violet paint, there are few of these left and this one is in Los Altos, California. It’s available here on craigslist for big money, $395,000 (lowered from $425,000). Our thanks to Pat L. for this amazing tip.

Chrysler redesigned its Plymouth Barracuda pony car in 1970 and gave it a companion at Dodge in the form of the Challenger. You could get the 426 cubic-inch, 425 hp Hemi V8 in these revised cars for just two years before rising insurance costs and fuel emissions suppression would put the coffin nails in these vehicular monsters. For a car as rare and as desirable as this ‘Cuda, the seller says very little about the auto, letting a 3rd party report do the work.

This Mopar is numbers-matching and has just 37,000 miles. But it is original or has it been restored and – if so – when. What has this car been doing for the past 52 years other than residing in a garage somewhere? The VIN and cowl tag seem to jive with what we’re told about or can see in this Plymouth. This car has tons of goodies, like the N96 Shaker hood. The accompanying report isn’t based on documentation that came with the car, like the build sheet or window sticker which were not submitted for that evaluation.

If there are any flaws in this automobile, they aren’t readily apparent and not discussed. For this kind of money, you would expect nothing but the best. After all, how many 1970 Hemi ‘Cudas could be left that are finished in the correct FC7 In-Violet paint (called Plum Crazy over at Dodge)? I would love to have this amazing car, but I’m about $394,000 short.

Comments

  1. shelbyGT500 Member

    Seriously, $395K car on CL ?

    Like 16
    • Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

      …. with ten pictures, barely half of which are of the car, and a whole sixteen word description.

      Like 17
      • Michael Berkemeier

        Darn, and I bet you were actually gonna buy it too…had it not been for the lack of pictures and too short of a description, huh?

        Like 5
  2. Howard A Member

    Uph, screw missing in the data plate, deals off,,here’s another primo example of a tin can, properly marketed, will garner riches beyond your wildest dreams,,in California, for a while anyway. I say tin can, because these were really cheap cars, thin doors, no insulation. The only thing Chrysler really had to lean back on, was the hemi. Just the name hype, few knew what a hemi actually was, some miracle motor, when in fact, a 440, 6 pack was faster. Didn’t matter,,hemi, hemi, hemi, catchy, eh? Same holds true today, it’s not the Holy Grail to me, let “them” have their “hemis”,,,again, on TV auction, I look at who is actually buyer these things, and ALWAYS, an old man, who, like the CJ post, wants to do this before they die, and that’s okay, I suppose, but the money spent will die with them, IDK, just seems awful selfish.

    Like 13
    • Howard A Member

      Oh wait, forgot the disclaimer,,”Your wildest dreams may differ from folks wildest dreams in California”,,

      Like 4
      • gaspumpchas

        Yea howard, and the modern “hemis” arent really Hemis- their combustion chambers are wedge shaped, not hemispherical. But Mopar pushed it and John Q Public drank the kool aid. “yeah, its a hemi”–sorry sparky it ain’t really, but do you know what the term Hemi means?? Good luck and happy motoring.
        Cheers
        GPC

        Like 6
      • Michael Guilfoil

        GasPump- I believe it is because it’s HEMISPHERICAL HEADS?
        I own a 1970 AMX 390 4 SPEED, and I am quite satisfied with what I have…
        Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

        Like 1
    • Steveo

      Sometimes something as seemingly trivial as a missing data plate screw can speak volumes. I don’t know that I would believe anything about this car is really as it seems. Especially for that kind of money.

      Like 8
      • Michael Berkemeier

        Well, one thing is for sure Steveo, you don’t know much about MoPars in general. Otherwise, you would know that a LOT of MoPars came with one attaching screw on the fender tag. The second screw was usually used but, if there was not a second tag then the second screw was kind of unnecessary. No one cared about the fender tags exept for assembly line workers and, sometimes, dealers for service purposes. Many were just ripped off and lost.

        Like 6
    • Jim

      You have a dislike for Hemis- we get it. What’s wrong- did you get your Chebby “LS6” doors blown way in the weeds by a Hemi? All other variables being equal, a properly tuned Hemi will beat a properly tuned 440-6 every time. And there’s a reason Hemis go for big money and it’s not because you find it catchy to pronounce.

      Like 27
      • Ray Kasza

        I owned a 70 Chevelle SS LS6 and rarely did a Hemi Cuda beat me on Research Rd in Meridan, CT. back in the 70’s. On Friday nights we’d go down there and race for cash. Always had a pocket full of cash to take my girl out on a Saturday night. I had my car set up right…

    • Mike Ingran

      And aren’t data plates attached with rivets?

      Like 1
      • Michael Berkemeier

        Mike, you are obviously not well-versed in muscle car knowledge. No, MoPar fender tags are not rivited on.

        Like 4
      • DON

        All the Mopars I’ve ever owned had two screws holding down the data plate , but I’m sure that one could have been missed by a factory worker. My question is , would there be a hole in the apron , or would there have been a factory :dimple” to mark where the screws were supposed to go ?

        Like 1
    • GTO MAN

      I HAVE A 70 GTO 455 ram air AND THOSE PLATES DONT HAVE PHILIP SCREWS THEY HAVE RIVETTES IN THEM DATA PLATES. TAG JOB. and a real car the owner would never touch that plate.

      Like 1
      • Shuttle Guy

        GM used rivettes Mopar phillips heads.

        Like 9
      • RL

        GM started using screws in 1977 take a look at the Trans Am Z 28 ect.

      • DonC

        Why are you yelling? Is the printed word not loud enough for you?

        Like 2
    • GTO MAN

      I HAVE A 70 GTO 455 ram air AND THOSE PLATES DONT HAVE PHILIP SCREWS THEY HAVE RIVETTES IN THEM DATA PLATES. TAG JOB. and a real car the owner would never touch that plate. unless Mopar used screws. BUT I DONT THINK SO

      • Melton Mooney

        This ‘cuda is correct with screws on the fender tag and star shaped rivets on the dash pad VIN tag.

        Like 5
    • Jeff Chandler

      Wrong…what was the 1st engine to 200…230…300+….. Elephant is the KING !!

      Like 2
    • Emel

      It must have been a miracle motor….as NASCAR banned hemi engines for racing. as they were just too much of an advantage apparently.

      NASCAR banned the Mopar Hemi engine in 1965, so Richard Petty and David Pearson boycotted many races rather than compete with a non-competitive engine against Ford and Mercury drivers.[20]

      Never had one, but facts are facts….my anti-hemi friend.

      Like 4
      • Shuttle Guy

        They had to keep slowing down the Charger against McQueen’s Mustang Bullitt car. LOL.

        Like 1
    • Scott Wiggins

      Nothing special about a Hemi and it’s not a “miracle engine”? Yeah, that’s why the NHRA put a weight penalty on the hemi Challenger drag packs in the factory stock shootout class after Ford and Chevy started crying about getting their tails kicked much more often than not. The NHRA did the same thing in 72 in the pro stock class by penalizing the Mopar camp after Ford and Chevy factory reps had a meltdown because they couldn’t beat the 426 Hemi powered Mopars. How is it selfish for someone to spend 6 or 7 figures on a car, especially a rare one?

      Like 6
  3. Stan

    Apparantly the hemi works best w the torque-flite automatics.

    Like 6
  4. John

    Would be a great car if things weren’t fishy with it. Has a V6X code on the fender tag which is a black stripe yet this one wears a white one. If this car is demanding this much money then it has to be correct. Stripes are easy enough to change, and screws are easy enough to fall out or lose in 50+ years but the seller may want to try to fix these things.

    Like 3
    • DON

      Cuda — Fishy.. .I get it !

      Like 2
    • Andy Knapp

      No Rally dash?

  5. Rob Donaldson

    Isn’t there a 66’ Hemi Charger for sale on Barn Finds for just $41K? Puts things into perspective with this Cuda.

    Like 5
    • Michael Berkemeier

      Yeah, because ’66 Chargers are super-ugly and no one likes them…that’s the perspective.

      Like 11
    • bone

      Its not a factory Hemi car, this one is

      Like 1
    • Davey Boy

      That charger isn’t a true Hemi car. It is a transplant. Says so if you read far enough into the article and as far as I’m concerned it’s a VERY nice car even being not original. Looks and runs just as good at a fraction of the cost

  6. Jay E. Member

    Unless you were there when was released, it is hard to convey how striking these purple ‘Cudas and Challengers were back when new. The “Statutory Grape”, argent silver, white and black color combination was absolutely eye popping. Add to that the sound and rubber burning ability, they left an impression on my young self that will never fade. Now the prices are eye popping, but for the 1% it is just chump change. And 50 years later there is so much more automotive eye candy out there to compete with, and speeds the average Honda can eclipse, that even one as beautiful as this one is will be an old car to anyone but us older folks. Regardless, to me it is still a wonderfully visual treat.

    Like 15
    • Grant

      The average Honda is going to handle way better also, not to mention be far more comfortable. A Civic Type R at 40K is going to be brand spanking new and embarrass this thing in all ways possible. For me, a brand new so much better a car at a tenth the price is the way to go. I AM easily old enough to have bought one of these when new, but I think as a car purchase at the asking price is idiotic. Have to agree with the above, just bragging rights for the 1%. Who cares, let them have them.

      Like 8
      • e

        Couldn’t agree more. These cars are fantastic on the drag strip and beautiful in museums but let’s face it, if this one is the real deal (despite the credible doubt in comments!) it will likely sit in a garage, never driven and never appreciated.

        Like 6
      • bone

        50 years ago, somebody was saying the same thing about a new Mustang compared to his Model A .

        Like 7
      • RL

        Lol you’re really going to compare a POS Honda to a Hemi Cuda lmfao and WTF are smoking.

        Like 14
      • Emel

        Lots of cars of today handle better than a 1970 car. That’s not really the point is it. lol

        Nobody is gonna be collecting a Honda Civic at any point in history.

        Like 11
    • JoeNYWF64

      IMO, the 21st century Challenger falls short of the early ’70s cars, especially with the side & rear views & tall roof & too small side windows. (& much worse comparing a 1st gen f-body with a 21st cent one).
      This next pic is 1 heck of an optical illusion, considering the modern Challenger is almost an inch wider than a ’70 cuda! …
      https://images.craigslist.org/00c0c_2wHH6uZaEwfz_0CI0t2_1200x900.jpg

      Like 8
      • 67Firebird_Cvt Member

        I’d take the 70!

        Like 3
    • karl

      Its “In Violet” , in case you weren’t aware of the color name

      Like 1
      • Shuttle Guy

        Is a Plum Crazy purple?

        One of the most legendary of these black-light friendly shades is the Roman-cloak-worthy purple known as Plum Crazy (for Dodge fans) and In Violet (for the Plymouth people).

        Like 1
  7. ccrvtt

    “… speeds the average Honda can eclipse…”

    Ain’t never been a Honda that looks this good.

    Like 17
  8. Jon Burgess

    Incredible car no doubt BUT to get that kind of $, you’ll have to make sure every T is crossed and I dotted. This one isn’t that car.

    Like 4
  9. Shuttle Guy

    $ $$$,$$$.$$ Yep six figures. This many six figures? We’ll see when/if it sells.

    Like 1
  10. Ken Vrana Member

    If you bought a 340 Cuda in 1970 just remember that you could have bought the same Cuda with a Hemi in it for only a few bucks more. Can anyone remember how much?

    • Tony Primo

      People forget that the average gear head in 1969-1970 was making $2.00 an hour or less. So even if that Hemi or big block was only $200 more, that is still over a full months gross wages.

      Like 4
    • Robert Amoroso

      I think it was $645.00 more for a Hemi over a 340 Cuda.

      Like 3
      • MoparCarGuy

        A 70 Cuda came standard with the 383 and the 340 was a no cost option. The 426 Hemi was $871.45 extra. That was serious money in 1970 so few ordered it. These cars sell from $150k+ upwards to $350k now. Documentation and a numbers-matching engine is everything at the $200k and up range.

        Like 1
    • John

      I wasn’t around then or known the actual difference between the same car optioned with two different motors but I know my father tell
      Me that when he ordered his 1970 Plum Crazy Hemi 4 speed Challenger, he paid right around $5200. Wasn’t a loaded boat but it was a Super Track Pack car. And I’m currently in touch with the guy who’s owned it for the last 4 years.

      Like 6
  11. Mark

    Too holy for me.

    Like 1
  12. Mark

    Any fool that compares this Hemi Cuda to a Honda Civic has rocks in their head.

    Like 21
  13. Howie

    Looks like a car person, but does not know how to list a car for sale.

    Like 4
  14. Melton Mooney

    Looks legit based on the information available. The 70 Trans Am homo cars are my favorite e-bodies though.

    Not sure what makes a 70 ‘cuda more of a tin can than its contemporaries. Construction methods and materials used by Ford and GM (excepting corvette) at the time were not really any different from ChryCo. I’ve done camaros and mopars and they all come apart and go back together pretty much the same.

    Like 7
  15. Bolivar Shagnasty

    Looks to me like the Slopar girls are crying at their pwecious wittle cars not being praised properly. snide remarks if you DARE disparage anything that has a big bad homo engine.. i mean Hemi. Come on girls.. you can be better than that. Don’t play the tit for tat and then disparage the LS engine. thats weak.

    Like 2
  16. Stan Hardcastle

    Barrett Jackson and Dana Mecum have absolutely ruined the Muscle Car Market for the Common Man.I own a 340 4 Speed Challenger T/A that I bought in 1997. I am more thankful every day that I started driving it in 2014.

    Like 3
    • Michael Berkemeier

      lol…because they make people buy the cars, right?

      Like 2
      • Stan Hardcastle

        I spent my life in the Automobile Business. I either owned, Traded for, or Sold almost all of these Cars when they were new. I own a ’70 Challenger T/A and a Viper Truck. I am now Retired because of many Life Ending problems. I am currently in a Body Cast (Long Story) I just can’t believe why these Cars shot up so much, so fast. If I didn’t already own my 2, I couldn’t buy one now.

        Like 1
    • Melton Mooney

      The auction houses didn’t destroy all the old cars, they’ve just made everyone aware of the market. Car nuts themselves are to blame for most of the attrition. I had a dirt track buddy in the 80s that would only run roadrunners or chargers. He alone sacrificed 20-30 of them to the roundy-round gods in the 10 or so years that I knew him. He finally switched to 70s f-bodies when the supply of mopars ran dry.

      That said, there are tons of modern musclecars available to the ‘common guy’ that offer more of everything than the 60s & 70s ever could. Early z06 vettes are plentiful and affordable, and pack a hell of a punch. Early 2000s cobras are a bargain as well.

      • John M Stecz

        We sacrificed 1st generation Camaros and and a lot of Chevelle’s to make our dirt track dreams come true,I think even a z28

  17. Michael Berkemeier

    1. You guys that complain about all the things wrong with it really don’t have a clue what you are even looking at.

    2. If you’re really interested in a car on this level, you contact the owner. I don’t blame him for putting just a few pictures and a short description in his ad…since when is it his job to appease all of you Lookie-Lous that couldn’t buy steam off of a hot dog?

    3. Anyone that compares any old car to any newer car doesn’t really love cars and has no business even commenting. If you were real car guys you would totally understand why they bring this kind of money. Guess what? The Wright Brother’s “B” Flyer sucked compared to a brand-new Gulfstream G800 too, but guess which one is worth more?

    Like 12
  18. Don S

    Looks like manual Brakes.

  19. Comet

    Now remember Howard,
    Deep breaths…..happy thoughts.

    Like 4
  20. Virgil. Durst Member

    $400,000.00. for this ‘ 70 Hemi Cuda. Is this guy Crazy?

    Like 1
  21. BleedNRed

    It was unobtainium for me in 1970 and it’s still unobtainium for me today.

    I am curious… what would everyone consider to be the trifecta of “Holy Grail” muscle cars?

    • Melton Mooney

      Hemi Daytona, bright green poly
      ZL1 Camaro RS, lemans blue
      69 GT500 vert., candyapple red
      all manual shift of course.

      Like 2
  22. Rob

    1970 Buick GS 455 4SPD. FASTEST production car I ever rode in.

  23. Tim

    “That Plymouth had a Hemi and a torque flight. I believe we sawed him off even if we lost the 200.” (Dollars)

    Like 1
    • Troy s

      Ha ha, that primered out ’55 Chevy was Bad Bad Bad!!

      Like 2
  24. Andrew M Franz

    The Honda’s Will Never Be Close Too This Kind Of Money. 50 Years From Now No One Will Want To Buy An Old Honda Civic. They Will All Be In a Junk Yard.

    Like 3
    • Grant

      Who cares, in 50 years you will be dead and won’t care now, will you? The hemicuda was never much of a car outside of a dragstrip or something a spoiled rich kid used to annoy the neighbors. The point was made that at a tenth the price you could drive a much better car that badly out performs the cuda in each and every way. Obviously the Honda is a great car to drive, and that is the point because this car will never be driven. Its whole point of existence has changed, just a commodity for the overly rich of society. Just something for them to show all their rich friends, and more importantly, to us poor folk, that they can have it and we can not. Ha ha ha. See the smirks and the righteous indignation on those faces? The person who buys this in all likelihood will know far less about this car than you and I, he will only get it for his own reasons that if you think about it long enough should make you pissed.

      Like 3
      • Emel

        If you ever rode or better yet…drove a really great car, you might understand.

        But hey….if your epitome of driving is driving a Honda…..that’s great.

        Like 5
      • Grant

        Emel, have you ever drove a Honda Si, or better yet a Civic R? You might think differently. No one here is saying this is not a great car. It is fine for what it is. All people here are saying is that if a great driving machine that is good in the twisties, and fast off the line, plus stable for hours in the triple digits, all while traveling in air conditioned comfort while listening to your ten speaker satellite radio—is good in comparison, esp. at ten cents on the dollar. The purple haze is only good for a few things, most of which are memories of a past life when there were fewer options. Plus, driving a really great car at a great price beats the hell out of sitting on an investment that you can not drive, plus if you had the guts to admit it, truly is an awful driving and running car in the modern sense. If the car were at a used car price, then its limited abilities could be justified. As usual, the 1% has distorted the reality here. Thank goodness that we all have much better driving options at an affordable price. Ya know, I like going to shows to see old cars and remembering how young I was 50 years ago, and the fun times we had in our cars back then, but then I get back into modern comfort and performance for the trip home and do not feel like I am missing out on anything.

        Like 4
    • 370zpp 370zpp Member

      “The Honda’s Will Never Be Close Too This Kind Of Money.”
      Are you sure about that Andrew M.?
      Want to take a guess what a stock, mint condition S2000 might go for in 50 years?

      • Mark

        The Honda will go for about 1/10th of what the Cuda will be worth.

        Like 2
      • JoeNYWF64

        The problem is that later OBD2 cars have so much electronics in them – body control modules – in some cases close to a hundred little computers – many to control ridiculous things! & many modules are only built by small obscure vendor companies that can go out of business at a moment’s notice. Decades later, modern cars could very well be dead in the water & in the junkyard, unless you electrify them.

        But some ’91 cars, for ex, have only 2 readily available/rebuilt ecms – 1 for engine & 1 for optional auto trans – even with distributorless igntion & port fuel injection(but no anitilock brakes or other electronic options).

        And if, for ex, a ’73 car is in a flood up to the speedo!!, it can run again!!
        Watch the 3 videos on the flooded ’73 t/a —>
        https://www.youtube.com/c/HorsepowerDepot/videos
        Any modern car would be totalled – way too many electronics ruined & miles of wiring.

        Like 2
  25. Tim

    No guff Troy👍. LS7.. Tunnel Ram. Fender wells. Straight axle. Ancient 4:11..
    Warren Oats: “Damned hippies bin following me through two states.” Looks out window..
    “Three states!”

    Like 2
    • Troy s

      “That’s home grown stuff, no way it can stand up to a ram air 455,,, Just color me gone baby!” Ba-Waaah goes the actual 400 cube judge, ha, that movie had some great scenes!

      Like 1
  26. Shuttle Guy

    The comments about this car have gone off the rails. I’ve never seen such a “from one end to the other” approach about a car on BF as this one.

    Like 3
  27. Emel

    Funny no matter how much time passes…..the hate out there for Mopars still remain.

    Must have been all the beat downs on the highways & streets people absorbed from Mopars.

    Like 2
  28. JoeNYWF64

    What would this car be selling for if it was a 4 speed?
    Back in the day, i would sooner order the optional tach before i ordered optional chrome wheel moldings, sport wheels, RWL tires, elastomeric bumper, & even sport steering wheel.

    Like 2
    • Stan

      Yessir rpm>speedo if you could only have 1 … want to know what the motor is doing.

  29. Mark

    The Cuda looks great, sounds great, turns heads everywhere you go… The Honda does none of the above.

    Like 3
  30. Joe Machado

    Screws n fender tags, fender tags n screws.
    Depends on which assembly plant.
    Hamtramck, St Louis, L A, one screw held plate, then paint. Then second screw to hold down tag. No paint on second screw.
    Lynch Rd assembly, 2 screws held plate, then paint. Both screws had paint.
    Yes, it happens, exceptions, because the worker varied, stuff happens.
    Results, Lynch Rd, no bent tags.
    Other plants, a bent corner of tag.

    Like 4
  31. Mark

    Comparingany Hemi Cuda to a Honda Civic is like comparing a Honda to a Harley…. Even girls laugh at guys with Honda’s.

    Like 1
  32. Davey Boy

    Man has the stuff on this car gone off the rails. My brother’s landlord has a 1969 Camaro pace car. Came Factory with a 350 4-speed. Got it with no motor no trans. Put in a 1969 genuine COPO 427 with a 1969 dated four- speed transmission. Even though that car is not numbers matching I would take it in a heartbeat over that Hemi Cuda. I love Mopar but my Mopar of choice is a 1970 440 6 pack 4 speed Roadrunner or just about any Roadrunner will do. Every car maker made their creme de La Creme in all different shapes and sizes and if you are a true car guy you’re not going to hate on any one of them from the 446 pack Road Runner all the way to the AMC AMX 401. Everyone of them are nice and would be a blast to drive

    Like 1
  33. Davey Boy

    Speaking of a 1970 Hemi Cuda, look just below these comments and there is a numbers matching 10 Hemi Cuda for only $180,000 and I would take that one in a heartbeat over this plum crazy even though I like the color I still think this town one is in far better shape as far as it goes and it’s truly a stunning car for the money

  34. JoeNYWF64

    Can any of these high compression engines from 1970 & older(1971 for Chrysler & Ford) be run on today’s crap 91 or 93 octane “premium” gas without having to greatly retard the timing – or use expensive octane booster?
    https://www.sunoco.com/quality-fuels/article/https-classicmotorsports-com-articles-was-yesterdays-gasoline-better-fuel-facts

  35. Ken Vrana Member

    My 70 AAR runs fine on high octane from the pump.

  36. BlackTa

    Just to be clear, the valve cover on the 57 Chevy reads 300 HP, not 305 CI?

  37. Tyler

    Beautiful car, who among us wouldn’t want to drive it to Cars & Coffee just one time? But I’m not sure I would want to own one. The 340 is a much better driving & handling car & much more practical for weekend cruising. Back in the 80’s, a friend of mine had a 68 or 69 Charger with a hemi & it was a Jeckyl & Hyde car. When it was tuned for the strip, it was a beast, practically unbeatable. But it was undrivable on the street, lurched & jerked, fouled the plugs left & right. When tuned to be able to drive it around town, it was an absolute dog.

    On a similar note, my dad owned a 68 Chevelle SS with the L78 396, & he was constantly having to work to keep it in tune, changing plugs every few months, adjust the valves, etc. When my mother drove it, at stop signs or red lights, she either stalled it, or left a pair of black marks, lol! I guess that’s the price you paid to drive the hot cars back then.

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