Mopar devotees, take heed: A numbers-matching ’71 Hemi ’Cuda is up for grabs
A rare, numbers-matching 1971 Plymouth ’Cuda is currently up for grabs at Hemmings. The pavement-shaking 426 Hemi powerplant was on its way out in 1971, so while the debut year for the E-body ’Cuda saw 666 of the wicked big-blocks mounted under the hood, the following year’s production only totaled 107. That makes this highly desirable example of Mopar muscle a rarity, but the fact that the car was so complete before its 2009 restoration makes it even more remarkable.
This ’Cuda was discovered in California, parked after some engine trouble sidelined the brutish Hemi. The odometer currently has just 61,348 miles. Due to its intact, rust-free condition, the car was restored with originality in mind by Rocket Restorations in Olympia, Washington. The car has its original sheetmetal and interior, but the Rallye Red paint is new and the original engine was freshened up by renowned southern California Mopar engine builder Dick Landy Industries. Dick Landy was a factory-backed Dodge drag racer who hosted many a Dodge Performance Clinic to school owners on proper tuning and drag-racing procedures, so it’s only appropriate his shop handled the Hemi build.
1971 ’Cudas can be quickly identified by the four “gills” in the fender, a one-year-only styling addition that adds some character. This well-optioned ’Cuda also has some additional ornamentation that makes it look particularly tough, including the decklid-mounted rear spoiler and twin chin spoilers. Other desirable options include the Rallye dash, Rallye wheels, power steering, and leather upholstery. Again, that’s the original upholstery—a fact which we reiterate because it hardly looks used, with just a few creases in the driver seat.
The extreme care taken to rebuild the engine and restore all of the factory-correct parts with authentic pieces has paid off. The car won top O.E. Gold honors at Mopars at the Strip and at the Mopar Nationals, the only ’71 Hemi Cuda to achieve the honor twice. The auction has just started, and won’t finish until July 14. So far bidding has reached $105,000 with the reserve not met. A Hemi ’Cuda of this caliber could be worth well over $300,000.
Mopar muscle cars are among the most desirable of ’70s American cars, and a Hemi ‘Cuda is near the pinnacle. The only complaint that any potential buyer might have is that this example isn’t a four-speed. However, when considering actual performance on the strip, this A-727-equipped stunner would have still been among the top performers of its era and continues to be one of the most beautiful coupes of all time. We’ll be watching this auction closely.