Rare unrestored ’Cuda convertible wears its age proudly
When it comes to muscle cars—Mopar muscle cars in particular—engine and color options can make all the difference in the world. Of course, the condition is still paramount, and this 1971 ’Cuda convertible, available at Mecum’s Indy 2020 auction in July, offers a unique look, thanks to its unrestored bodywork.
The 1971 model year marked the last hurrah for Chrysler Corporation’s 440 six-barrel, as well as being the final year for the drop-top E-body. This Tor Red ’Cuda, with its massive billboard 440 graphics, is just one of 17 convertibles fitted with the 385-horsepower big-block and one of two that were built for export outside of the U.S.
The rare pony car was stored for 35 years and the patina on its bodywork speaks volumes. Inside you’ll find the Slap Stik shifter for the A727 automatic in the console between the bucket seats. What you won’t find is a radio. Apparently the original owner didn’t want anything to compete with the big-block’s induction roar as the four barrels of the secondary carburetors open up. Now that we think about it, we can’t really blame the guy for checking the radio delete box. After all, it was ordered before Led Zeppelin IV was released. He had no way of knowing.
The 440 six-barrel engine is too cool to be kept completely under the hood and peeks out by way of a Shaker hood scoop that, according to the auction listing, is not original. Unlike the body, which was left unrestored, the engine and the rest of the drivetrain have been refreshed, so it should be ready to cruise as-is.
Mecum estimates that this rare combination of options and unrestored status will bring $500,000–$700,000. For the right collector, this may be just the right combination of options and a lack of options. Restored examples may deliver a time machine experience that takes the owner back to the way these cars looked on the showroom floor, but paint and bodywork are only original once. For some collectors, that’s worth quite a bit.