With its long and low lines painting a simple yet elegant silhouette, the 1970 Plymouth Cuda is one of the most sought-after rides of the muscle car era. Designer Chip Foose, however, would tinker with a few things. Foose has his reasons for these suggested alterations, and in the latest episode of Foose on Design, you can see him physically sketching out his explanation.

Foose is quick to make clear he is not entirely critical of the Cuda’s design—he’s a big fan. He had a Cuda himself (with plans to build it out in his trademark style), but when a customer came along and nagged him enough, he let the car go. Then, when a client project provided the opportunity to build a separate Cuda into the so-called Terracuda, Foose explored his creativity and rendered his vision into reality.

courtesy chipfoose.com


The first change Foose describes is the most complicated to execute—bringing the front wheels forward roughly two inches. Stretching the wheelbase on a car requires tons of work, even if the results appear relatively subtle to the casual observer. Interestingly, Foose’s two-inch stretch has an odd historic precedent—the 1965 Ford Mustang also received this treatment during its initial design phase, after Lee Iacocca desired a more usable backseat.

In this case, Foose isn’t chasing additional interior space as much as he’s after a more appealing front end. The stretch creates a front overhang that’s shorter, and while Foose mentions the better approach angle as a benefit, the longer center of the car effectively accentuates the already attractive parts of the Cuda’s factory design.

The second item Foose tweaks is the kinked angle at the rear of the window opening. Contrary to so many features on the Cuda, it is squared off. Foose relaxes this upper angle to make it softer and more in-line with the overall shape.

A final touch is the simplest of all. Foose declares that the blocky door handle has to go. His preferred replacement is not custom either; he has a soft spot for the 1969 Jaguar E-Type door handle. Long and slender, he feels the Jag handle fits the long and low profile of the car much better.

Did Foose make just the right moves with these three changes? Sound off in the comments below if you think this is too much, not enough, or just right for a classic Cuda design.

This episode is presented by PEP BOYS: For over 100 years, we’ve been under the hood, finding better ways to care for cars and the communities that drive them. We provide expert service, letting our passion for automobiles take the wheel. Stop by your local Pep Boys Auto Service and Tires store and experience the Pep Boys Difference.

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