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1970 AAR 'Cuda Barn Find and Rescue: An Old-Timer’s Memory Piece
Barn finds are a 50:50 game of roulette sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. When you get a tip-off, you’re never sure what hides behind the rusty barn. It could be a classic race car in need of love or a rotting pile of junk that will sell for pennies at a wrecking yard. Ryan Brutt knows this too well, so when he stumbled upon an AAR 'Cuda neglected for nearly 40 years, it had to make the cover of his latest 'Muscle Car Barn Finds' book.

1970 AAR 'Cuda Barn Find and Rescue: An Old-Timer’s Memory Piece

1970 AAR Cuda Barn Find1970 AAR Cuda Barn Find1970 AAR Cuda Barn Find1970 AAR Cuda Barn Find1970 AAR Cuda Barn Find1970 AAR Cuda Barn Find1970 AAR Cuda Barn Find1970 AAR Cuda Barn Find1970 AAR Cuda Barn Find
Brutt could hardly believe it when he first bumped into the AAR Cuda. The find completely blew his mind. He first discovered the rare muscle car in a rusty white horse shed in 2016. The classic gem was dusty and forgotten in time. The Cuda had painted gills on the quarter panel, a Rallye dash, and keys still stuck in the ignition.

The 1970 AAR Barracuda had been sitting in a barn for close to 40 years. This gem is an original 340 6-pack 4-speed manual, a third-generation Barracuda produced between 1970 and 1974. The 70s Cuda is a redesign and did not come with the original fastback look, but now came as a traditional coupe and convertible.

The AAR (All American Racers) was a special team led by Dan Gurney. Born in an age of muscle cars, the 1970 Plymouth AAR 'Cuda was an homologation special designed for the track. It came with a 340-cubic inch V8 engine that made a modest 290 hp. It ran on a rear-wheel-drive setup with a 4-speed manual transmission.

The 70s 'Cuda is a John E. Herlitz design and came with a shorter and wider version of the B-platform known as the E-body from Chrysler. The 1970 Dodge Challenger T/A also used this platform, even though they were Trans-AM rivals. It was initially produced to race the Ford Mustang in SCAA road racing.

The AAR’ Cuda also featured staggered front and rear tires, distinctive strobe side stripes with an AAR decal, a black grille, and a unique trunk lid spoiler.

In August 2020, Brutt met up with the owner of the AAR 'Cuda at the Dubuque Mopar Show in IOWA. The owner had pulled it out of the barn for some much-needed ‘TLC.’ This was the first 'Cuda public appearance at a show.

The owner retained everything keeping it 100% original other than the wheels. Keith, from Noel Automotive, did a check on the car and confirmed the engine is original and has never been out of the frame and that everything else from the seats to the doors was stock.

While the 'Cuda was up and running, the owner didn’t do much on the body, perhaps to keep it as original as possible. It has visible signs of rust on the underside, paint wear on the top, and significant fade on the exterior panels. Nonetheless, it looks mint for a Cuda that’s been sitting in a barn for 40 years. In my opinion, it could be a lot worse.

The AAR 'Cuda had two previous owners before the current one. The first owner had it for a year and a half, and the second one had it for six months before the current owner bought it in 1972.

You are probably wondering why he kept this car in a barn for 40 years. Well, it had a sentimental value. He used it as a daily driver for about 15 years, raced it, and even dated his wife in it for three years. It is a 3,400 lbs memorabilia.

When Brutt asked him what motivated him to restore the Cuda, he was quick to answer that he had just turned 68 and wasn’t getting any younger.

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