1970 Plymouth 'Cuda Has It All: Low Mileage, Numbers-Matching HEMI, High-Impact Color

The 1970 Plymouth Barracuda is arguably one of the greatest muscle cars of the golden era. And it's a prized classic regardless of the trim and engine configuration. However, no Barracuda is more desirable and valuable than the HEMI 'Cuda.
1970 Plymouth HEMI 'Cuda 7 photos
Photo: JC Fernandez/YouTube
1970 Plymouth HEMI 'Cuda1970 Plymouth HEMI 'Cuda1970 Plymouth HEMI 'Cuda1970 Plymouth HEMI 'Cuda1970 Plymouth HEMI 'Cuda1970 Plymouth HEMI 'Cuda
The nameplate's range-topping model at the time, the HEMI 'Cuda, came with the mighty 426-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) V8 under the hood. Rated at 425 horsepower and 490-pound-feet (664 Nm) of torque, it was among the most potent mills of the era, second to only Chevrolet's 454-cubic-inch (7.4-liter) LS6.

But even though it turned the 'Cuda into a road-legal dragster, the HEMI found its way into only 666 examples that year. That's only 1.4% of the total production. Why was it undesirable at the time? Well, the HEMI option was quite expensive. At almost $900, the dual four-barrel V8 added a 30% premium to the pony car. Moreover, insurance rates had become very pricey for high-performance vehicles at the time.

Come 2023, 1970 HEMI 'Cudas are worth a ton of cash. The convertibles are the most expensive since only 14 were made. The very few drop-tops that crossed the auction block in recent years fetched $2 to $3.5 million, while another one failed to sell for a whopping $4.8 million.

The hardtops are notably more affordable but still fetch more than $300,000 regularly. Some are worth more than $500K, and needless to say, the coupes will probably change hands for more than $1 million in a few years. The Limelight example you see here is one of those cars.

A stunning 'Cuda that looks like it just left the assembly line in 1969, this HEMI-powered Mopar has everything it needs to become a million-dollar gem. It's finished in one of the hottest High Impact colors and rocks a numbers-matching powerplant. The latter mates to an automatic transmission, which makes it one of 377 hardtops equipped with this drivetrain combo.

It's also a low-mileage classic. The odometer shows only 37,000 miles (59,546 km), which also explains why the HEMI 'Cuda is in such fabulous condition. It spent a lot of time off the road, most likely in a heated garage. I know, I wouldn't keep a HEMI Mopar in storage for long either because these cars deserve to be on the road. At the same time, it's not the kind of classic you want to throw around recklessly.

But it's not just the HEMI cars that are very rare. The footage below also shows a 1971 'Cuda with the 440-cubic-inch (7.2-liter) Six Pack. This engine was more common than the HEMI in 1970 at 1,784 units made. However, as Barracuda production dropped to fewer than 17,000 units in 1971, so did the demand for 440 Six Pack engines. Specifically, only 254 'Cudas left the factory with this option that year.

And just 108 were hardtops with four-speed manual transmissions like the In-Violet example shown here. And just like the green HEMI, this 1971 'Cuda is a numbers-matching, highly original gem. Check them out in the video below, and tell me which one you would take home.

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About the author: Ciprian Florea
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Ask Ciprian about cars and he'll reveal an obsession with classics and an annoyance with modern design cues. Read his articles and you'll understand why his ideal SUV is the 1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer.
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