1971 Plymouth HEMI 'Cuda With Unique Paint Job Sells for Big Money

In early May 2023, I introduced you to a really cool 1971 Plymouth Barracuda. Not only fitted with the desirable and rare 426 HEMI V8, but it's also an unrestored and low-mileage gem. On top of that, it showcases a unique livery applied in the 1970s. Three weeks later, the unmolested Mopar crossed the auction block for a whopping $357,500.
1971 Plymouth HEMI 'Cuda 12 photos
Photo: Mecum Auctions/YouTube
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Granted, that's nowhere near as much as a 1971 Plymouth HEMI 'Cuda Convertible, built in only seven units and worth more than $2 million. But it's a lot of dough for a Mopar that's no longer entirely original. What sets it apart from its stock siblings? Well, the white stripes covering the Tawny Gold paint were applied aftermarket by the first owner. It also features some "mild underhood custom touches and period speed parts."

But apart from that, this HEMI 'Cuda has the full package. It shakes a numbers-matching 426-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) V8 and a factory-correct Torqueflite automatic transmission. It's also one of only 107 'Cuda coupes sold with a HEMI in 1971 and one of just 48 equipped with the automatic gearbox. Not to mention that it's a final-year HEMI 'Cuda, as Chrysler discontinued the mighty 426 V8 in late 1971.

But that's not all. The Mopar had only one owner from 1976 to 2023 and spent most of its life in a heated garage. As a result, the odometer shows only 12,032 original miles (19,364 km). Moreover, it features a bucket-seat interior with a center console, a column-mounted tach, and the rare and desirable A36 Performance Axle Package. The GY9 Tawny Gold paint is probably an acquired taste, but it's one of those Mopar hues you won't see in the metal anytime soon.

How does it stack against other 1971 Plymouth HEMI 'Cuda coupes? Well, unrestored, low-mileage, and fully documented examples can fetch up to $1 million, but most examples rarely exceed the $400,000 mark. All told, at $357,500, including fees, this custom-finished Mopar punched well above its weight. And I'm pretty sure it would have netted $500,000 if it weren't for the aftermarket hot-rodding.

The 'Cuda crossed the block at Mecum's Indy 2023, an auction event that saw several iconic Mopars under the gavel. One of the four 1970 Plymouth 'Cuda RTS show cars changed hands for $2.2 million, while the infamous 1970 Dodge Challenger HEMI "Black Ghost" found a new home for $1.07 million. Both are low-mileage, unrestored cars.

The event also saw a 1970 Plymouth Superbird HEMI sell for $605,000 and a 1971 Plymouth Road Runner HEMI trade for $550,000. In all, no fewer than 13 HEMI-powered classics were auctioned off at Indy 2023, fetching a grand total of almost $3.9 million (although not all had numbers-matching mills).

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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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