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A Brutally Rusty 1972 'Cuda With a Dramatic Story Gets One More Shot at Life
The worst' Cuda ever that runs and drives (barely, but still) went to the drag strip for an actual drag race. Unfortunately, it wasn't allowed to participate in the quarter-mile sprint for technical reasons. And looking at the car, one might wonder what the organizers could have possibly not found wrong about this battered Plymouth. Even more so, why did they allow it to go nuts on the donuts course?

A Brutally Rusty 1972 'Cuda With a Dramatic Story Gets One More Shot at Life

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The car has a fascinating story, and Dylan McCool, the car-loving YouTuber, decided to give this 'Cuda a second chance. As it happens, it's not the first time Dylan laid eyes on this devastation of a vehicle. It's not even the second time, although the two previous occasions are unrelated.

About two months ago, Dylan posted a video about a great Ford truck collection (in Soddy Daisy, Tennessee) that another avid YouTuber (Solomon Lunger) had bought. So Dylan got a tour of the great Ford truck assembly and, purely incidentally, ran into this 1972 Plymouth Cuda lying in one of the garages. The video is second at the bottom of this story.

About two months later, Dylan got the car to have and hold and – possibly – make something out of it. The thrashed (trashed?) Plymouth has a rather interesting story and a more powerful will to live. It emerged from the womb of mother Mopar in 1972. About a decade later, on a casual highway drive, it went bust and ended up in a ravine. Never to be reclaimed, recovered, or rescued by its owner, the vehicle accepted the semiaquatic habitat and the old advice of "go with the flow."

Literally: the automobile – already bruised by the highway mishap – was washed away downstream by the waters in the ravine. As if drowning was not enough tormenting, some trigger-happy folks used the automobile's right side to practice gun skills (the bullet holes are intact!) on the car wreck. However, one day, a merciful soul saw the opportunity lying where everyone else saw a pile of rusty Plymouth. So the car was rescued and given a second life.

Not just any life, but a glamorous career of rusty rat-race fashion. The Instagram post at the bottom shows the car at the drag strip – that's where Dylan McCool first encountered the ratty 'Cuda). And it proved to be a tremendous two-decade run, as the car competed and won until eight years ago when it was retired and sold to the Soddy Daisy Collection. The second video in this article shows the vehicle in Tennessee (at the 45:00 mark).

Come September 2022, and the 'Cuda – now owned by Dylan McCool – goes racing again. However, eight years of rotting in retirement took a toll on the already bashed (read "catastrophically damaged") Plymouth.

Let's call it what it is – the car is falling apart – as seen in the first video, where the poor scrapyard candidate drops its fuel tank on a courageous Dylan trying to work under it. In all fairness, the once pride of Chrysler now has a face only mother Mopar could love. However, this was born a 'Cuda and had a reputation to defend.

It didn't lay down its sword to the elements, bullets, merciless rat racing, or oblivion. Under the shaky hood, the 383 cubic-inch (6.3-liter) V8 still has life left in it. Of course, it takes a little elbow grease (about two ultra large crude carriers), dedication, and Mopar-lovers' enthusiastic help to have the engine action ready. Dylan took the 'Cuda to the Holley Moparty event this month for a drag race and was fortunate enough to find a bunch of gearheads to give him a hand.

A new carburetor, a new fuel tank (and sending unit), and a new pressure regulator help spur some vitality in the old V8 – it's not the car's original powerplant, mind you. But the Achille's heel proved to be the fuel pump, which got no attention – although it made several attempts to draw it. You can hear the fuel pump muttering and coughing at the 21:50 time stamp on the first video.

And the results are apparent: the rotten, broken, devastating memory of a 'Cuda is burnout-capable again. By "burnout," we imply stationary rear-tire rolling and smoking, as donuts – although attempted – are yet beyond the reach of this rust-clad Plymouth. And drag racing was forbidden when the windshield came out due to its lack of sufficient transparency.

At this point, it would be a lovely tribute to the once mighty Plymouth Barracuda's "Special" sibling to evocate the automobile it once was. A 1972 Custom Deluxe (the badge still sits on the left front fender) came with three engine options (none of them, the 383 in this story, as the big blocks, lost the emissions war with the federal government).

Instead, a meager inline-six 225 ci (3.7 liters) giving 110 bhp sat under the hood as the most economical version. The base engine was a 318 ci (5.2-liter) V8 with 150 bhp. This plant was shared between the Barracuda and the 'Cuda of the 1972 model year. The top offer came in the guise of the "revised" (detuned) 340 ci V8 that only gave 240 bhp.



 
 
 
 
 

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