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Lemon Twist 1971 Plymouth 'Cuda Has One Feature That Makes It Super Rare

1971 Plymouth 'Cuda Convertible 18 photos
Photo: classiccarswest/Bring a Trailer
1971 Plymouth 'Cuda Convertible1971 Plymouth 'Cuda Convertible1971 Plymouth 'Cuda Convertible1971 Plymouth 'Cuda Convertible1971 Plymouth 'Cuda Convertible1971 Plymouth 'Cuda Convertible1971 Plymouth 'Cuda Convertible1971 Plymouth 'Cuda Convertible1971 Plymouth 'Cuda Convertible1971 Plymouth 'Cuda Convertible1971 Plymouth 'Cuda Convertible1971 Plymouth 'Cuda Convertible1971 Plymouth 'Cuda Convertible1971 Plymouth 'Cuda Convertible1971 Plymouth 'Cuda Convertible1971 Plymouth 'Cuda Convertible1971 Plymouth 'Cuda Convertible
1971 was the second year on the market for the third-generation Plymouth Barracuda. It was also the Mopar's final year with high-compression big-block V8 engines. Following a successful 1970 model year with nearly 49,000 units delivered, Barracuda sales dropped to fewer than 19,000 cars.
Decidedly scarcer than its 1970 iteration, the 1971 Barracuda spawed several rare gems. The HEMI 'Cuda is the holy grail, with only 114 units made. This number also includes seven convertibles, which usually cross the auction block for seven-figure sums (it's one of only a handful of million-dollar muscle cars).

The 440 Six-Barrel examples are also hard to find. Plymouth sold only 254 units, of which only 17 left the assembly line with a retractable top. But 1971 convertibles are actually rare regardless of trim and drivetrain combo. Of the 18,690 Barracudas sold in 1971, only 1,388 were ordered as drop-tops. That's a tiny 7.4% of the total production. Only 292 were sent to US dealers in Cuda trim, and the Lemon Twist rig you see here is one of them.

Repainted in its original FY1 hue under previous ownership, this 'Cuda is a high-impact beauty with a white interior and white convertible top. The latter is a replacement unit, while the white "billboard" side graphics were installed under current ownership. The car was originally ordered with white stripes, so the "billboard" add-ons are not factory-correct.

The drop-top comes with an extensive list of factory goodies, including a Shaker hood, tach, painted racing mirrors, Rallye instrument cluster, power brakes, and a center console with woodgrain. The hot-looking Shaker hood hides a four-barrel 383-cubic-inch (6.3-liter) V8, the standard (but not the least powerful unit) in 1971.

This engine narrows production numbers even more. Of the 292 'Cuda drop-tops delivered in 1971, only 128 were equipped with the big-block mill. Then there's the automatic transmission, which turns this Mopar into a one-of-87 gem. It's safe to say that the color combo puts this 'Cuda into one-digit production territory, but that's something we can't be 100% sure of without a Galen Govier report.

Speaking of exterior hue, Lemon Twist (Top Banana on Dodge vehicles) is one of the longest-running High Impact colors. Introduced in 1970, it soldiered on through 1973. It's also the last High Impact hue to be offered. Only one other paint from this special palette was available for four years: HEMI Orange/TorRed (1969-1972)

It's unclear if the V8 is numbers-matching or whether the 81,000-mile (130,357 km) reading on the odometer is authentic, but that didn't stop interested buyers from reaching a high bid of $70,000. The auction ends in five days, so this 'Cuda could change hands for more than $100,000. For reference, non-HEMI 1971 'Cuda Convertibles can fetch as much as $300,000. How much do you think this Lemon Twist drop-top is worth?
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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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