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Take a Closer Look at the One-of-None 1970 Plymouth "Paint Chip" 'Cuda

Looking to spice things up in the muscle car segment, Chrysler introduced the E-body platform in 1969. It was used for the third-generation Plymouth Barracuda and the first-gen Dodge Challenger. At the same time, Chrysler also launched the High Impact color palette.
1970 Plymouth "Paint Chip" 'Cuda 8 photos
Photo: Matt Gause/YouTube
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Initially comprising four hues, the High Impact options list expanded to include five additional colors for the 1970 model year. The Barracuda was available in no fewer than 25 hues that year, and Plymouth marketed the diverse color palette with a brochure that included a 1970 HEMI 'Cuda sporting 25 colorful stripes on the passenger side.

In addition to the rainbow-like paint scheme, the 'Cuda also featured a wheelie bar, a roll cage, side-exiting exhaust pipes, and drag racing slicks in the rear. An altered image next to a Rapid Transit System ad, the said 'Cuda was never built by Chrysler. But the photo left a strong impression on 12-year-old Tim Wellborn, who saw it while visiting a Dodge dealership. Some four decades later, Tim opened the Wellborn Muscle Car Museum and turned the ad into reality.

Known as the "Paint Chip" 'Cuda, this one-of-none Mopar is half regular production Barracuda and half tribute to Plymouth's 1970-model-year color palette. And Tim didn't just have the passenger side finished in 25 different paint samples. He also added the drag-spec wheels, the side-existing exhaust pipes, and the wheelie bar he saw in the ad. And while the driver's side sports a "383" decal, the paint chip side displays a "HEMI" stripe.

The "Paint Chip" 'Cuda is a sight to behold and one of the most famous examples wearing the iconic badge. And while it usually sits in the Wellborn Muscle Car Museum, the colorful Mopar makes occasional trips to wow crowds at local car shows. Recently spotted at the 2023 Music City Mopar Show in Nashville, Tennessee, the "Paint Chip" 'Cuda is as spectacular as the day The Bomb Factory shop in New Orleans completed it.

How many High Impact colors does it include? Well, only five of the ten hues found their way on the "Paint Chip" 'Cuda, three of which were brand-new for 1970. FY1 Lemon Twist and EV2 Tor Red adorn the rear fender, while an EK2 Vitamin C stripe marks the passenger door. FJ5 Limelight is next to it, while FC7 In-Violet can be seen on the hood and front fender.

Where are the other five High Impact colors? Well, EF6 Rallye Green was a 1969 spring color, while EL5 Bahama Yellow was a special-order hue in 1970. FM3 Moulin Rouge was also a spring paint, while GY3 Curious Yellow wasn't available until 1971. FJ6 Sassy Grass, on the other hand, was missing from the ad car despite being new for 1970 and a regular on the options list.

But it's not just the High Impact colors that give the "Paint Chip" 'Cuda its spectacular and somewhat psychedelic look. Plymouth offered many other flashy hues that year, including Citron Gold (FY6), Scorch Red (ER6), Frosted Teal (FP6), Burnt Orange (FK3), Jamaica Blue (EB7), and Blue Fire (EB5). The Ivy Green (EF8) adorning the other half of this 'Cuda is also pretty cool.

But that's enough talk for today. Check out "the most famous muscle car that never existed," as Tim calls it, in the video below.

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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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