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This One-of-One 1970 Hemicuda Didn't Sell for $250K, Its V8 Surprise Is Back on the Market

1970 Plymouth HEMI 'Cuda 37 photos
Photo: mecum.com
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Introduced in 1969 as a 1970 model year, the third-generation Plymouth Barracuda brought about two major changes in the history of the nameplate. After six seasons on the market and two fastback generations, the model switched paradigms to counter two opposing forces: the horsepower wars and the pony car movement. That’s why the all-new E-body Barracuda was granted an open-carry license for every single motor available from ChryCo at the time, including the Elephant 426.
On August 1, 1969, the first ‘hemicuda’ was assembled, and 665 more examples would follow until the end of production for the model year. Coincidence or not, the number of the beast was split unevenly between the hardtops (652) and the oh-so-worshipped-today convertibles (14). The rarity of the latter makes it reach astronomical prices in today’s market, but the hardtops aren’t exactly a bargain either.

The ragtops top the sales charts, with the most recent example changing hands for a thrifty five grand shy of two million bucks in January. The hardtops, on the other hand, settle for more modest figures, by which I mean more than a quarter of a million in median prices over the past five years, according to classic.com.

Out of the 666 Plymouth Barracudas built for 1970, 368 were three-speed TorqueFlite automatics with a proper sheet of metal over the seating area. That’s the most abundant figure in the two-year production run of the Hemi-powered ‘Cuda. In 1971, the engine was canceled, and the assembly line record sheet accounted for 114 units in all body-and-transmission combinations.

1970 Plymouth HEMI 'Cuda
Photo: mecum.com
Being so rare and armed with the coveted 426 cubic inches of raw power and brutal torque, the hemicuda is a prized (and pricy) collectible. The seven-liter motor delivered 425 hp and 490 lb-ft (431 PS, 664 Nm), and it could be paired with the aforementioned Torqueflite or the four-speed manual speed box. Interestingly, the three-speed self-shifting option was preferred by the majority of people who were alright about coughing up an extra 900 dollars for the massive engine.

If you’re sitting on a brick of Federal Reserve legal tender photo album of dead presidents of the United States of Automobile, then here’s an interesting proposition for you: a much-vehicled 1970 Plymouth Barracuda with these options: a 426 hemispherical-heads V8, a three-speed TorqueFlite, and a hardtop body.

There are other optional extras installed from the factory on this automobile—so many, in fact, that it needed a second fender tag to list them all (see it in the gallery). According to a private registry, this is the only example built with its itemized equipment. What exactly those one-in-one options are is not detailed on the auctioning site where the car is listed for sale.

1970 Plymouth HEMI 'Cuda
Photo: mecum.com
The red-on-black Plymouth hemicuda will go under the hammer in August, in Monterey, California (date to be determined). I assume the $250,000 high bid of last year (still in Monterey, where it didn’t meet the seller’s expectations) is the threshold to spill the cash over - if this car is to find a new owner.

Currently, the odometer on this rotisserie-restored example reads 64,310 miles (103,497 kilometers – the close-up photo in the gallery must be a bit dated). One keen eye will immediately notice a striking feature for a 1970 Plymouth Barracuda: the color-keyed elastomeric front bumper – a rare option for the model year.

The car is finished in its original Rallye Red hue, and the correct raised white letter F60-15 Polyglass Goodyears had better handle the brutality of the 4.10 Sure Grip Dana 60 rear. This car has been on the market since at least 2006 –the oldest record of a sale we could track, at a hefty $192,500 in Scottsdale, Arizona.



Almost a decade later, in 2015, at the same car show, the car changed hands for just $176,000 after failing to find a new owner in 2014 in Anaheim (high bid of $185,000). However, in 2018, in Las Vegas, this tantalizing hemicuda convinced someone that $220,000 was the right price.

Six years after that last purchase, what do you think the value of this car is today? All these previous auctions don’t mention the evolution of the car’s mileage, but in 2006, the seller appraised the car as garage-kept, well-maintained, and cared for throughout its life.

However, that ad also mentioned something that you’re probably not going to like: 'a correct type, series 2, Hemi 426.' To me, that spells 'not original,' and Mopar purists are not too fond of these mismatched examples - not with a quarter-million at stake.

Granted, the car is registered, documented – with receipts of the restoration and a digital photo album (on a CD) – and very nice-looking, but still. The auction is still three months away (15-17 August 2024, Monterey, California), and we’re just as curious as you are to see if this car will sell (and at what price it does).
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About the author: Razvan Calin
Razvan Calin profile photo

After nearly two decades in news television, Răzvan turned to a different medium. He’s been a field journalist, a TV producer, and a seafarer but found that he feels right at home among petrolheads.
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