Plymouth Hemi Cuda Convertible
By every definition, be it power, panache, rarity or any other quality, the 1970-71 Plymouth Hemi Cuda convertible is the ultimate muscle car of its time, combining the awesome power of Chrysler’s dual-quad 426 Hemi V-8 with classic pony car styling penned by 27-year-old John Herlitz under the watchful eye of Chrysler design chief Elwood Engel. The surly Engel was initially displeased with Herlitz’ efforts, but would later gleefully perform a burnout with an early prototype in the third-floor hallway of Building 128, where it was shown to company brass in the design auditorium.
Mr. Herlitz was rewarded for his efforts with this 1970 Hemi Cuda convertible, which has since been the centerpiece of some of the finest Mopar collections in the world. The factory broadcast sheet documents its origin as an executive lease or demonstrator, ordered with nearly every available option and finished in triple Black.
It is one of 14 Hemi Cuda convertibles produced for the United States in 1970 and one of nine equipped with the A727 Torqueflite 3-speed automatic transmission, in this case teamed with the Dana 60 rear end, 4.10:1 Sure Grip differential, 7-blade Torque Drive fan, 26-inch radiator and front disc brakes comprising the A32 Super Performance Axle Package; power steering and brakes are also included. The A21 Elastomeric Bumper Group added the color-keyed front bumper, chromed outside mirrors and bright belt moldings, with a Shaker hood, hold down pins, fender-mounted turn signals, road lights, lower sill trim, chromed luggage rack and Rallye wheels with Goodyear Polyglas GTs completing the exterior appointments.
The extensive list of interior features includes leather bucket seats, Rallye instrument cluster and console with wood-grain trim, Rim Blow wood-grain steering wheel, A01 Light Package, solid state AM radio, power windows and top and tinted glass. To top it all off, Herlitz chose to delete body stripes or callouts and eschewed body-side moldings.
This one-of-a-kind muscle car boasts an enviable ownership history that includes membership in Las Vegas developer Brett Torino’s famous collection of Hemi Cuda convertibles; it has also been cared for along the way by Mopar devotee Carl Sable, well-known British muscle car collector Carlos Monteverde and former chairman of Chrysler Finance, Darrell Davis. Restored in 2002 by Cummins Restorations in Michigan, it is without doubt the key to completing any comprehensive collection of the world’s finest historic muscle cars.
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Source: Mecum Auctions as part of the Monterey event in August, 2015
Photo Credit: Dan Duckworth