It’s kind of like finding the Holy Grail or buried treasure. The odds of it happening are like winning the lottery. Still, it happens. People find rare Mopars that have been hidden away for not just years but decades.

We call them “Barn Finds” because they often seem to be found in rural areas in some old building that nobody has used for many years. In this case, this one was rescued from a barn in central Iowa.

Maybe rescued is a bit of a stretch in that the previous owner knew what it was when he acquired it back in 1988 and stored it away, waiting for the day when it would hopefully be worth something. It has been rescued, though, in that John Balow of Muscle Car Restoration in Chippeway Falls, Wisconsin, will get to return it to completely original showroom condition. But before we get to that, let’s talk about this ’Cuda’s history.

It was built along with six others exactly like it, on August 1, 1969, at the Hamtramck, Michigan, plant. The serial numbers of all six were all within an eight number spread, meaning that they pulled six ’Cudas out of an eight car sequience.

Their purpose was to promote the new ’Cuda body style for 1970 to the Canadian markets and one was sent to a dealer in each of the Canadian Provinces. This one is believed to have been shipped to Centennial Chrysler-Plymouth in Ontario.

They all received a 440 Six Barrel and a 727. They all came with a white interior and top, and the Vitamin C Orange paint got the special show car finish. Black hockey stick stripes and rocker moldings were also added.

A few oddities lead John to think that these ’Cudas didn’t start down the assembly line with these intentions. The biggest oddity is the 22-inch radiator instead of the normal 26-inch version found in big-block cars. Another is the standard non-Rally dash (no tachometer) and the small speedometer. And an open 8¾ rear with 3.23 gears also doesn’t seem in keeping with the performance image these cars were supposed to portray.

The thought is that the sales guys needed to get some promo cars into the Canadian market in a hurry and simply got permission to pull some out of regular production, throw in the big 440 in ’em, dress them up a bit and get ’em down the road. Maybe they thought they could get away with a 22-inch radiator in the cooler climate up there. This is all just pure speculation, of course, but it could explain the odd combination here.

Once up north, this one did get some street miles as a dealer demo, but it wasn’t too long before it was moved to the dragstrip to promote the performance of the new model and likely the dealership as well. Obviously, this one was ridden hard and long after its usefulness as a promo car was used up. Its exact history is not known except that it saw a lot of time on the track.

Clearly there is not much left. At some point, the original engine was removed—possibly after a rod-ventilation experience, so when John got it, it didn’t have the correct engine, bat at least it’s a Six Barrel 440 that has some correct parts on it. MCR has yet to determine what they can use. The plan is to return the ’Cuda to showroom condition, but since the original engine is gone, the restoration will be as if a “factory warranty replacement” engine and transmission was installed. It will not be numbers matching but would be era correct for a car that needed a few replacement engines during its life, though none under any kind of a warranty.

In the end, John and the guys intend to do a full restoration of this rare piece of Mopar history. Luckily, our readers will be able to follow along and see what it takes to return a really rough “basket case” to its original beauty. John has graciously agreed to give as an exclusive with this project, so you won’t find the usual progress photos on the MCR website until after you see the feature on it in Mopar Muscle. In the meantime, every few months, we’ll bring you an update as the project progresses. However, you can watch the MCR site for advance notice of the next installment. MCR’s goal is to reveal it to the public at the 2013 or more likely 2014 Mopar Nats.