You know the story: A Mopar lover sells his prized ride, and then later regrets it. So, he sets out to find another one to build into the car of his dreams. Before that replacement one is finished, life interrupts the project, which is then put away until many years later.
Hood: The crowning touch to Bryan’s ’Cuda 340: A Shaker hood.
So it was with Bryan Webb, who’d sold a 340-powered ’73 Dodge Challenger Rallye that he’d owned for most of his adult life. About a year after he’d sold it, he spotted a newspaper ad in Atlanta, for an original black ’70 ’Cuda 340. “I was looking for a ’Cuda, and black is the perfect color,” he says.
A trip to go look at it resulted in Bryan hauling home a “project-ready” E-Body. Its original, numbers-matching 340 had seen better days, though. “I discovered the cam had several lobes wiped out,” he recalls. “The paint and interior were also shot, so I began to disassemble the car for a repaint and engine rebuild.”
That’s when life’s issues put a stop to Bryan’s project, and the ’Cuda sat in storage for the next eight years. Once it was time to get it going again, Bryan decided to resume his project, as a restified street/strip car. That’s when he made a big discovery, once he had the ’Cuda taken apart down to its unibody, and mounted on a rotisserie, “The bottom was just perfect,” recalls Bryan. “It was a factory-undercoat car, and it was well undercoated, so it didn’t have any issues there.”
I was not interested in OE perfect. I just wanted to build it like I would have ordered the car in 1970.
Gauges: Gauges by Redline Custom Works, and shifter by Hurst.
That discovery changed the direction of Bryan’s “Project TX9.” “I decided then to go more with a restored look on the car,” he says. “I was not interested in OE perfect. I just wanted to build it like I would have ordered the car in 1970.”
But two things that weren’t available in 1970 went on Bryan’s ’Cuda: A five-speed manual gearbox, and Dynamat thermal/acoustic insulation. “The five-speed really makes the car user-friendly,” says Bryan, who adds, “Dynamat, in the floor and doors, is almost a must on an E-Body. You know how hollow and terrible they sounded originally.”
As for the 340, Bryan rebuilt it with a “streetable” camshaft, Demon carburetor and tti headers, dropping it back in the ‘Cuda once the body was completed. “When the painted body came home to my back-yard shop in April of 2009, it was so nice I set a goal to try and get the car put back together in time for the Mopar Nats that August,” says Bryan.
Tires: Repop Goodyear Polyglas GT tires, in the F60-15 size. That was considered huge in 1
He got the job done—with help and inspiration from his wife, Sue—just in time to load the ’Cuda on his trailer and head for Columbus, where the ’70 scored a 3rd Place award in the E-Body-Street class. The following year, after finding a jack assembly and space-saver spare tire for the trunk, he brought it back to the Nats the next year, and took home 1st Place class honors.
Since then, he’s added a Shaker hood and scoop, and returned the ‘70s engine bay to a stock-looking appearance, before showing it at the Mopar Muscle Southern Mopar Nationals last year. Off came the headers and Demon, and on went stock 340 intake and exhaust manifolds and a restored original Carter AVS four-barrel, plus an Accurate Exhaust Products “Magnum Series” exhaust system. He also replaced the drag radials he’d installed with reproduction Goodyear “Polyglas GT” tires, for a more OE look.
With the original-style updates, how’s this car to drive? “The car is awesome,” says Bryan. “With the five-speed in it, it’s literally a pleasure. At 70 miles an hour, it’s turning less than 2,500 rpm with 4.10 gears in back.”
Does this mean that he’s finished with this project? Maybe. “I’m currently very pleased with it, but I still have the itch to keep working on the car,” says Bryan. “Now that I’ve dealt with the shaker hood itch, I have this yearning for a 416-inch stroker engine.” He adds, “I really need to find a new project car for now, and let this one rest for a couple of years.”
Another project car…like a companion TX9 ’Cuda convertible?
’70 Plymouth ’Cuda 340 hardtop
Owner: Bryan Webb
|Engine: Bryan had the numbers-matching block bored out .030-inch, and then he built it with a Mopar hydraulic camshaft, oiling system and “hidden” electronic ignition, rebuilt stock heads, a Carter AVS four-barrel on a stock cast iron intake, and stock 340 exhaust manifolds with an Accurate Exhaust Products repop exhaust system.
|Transmission: Bryan swapped in a Tremec 5-speed that replaced the original column-shifted 727.
|Rear: Restored original 83⁄4 with 4.10 gears
|Suspension: Restored original ’70 ’Cuda 340 (Front) Mopar Performance longitudinal torsion bars, sway bar, Mancini strut rods, and KYB shocks (Rear) Mopar leaf springs and KYB shocks
|Brakes: SSBC discs in front and restored OEM drums in back, with an SSBC dual-circuit master cylinder.
|Wheels/Tires: 15x7-inch Rallye wheels wear repop bias-ply Goodyear “Polyglas GT” F60-15 RWL tires.
|Paint/Body: Original all-steel ’70 E-Body hardtop needed nothing more than new lower quarters welded on and an undercoating scrape-off by Bryan, then paint prep and two-stage PPG Deltron TX9 Black paint sprayed on by Haynes Auto Restoration, Dothan, Alabama. Later, Bryan added an N96 Shaker hood and scoop.
|Interior: Bryan restored it with Legendary seat covers and carpets by Auto Custom Carpets, while adding a Redline Gauge Works custom gauge cluster and keeping the original AM/8-track radio/tape player.