Vintage musclecars have their advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side, they look great, sound nasty, and give their owners a lot of satisfaction.
On the negative side, they can be finicky, somewhat uncomfortable and expensive to maintain and operate. The '72 340 'Cuda seen here isn't really a troublemaker, but when Barb Doyle and her husband Steve decided to buy it, they had a fair amount of difficulty.
The saga began one weekend when Steve was out of town but asked Barb if she would like to take his '73 Challenger to a pair of car shows. For the first time, Barb realized how much fun it was to display a car on her own; the result was a pair of trophies. When Steve got home, she told him she thought it would be nice to have her own car so she could collect trophies herself.
The Challenger was a finished project (stock restoration) and the couple decided they would look for something that was not going to require a great deal of work to get show ready. While Barb had her heart set on a Plum Crazy 'Cuda convertible, that proved to be basically unavailable. This '72 Plymouth was found in the Car Corral at the Carlisle All-Chrysler Nationals in 1998, and she decided it would fit the bill quite nicely. However, like a majority of us, she and Steve had not come to the event with a suitcase full of money.
Carlisle is unique in that they offer an array of financial services onsite. For the Doyles, there was just enough of a cash advance available to them on their credit card to get the funds to make the purchase, but it wasn't one that Carlisle could process in this manner. Being a weekend, getting the advance another way proved to be impossible, even after trying Western Union. Luckily, the seller was kind enough to hold the car for them, and a week later, they drove the eight hours from upstate New York to Virginia and picked the car up for cash. Barb jokingly refers to the car by the nickname "Nightmare" due to the stress involved in the purchase and the fact that it's painted TX9 Formal Black.
The 340 mill, in its final year of production, was installed in 5,864 'Cudas that year. By 1972, things had begun to change radically for the E-Body line; the convertibles, Shakers, and wild colors from the pinnacle year of 1971 were all history, as were the Hemi and the big-blocks. The 340 was now the largest motor available, and the only one featuring a four-barrel carb (in this case, Carter's wide-throated Thermoquad). Net horsepower was now rated at 240, using 8.5:1 compression pistons to comply with the nation's new emissions requirements. Still, that didn't mean it was no fun. The original buyer had opted for the A833 four-speed crash box stirred by a Hurst Pistol Grip shifter, and a 3.55 SureGrip in the 8 3/4 rear keeps the car balanced between mileage and muscle.
The interior is classic 'Cuda, with a 150 mph speedo in the Rallye dash. It has bucket seats, and outside, the panels are accented by the new factory V6W white stripe, while the scallops molded into the performance hood give the car street savvy. A set of 14-inch Rallye wheels with P225 BFGoodrich radials round out the package.
The car, which had been a daily driver until around 1990, spent about six months getting detailed after it was purchased, thanks in part to suppliers like Year One and Cambridge Custom Chrome in Ontario, Canada, and Barb uses it on sunny weekends. In fact, when we caught up with the Doyles at last year's Mopar Nationals, it was Barb who was doing the driving and Steve was along to enjoy the show. It looks like this troublemaker is really no problem at all.