This Hemi 'Cuda has about 30 miles on its odometer.
But these miles weren't accumulated by driving it off the final-assembly line at Hamtramck Assembly onto a transporter, then off and on and off trailers for nearly three decades. And those miles didn't go on a quarter-mile at a time, either.
Rather, this 'Cuda had a rougher life than any other ultra-rare/ultra-low-mileage Mopar has had.
For starters, it wasn't built to a dealer's or customer's order. "It's the only documented executive-ordered '71 Hemi 'Cuda," says current owner Rick Simpson, who says that it went through the exec-order process so it could be built for Pro Stock drag racer Don Grotheer as part of his deal with Ma Mopar. Rick adds, "He was based in Oklahoma City, he raced under contract with Chrysler from 1968 to 1972, and he put on supercar clinics the same as Ronnie Sox and Dick Landy."
No console, no rallye gauge...
No console, no rallye gauge cluster, and no radio. That's how this four-speed Hemi 'Cuda was ordered-and that's how it was restored.
And, for the '71 season, he needed to update the Pro Stock Hemi 'Cuda that he ran in 1970, and that called for a "shipping crate" vehicle with the new-for-'71 parts on it. "This was how Chrysler provided a drivetrain, interior, suspension, and any other components Grotheer needed to upgrade his Pro Stock car from a '70 to a '71 configuration," Rick says. "When he got the car brand-new, he stripped it. He'd done a similar thing to a '70 Hemi 'Cuda the year before. Then, he was given a body in primer at the same time that he had acid-dipped, and that became his Pro Stock car."
So, Grotheer ordered up a plain-Jane white, Hemi/four-speed/Super Track Pack car with tinted glass, power disc brakes, and the spoiler package, and the other options that came with Super Track Pack. It's a 4.10 Dana car with power disc brakes. That explains why this E-Body went from a special-ordered car to a parts car in short order.
The "Go-Wing" rear spoiler...
The "Go-Wing" rear spoiler was on the factory buildsheet, so an NOS one went on during the restoration.
It then spent the better part of the next couple decades sitting in a field in Oklahoma, after Grotheer gave the body away to a guy who'd hung around his shop. This all happened while many of the 58 other '71 Hemi 'Cuda hardtops were getting driven, thrashed, crunched, crashed, and then stashed-with the survivors eventually getting discovered and restored.
How bad was it when Rick finally laid eyes on it? Here's a clue-the last word in the last sentence above. "I bought it fully restored," he says of his score of two years ago. "I'm talking a full-OEM-quality restoration. The body itself has less than 30 original miles on it."
Thanks to a factory build...
Thanks to a factory build order that left off the "billboards," the Hemi 'Cuda badges of the Shaker hoodscoop are the only clues to what's under the hood.
Thanks to the skill of restorer Jason Repucci of Sacramento, California, this '71 Hemi 'Cuda looks just like it did the day it rolled off the line at Hamtramck Assembly. "The restoration work that Jason did is phenomenal," Rick says with pride. "He used a major find-collection, really-of NOS parts, even an NOS short-block."
What's it like to drive-the few miles that Rick puts on it at a time? "It's like an old car," he says with a big laugh. "The car drives like a Hemi 'Cuda would have driven in the day."
How about a look at the restored...
How about a look at the restored '71-vintage 426 Hemi?
Rick's '71 Hemi 'Cuda is far from the only Mopar muscle car parked in his Cobourg, Ontario, garage. "I have a '70 Hemi 'Cuda and a '71 Demon 340," he says. "This is probably the least number of Mopars that I've had for a while. I also have a '67 Belvedere that was originally given to Jere Stahl."
What advice does Rick have for those looking for rare, yet-to-be-rediscovered Mopars (like the unaccounted for Hemi 'Cudas)? "Just keep digging. It's amazing what's still out there."
Amazing, indeed-if the cars out there have the story behind them like this ultra-low-mile Hemi 'Cuda has.
'71 Plymouth Hemi 'Cuda hardtop
Owned by: Rick Simpson, Cobourg, Ontario, Canada
- Engine: A rebuilt, restored, and rarely-driven '71-vintage 426 Hemi.
- Transmission: Another restored OEM item: An 18-spline A-833 four-speed manual with a Hurst "Pistol Grip" shifter. As you know, any other four-speed behind a Hemi is scrap metal waiting to happen.
- Rearend: What you got with the Super Track
- Pak option: A 3.54-geared Dana 60 with a Sure-Grip differential.
- Suspension: Just like it had when it left Hamtramck
- Assembly: Heavy-duty longitudinal torsion bars and an anti-sway bar in front, heavy-duty leaf springs in back, and heavy-duty shocks at all four corners.
- Brakes: Restored OEM power front disc/rear drum brakes.
- Wheels and Tires: Repro Goodyear Polyglas G60-15 RWL tires were OEM, and repros of 'em are here now, on 15x7-inch steel wheels with correct Plymouth dog-dish caps.
- Body: '71 Barracuda hardtop unibody spent a couple decades sitting in a field before it was restored by Jason Repucci in Sacramento, California. That includes the factory spoiler/Go-Wing package the car was built with.
- Paint: Jason Repucci had the original W3 Sno-White sprayed on during his frame-off resto.
- Interior: Restored to original with front buckets, rear bench, standard gauge cluster, radio delete plate, and not much else. NOS parts were used throughout, from one of the biggest stashes of NOS E-Body parts there was.