Buying a car sight unseen is a risky business. You can't base your purchase on a low-resolution photo. That's why most of us prefer the old fashioned way of buying a car. We find it, look it over, and count out the bills. Well, what if you still did it the old fashioned way and got into something that's way over your head? Terry Showalter did just that and it took him a year of hard work to come out on top.
When most of us buy a car, we usually know what sort of work is in store for us; otherwise we wouldn't have gotten into it in the first place. Occasionally, you'll find a good-spirited owner who just got in over his or her head and wants to sell the project to someone who can take on the work. When Terry Showalter was in the market for an early '70s 'Cuda, he was pointed in the direction of this '71. "I contacted the guy and the car was brought to me for inspection. I acted as if it were the last Curious Yellow 'Cuda available," he jokes. "It all seemed to be there with just a few issues, so I bought the car."
It wasn't until he finally had the car home and spent some time with it that he began to see the car for what it truly was. He contacted Jim Zellner in Denver, a Mopar go-to guy, so Jim could determine exactly what Terry had gotten himself into. Terry was soon educated in the level of disrepair that his E-Body was in and he was forced to decide whether or not he should keep it.
After some deliberation, Terry opted to keep the car and build it to a factory Curious Yellow 340 four-speed "Billboard" car. He now had quite the project on his hands, as attention was needed on nearly every part of the car. The dirty work began swiftly after the assessment, and Jim removed the suspension, drivetrain, trim, interior, and paint. The car was stripped down, and the body was sent off to NyLands Paint and Body to have new panels aligned and fitted before the car was sprayed in Curious Yellow.
When the car came back from NyLands, Terry was very pleased with the results. "I think they did a terrific job aligning the panels. The body looks very straight," he concedes. From there, Terry had Jim begin the tough job of piecing it all back together. "I let Jim do all of the mechanical work after I received the car back from the body shop," Terry says. "There was a lot on his plate, but Jim knew what he was doing." Slowly, Jim buttoned the car up and handed Terry the keys to his immaculately restored 340 four-speed 'Cuda.
The entire restoration took around a year, which is impressive considering that Terry started out with essentially a rolling shell that needed considerable work both mechanically and aesthetically. "Since the restoration, I've driven the car quite a bit, but I really don't want to put too many miles on it," he says. "It does some fantastic burnouts and I've taken it to a few shows such as Mopars at the Strip in Las Vegas."
Terry is one of those guys who's becoming increasingly rarer in the fact that he appreciates the car for the way Ma Mopar intended. "I really like enjoying the car for the way it was when it hit the streets back in the day," admits Terry. "I always enjoy custom cars or ones modified to any extent, but there is something about a stock muscle car." We agree with Terry. Thankfully, Plymouth built us fantastic cars back in the '60s and '70s that will be enjoyed forever. For now, Terry will continue to enjoy his 'Cuda and can now appreciate another thing about the car: how much work it needed in order to get it this way.
'71 Plymouth 'Cuda
The days of clean, uncluttered engine bays are no more. Jim made sure that under the hood
- Engine: The original-to-the-car 340 with Thermo-Quad carburetor was pulled out for an overhaul by Jim Zellner. The block received a 0.030 overbore, then a stock rotating assembly was thrown back in. The heads were resurfaced and bench-flowed by Jim. Back in the car, the only aftermarket components added were a set of tti headers and a Flowmaster exhaust system.
- Transmission: Original four-speed with pistol grip shifter
- Rearend: 8 3/4 Sure-Grip rearend with 3.73 gears
- Suspension: Brand-new NOS suspension components were added to the undercarriage of the 'Cuda to provide another 30 years of enjoyment.
- Brakes: Up front are stock discs and rear drums.
- Wheels and Tires: Factory 15x7 Rallye wheels wrapped in 245/60R15 front and 255/60R15 rear BFG TA Radials.
- Paint and Body: NyLans Paint and Body in Denver was sent the bare body and chassis to have new panels hung and aligned before being sprayed in look-at-me-now Curious Yellow.
- Interior: Auto-Weave in Denver dressed the interior in some new clothing with new carpet, seat covers, and restored interior trim.