The good ol' days are over, and most people lament that fact. It seems that many people complain that there are no good cars left out there to find. The truth is, most of the 'good cars' have indeed disappeared from view now; thanks to visible prices on TV and the internet, plus the continuing progression of time, a lot of quality iron has entered the hobby, leaving their old homes for new financial vistas and new life. So sometimes, you just have to be lucky.
We imagine most of our readers-regardless of age, would consider 17-year-old Adam Blankenship lucky. Adam is the present caretaker and owner of this 1970 383 'Cuda. What's more, this is a semi-survivor car -- other than the sheen on the roof, that CY3 Lemon Twist paint is original, and the car is all numbers-matching and shows just 55,000 miles since it was purchased new.
So, how does a young guy get a car like this? Well, truth be told, Adam had an inside edge. His dad, Dave, is a lifelong Mopar enthusiast, and back in the 1990s, Dave bought some pretty impressive cars. These included Hemi and Six Pack E-Bodies, but one car that he specifically wanted was a real 1970 383 four-speed 'Cuda, so he purchased this one in 1998 from the second owner. Dave recalls now, "It had been in Utah most of its existence."
Adam was only seven years old, but he appreciated this particular car even more than some of the more expensive others. As he got closer to driving age, Dave decided that he might even be willing to let Adam have this car, after a couple of conditions were met.
"He always liked it a lot, and I decided if he could keep his grades up and do good in school, I'd let him have it. For about a year after getting his license, he drove around in other stuff before I gave him the keys, though!"
Since the car was basically stock and obviously worth a bit of money as an original, the deal was that Adam could make changes to it as long as the car could be brought back to bone stock with no major problems. "I've done a few things to it, but it's pretty much done," says Adam. "I may put a modern ignition system on it so it starts a little easier, but other than that, it's finished." The body was in excellent shape, though the paint on the roof had faded. Dave found a local body shop to tape off the body line, including the factory stripe, and impressively match the factory color.
Now, in case you are wondering if this is a daily driver, Adam has a spare truck that he puts most of his regular miles on; the Lemon Twist-ed 'Cuda gets its workouts on the weekends.
We look back fondly on those old days, remembering when it seemed like the Sunday classifieds ran the gamut of opportunity, but it's also pretty cool to see someone Adam's age reliving the past as well, even if he did have some inside help...
1970 383 'Cuda
Car Owner: Adam Blankenship
Supply, North Carolina
- Engine: Since this is basically a survivor car with a good maintenance history, the bottom end of the engine has never been rebuilt. What has been changed are things that can be easily fixed should the decision be made to bring the car back to stock. From the top down, that includes the air cleaner, Holley 750-carburetor, Edelbrock Performer RPM intake, and minor reworking of the stock heads. With a Mopar .509 lift Purple Shaft in the cam bore now, the biggest change was the use of Hooker Super Comp headers and a set of modern pipes and mufflers sending fumes to the factory tips in the rear valance. The ignition has been upgraded to a Mopar electronic outfit, and Adam says some additional cylinder firepower is the only additional change he is considering.
- Transmission: Stirred by a Hurst Pistol Grip, this one is an un-rebuilt 833 four-speed.
- Differential: Stock 8 3/4 design with a nice tight 3.91 Sure Grip
- Horsepower and Performance: With 9.5 compression, the factory said 335 off the crank; we'd guess it's probably a little more with changes that have been made.
- Suspension: Stock
- Brakes: Rebuilt
- Wheels and Rubber: Factory 15-inch Rallye wheels with yellow-letter NASCAR P275/60R15 Goodyear Eagle radials
- Body: Unchanged from original.
- Paint: This car was originally from Utah, where the sun had damaged the roof on the factory CY3 car; a local body shop was given the job of matching the factory paint, which they did by taping off the factory stripe line and reapply the pigment from there up. Otherwise, it is just as delivered.
- Interior: Stock.
Minor bolt-on changes like the induction, headers and such can be easily returned to stock
Installed at the factory, and still in service. With only 55,000 miles on the odometer, it