You've heard the story about how sometimes a Mopar guy or gal has to sell their pride and joy when their growing family needs something bigger to get around in. Here's a similar story--only this time, he was able to build another one like it years later, with his wife's full support. Way back when, Brian Korpatniski had a '73 Plymouth 'Cuda 340, one he ordered new from his local Chrysler-Plymouth dealer with the 340 and Pistol Grip shifted 833 four-speed. About a year and a half later, Brian's son was born and the 'Cuda was sold to make room for a larger family hauler.
Fast forward to 2005. Brian found out about another '73 'Cuda 340 for sale in Winnipeg. It was a project car that he recalls was "about 50 to 60 percent done" when he looked at it. Fortunately, there was no rust or crash damage--or Bondo-slathering "repairs" to it--and he soon had it in his garage back in Edmonton. Like many other E-Body projects, this one would be a take-it-all-the-way-back-to-stock rebuild. If Ma Mopar didn't install it at Hamtramck, it wasn't going on or in Brian's 'Cuda. "There were a lot of aftermarket parts that I took off, and I put it right back to original condition," he recalls. "I got it to where it was like I had a brand-new one in 1973, with the bias-ply tires (and) the whole nine yards."
That included searching for, and finding, items like correct, numbers-matching cast iron exhaust manifolds and a correct cast iron intake for the '73 340 with a correct ThermoQuad carburetor to top it. "It took me two years to find the proper intake and exhaust manifolds," says Brian. "There were a lot of people, when they changed over to high-rise aluminum intakes, they threw that original stuff out." The 'Cuda's resto took three years, but the result is the electrifying E-Body you see here. Brian had plenty of help with his 'Cuda project, including Bob Lepack at Authority Automotive LTD., and Paul Daigle, for their help and technical advice in getting the 'Cuda back to stock.
Rear: Repro raised white letter Goodyear Polyglas F70-14 bias plies are just like what ca
Interior: Also 1973- correct: the 'Cuda's cabin.
Engine: Just the way it came from Mound Road Engine, and went in at Hamtramck Assembly: T
Brian adds that the support of his wife, Edna, was most critical. "She talked me into buying the car and having a great time with it." That's a Mopar guy's ultimate "Honey do!" What's it like to drive? "With Polyglas tires on it, it wants to wander a little bit, but with radials on, it goes straight as an arrow," Brian says. "Everything is done complete--the front end, everything is done. It's a great handler."
1973 marked a resurgence of sorts for the E-Body, with 'Cuda sales up over '72 (10,626 versus 7,828), in a year that was the high-water mark for sales of all ChryCo passenger cars. And 1973 was the year when disc brakes and an electronic ignition became standard and the 225 Slant Six was dropped as the base Barracuda engine in favor of the two-barrel-equipped 318. Unfortunately, the E-Body had never delivered the 250,000-plus annual sales that Ma Mopar had hoped for, and its days were numbered.
But it was quite a looker and performer back in the day, especially with a 340 in it, and Brian's 'Cuda brings back a lot of happy Mopar memories while creating a bunch of new ones.
1973 Plymouth 'Cuda 340
Owned and restored by: Brian Korpatniski, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
- Engine: Brian wanted to bring the 340 that came in his 'Cuda back to showroom stock, so off came stuff like an aluminum intake and aftermarket four-barrel, and on went numbers-matching and year-correct factory parts like a Carter ThermoQuad four-barrel, cast iron intake, and a nowadays-rare set of factory iron exhaust manifolds
- Transmission: Restored 23-spline 833, with Hurst Pistol Grip shifter
- Rearend: Restored 8-3/4 rear end with a Sure Grip and 3.55 gears
- Suspension: Restored original '73 'Cuda: Heavy-duty torsion bars and rear leaf springs, front and rear sway bars, and tubular shocks at each corner
- Brakes: Front disc/rear drum, power assisted--just like what went on back in 1973.
- Wheels and Tires: Though Brian does have a set of radials for it, the 'Cuda wears a reproduction set of Goodyear F70/14 bias-ply Polyglas tires on a restored set of large-bolt-pattern Mopar Rallyes.
- Body: Original 1973 unibody survived the years intact, and needed some TLC by Brian to get it into showroom-new condition
- Paint: Original Lemon Twist acrylic enamel
- Interior: Brian restored the original interior, keeping the buckets, Tuff steering wheel and factory sound system.