Hemi 'Cudas were favorites on the dragstrips, and 340 'Cudas were ideal for road-racer aficionados. the 383-equipped 'Cuda wasn't a particularly potent package because the engine weighed nearly as much as the more powerful 440s, and didn't have the high revving abilities of the small-block 340. If you were after the best street and strip car, most everyone agrees the 440+6 'Cuda was the car to buy!
The popular Pro Stock drag race team of Sox & Martin raced a fully modified '70 Hemi 'Cuda on the track and were the super-heroes of the day. For the April '70 Auto Driver Magazine, Ronnie Sox did a test of the new Barracuda and had this to say in the report:
"The 'Cuda moves! I was really lightin' them up out there with no wheel hop whatsoever. And it won't drift on you! This car looks tough, and it feels tough. I like the way it's built low to the ground. The aerodynamics are really good. At least it looks like the aerodynamics are good, and it sure felt like it out there on the test track. We'll be running the Hemi 'Cuda on the strip, but I think the 440 6BBL will be the good one for the street. I'm not sure what I'll be driving this year [on the street]. The Plymouth people gave me an Imperial to use for a while, but I like my Road Runner a lot better. I don't feel old enough for an Imperial. I'll probably go for that six-barrel 'Cuda this year, but it won't be easy to decide."
Soon after I bought the car, I found the buildsheet, which documented the equipment on the car, stuffed under the rear seat springs. Because this 'Cuda was an early-built car (assembled on October 12, 1969), the Hamtramck workers used a left-over '69 form. At first the codes were hard to decipher, but once the numbers were placed over a '70 broadcast sheet everything lined up correctly. My immediate plan was to park it in a garage and do a complete resto down the road. I started collecting replacement parts for the job (including N.O.S. V6X "Hockey Stick" sport stripes) with future plans of giving it the freshening it deserved. But, like other things in life, time passed and the project just never got going. I had faithfully kept the car out of the elements, and had amassed some of the needed OEM parts, but the task of getting the car fully restored never entered top priority. I finally felt like it was time to sell it. However, if I was to part with it, it would have to go to a person who fully appreciated the car, a person who wanted to keep the car and not simply re-sell it, and a person who would give the car the "full Monty" in terms of a proper restoration.
Enter Mopar enthusiast Jim Bodanis from Toronto-this hands-on and highly knowledgeable car guy flew to my house in San Diego. After meeting him, I knew he was the right guy. He looked the car over from top to bottom, checked all the numbers and viewed the buildsheet and the fender tags. I knew all the particulars were correct, but I was a bit surprised when he pointed to the firewall and what it had on it. Normally, firewalls on E-body Mopars are no big deal, but for some reason Jim was intrigued by this one.