1970 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda
The 1970 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda did not just drop out of thin air in the middle of the Muscle Car era. Chrysler engineers had been dominating the youth oriented performance car market since the 1950’s. A 1954 streamlined fabrication called the Shadoff Special screamed over the flying mile at Bonneville for a record 248.26 mph with a destroked Chrysler Hemi 301 ci motor rated at 325 horsepower. In the mid-1950’s Carl Kiekaefer’s Chrysler 300’s introduced NASCAR to Hemi power as they dominated the competition. In the 1960’s Max Wedge 426 engines gave Dodge and Plymouth the edge in NHRA drag racing. And then came the 426 ci Street Hemi, the elephant in the room with monster horsepower. Chrysler engineers had been planning the 1970 E-body Plymouth ‘Cudas and Dodge Challengers since way back in 1967.
The 1970 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda just changed everything when it turned up the volume in weekend drag races that year. The 1970 E-body ‘Cuda was totally different from its forebearer, the A-body Barracuda, a variant of the Valiant. No longer was the ‘Cuda based on an economy car model. The E-body ‘Cuda was a swashbuckling muscle car, shorter but with a large engine compartment that would accomodate the 7.0L 426 Hemi engine. The look and stance of the 1970 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda remain an iconic symbol of the whole muscle car era.
The 1970 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda you see pictured here is a fresh listing in the Cars-On-Line.com Mopar Section. The private seller from Northford, Connecticut says it is an “all numbers matching” example with a 4-speed and the desirable Super Track Pack option. (Follow this link to see the seller’s ad and contact information.) It comes with a special visual inspection report by Galen Govier, the Mopar historian. Also included with the sale is a written report for the Galen Govier Registry. Documentation for the “born with” drivetrain includes: original broadcast sheet, original VIN plate on dashboard, original fender tag, original door VIN sticker, cowl data plate, and the VIN on the radiator support. The seller notes that the original Dana 60 rear end, original spare tire, inflator can, and jack all come with the car. He verifies that it has all original sheet metal.
The Hemi cars were set up from the factory with upgraded suspension components and structural reinforcements to get all that power to the pavement. Hemi cars would also have a special Hemi 4-speed to hook up to the Dana 60 rear end. With the Track Pack option you were all ready for racing right off the showroom floor. How one of these cars made it to today in this kind of condition is amazing.
There were only 652 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cudas built in 1970, the first year for the E-body. Fourteen of that number were convertibles. The 426 Hemi engine was an R code with dual quad carburetors rated at 425 horsepower.
In all, 16,710 ‘Cuda hardtops were produced in 1970. There were fourteen different drivetrain combinations available. All ‘Cudas were V8’s. There were only 368 Hemi ‘Cuda hardtops with the special Hemi Torqueflite automatic transmissions; 284 Hemi ‘Cuda hardtops were Hemi 4-speeds. They say the Hemi automatic Torqueflites were a little faster at the track.
There were 548 convertible ‘Cudas produced. Hemi ‘Cudas were available with both 4-speed manual and automatic transmissions. Of the 14 convertibles built, nine were automatics and five were 4-speeds. But the convertible 4-speeds are the most rare.
In the May 1970 issue of Motor Trend magazine they reported on the new 426 Hemi ‘Cuda. They recorded a Hemi ‘Cuda doing 0 to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds during their test. Their quarter-mile time was 14 seconds at 102 mph.
Hemi ‘Cudas like this one which were equipped with the Track Pak option had the 3.54:1 ratio differential. Track Paks in 1970 were 4-speed packages. The Code A33 Track Pak was a 4-speed Heavy-Duty manual tranmission with Hurst shifter with wood grained shift knob and reverse warning light. It was the Heavy-Duty 3.54 gear with the 9 3/4″ Dana rear end. It had a 7-blade Torque Drive fan and dual breaker distributor. The radiator was a 26″ performance version with fan shroud. It had the Sure-Grip differential. (There was also a Code A34 Super Track Pak which had the 4.10 Heavy-Duty 9 3/4″ Dana rear axle. That package came with power disc brakes.)