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Virgil Exner’s all-new styling arrived with the 1955 Plymouth’s and they included a brand new polyspherical head V8 that brought even more excitement to the new line-up. With 241 cubic inches it only generated 157 horsepower but it was a start. Later a 259 cubic inch V-8 was offered in standard and “power pac” formats. By 1957 the hot ticket was the 318/290 horsepower V-8 with dual four-barrel carburetors.
For the ’60s the big 361 cid V-8 was introduced. It was the basic platform for the 383 and 426 cid B-block or “wedge” V-8s. Richard Petty won the 1964 Daytona 500 driving a Plymouth and coupled with more attractive styling sales improved dramatically.
As the muscle-car era exploded small and mid-sized Mopars were fitted with big V-8s. The Hemi was offered as an option on Plymouth’s Belevedere II and Satellite both in racing trim and as a street edition in order to qualify it as a production option. In factory trim it qualified for A/Stock, AA/Stock drag racing and NASCAR’s shorter circuits. Richard Petty’s NASCAR version of the Hemi actually put out 550 hp and his electric blue Plymouth won the 1967 championship. Other Plymouth muscle V-8’s received hot dual four barrels or “Six-Pack” carburetor setups and the crowing
touch on some street racers was an “Air Grabber” hood.
Plymouth’s 1970 newcomer was the high-performance Superbird with was part of the Road Rummer series. With its droop-snout front end, sleek body and tall stabilizer wing the Superbird was capable of over 220 miles per hour. It accounted for 21 of Chrysler’s 38 victories on the Grand National stock-car circuit but when NA SCAR changed its rules in 1971 its dominance was over.
In 1971 Drag racers like Six & Martin and Peewee Wallace were tearing up the drag strips in Barracudas which generated interest in Plymouth’s “fish car.” Musclecar Review magazine stated “If you’re looking for the ultimate Mopar, look no further than the Hemi “Cuda.” The Hemi was, however, an $884 option that was infrequently ordered.
Standard Barracuda equipment included dual headlights and horns, and inside day/night rearview mirror, hubcaps, a left hand outside rear view mirror, gages, bucket seats and a 318 cid V-8. The ‘Cuda added chrome wheel lip moldings,chrome still moldings, a performance style hood, and color-keyed grill. Also included were a black rear deck lid panel, heavy duty suspension and brakes, a 383 cid four-barrel V-8 and ‘Cuda ornamentation.
The 1971 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda offered here is finished in Plum Crazy purple with white vinyl bucket seats. It is documented with two build sheets which verify that was ordered with the equipment that is presented here. This is an original numbers matching original drivetrain Hemi Cuda. The 45,000 miles noted on the odometer are original. The original body panels and sheet metal are in place. It has recently befitted from a professional rotisserie
restoration that was completed to the highest of standards. As noted on the build sheet it is equipped with the optional 426/425 horsepower “R” code engine that included dual Carter AFB 3084-S carburetors. It retains its original automatic transmission. Of note the Hemi was not available with a three-speed manual transmission or air. It is also equipped with the Sure-Grip 4.10:1 rear axle.
This Hemi ‘Cuda is #45 in the Chrysler Register and is offered with a folder of documentation and receipts. Of particular interest is the unopened factory Hemi ‘Cuds slot car set that is in the trunk. This is a stunning example of documented no-questions 71 Hemi ‘Cuda.