Back in 1970 when Plymouth introduced the third iteration of the Barracuda, the economy car roots of the nameplate were left far in the rearview mirror, with the new E-body being mixed with sharp lines and a mean stance, plus what many consider to be the perfect proportions. And while you could still get an affordable model with the entry 198 ci (3.4L) slant-six motor, the 1970-only AAR Cuda was anything but.
We’re feasting our eyes on the road version of the All American Racers Cuda that took Plymouth to the Trans Am racing series. Unlike its focused motorsport sibling, the street car was more about cruising than tackling the twisty bits, but it still came with plenty of features that set it apart, from the featherweight fiberglass hood sporting a functional scoop, to a rear decklid spoiler. Then there were the heavy-duty shocks and reworked rear springs, along with meaty 15-inch rear tires.
The Mopar people only built 2,724 units of the AAR Cuda and you’re gazing at a four-speed manual unit that’s as original as they get.
This particular example was bought by its current owner Bill back in 1972 and has spent about four decades in a small barn. Much to nobody’s surprise, time has taken its toll on the muscle car, but this is still in sweet shape.
YouTuber The Auto Archeologist—his offline name is Ryan Brutt—had been visiting this Plymouth since 2016 and was ecstatic to see the owner bringing the vehicle out to play back in 2019.
In fact, just last year, Bill attended his first car show, so Ryan could put together the before-and-after video below.
And while many enthusiasts would undoubtedly enjoy seeing the thing receiving a thorough restoration, the car is currently being treated as a patina queen—since we’re talking about an all-original toy (e.g., the 340 ci (5.4L) V8, with its triple dual carbs, has never left the engine compartment), there’s some rust here and there, while the seats have seen better days.
In fact, the only non-factory items on the vehicle are the wheels and tires (would you look at those fat Mickeys at the back!).
As Bill recalls in the clip, this thing had seen its fair share of street racing and other shenanigans and, even when life got in the way, he decided to keep the car. However, not that the enthusiast is in his late 60s, he decided to drive the thing around and all the little scars on the vehicle only seem to add to its character, so we might just prefer to see it in this condition rather than polished to perfection.