The Plymouth Cuda is without a doubt one of the rarest and coolest muscle cars of all time. Only the 1970 and 1971 model years are red-hot, and even if you’ve got a 440 6-Pack instead of the HEMI under the hood, it’s still super-desirable.
Prices may vary, of course, but they’re all pretty crazy. A 3rd-gen HEMI Cuda is more than $200,000, and a HEMI Cuda Convertible is basically in Ferrari hypercar territory with recent examples auctioned at around $2 million. But they weren’t always this expensive.
You probably remember how Barracudas used to sell for a couple of grand many years ago. That sounds like the invention of a lifestyle, and that’s basically what we have here. Johnny, a friend of the YouTuber DezzysSpeedShop purchased a 1970 Plymouth Cuda 440 6-barrel with a 4-speed. But it’s been sitting in his garage for about 20 to 25 years, since before the 9/11 attacks.
It’s a sad state for such a rare muscle car in the famous Plum Crazy color. One of the biggest issues is that the 440 cubic-inch monster that’s supposed to reside under the hood is replaced with a cardboard box, sitting there to prop up the hood and hopefully motivated the owner into fixing his Cuda. Obviously, that hasn’t worked.
Noticeably cheaper than the 426 HEMI, the 440-6 was still one powerful engine, making 390 horsepower. The three Holley two-barrel 2300-series carburetors sitting on to of a custom intake manifold gave the “Six Pack” 15 more horsepower than four-barrel versions of the 440.
This was right at the peak of the Mopar glory era. Fans will surely remember the mid-year 1969 release of the Plymouth Road Runner with the A12 package, its sizable hood scoop, and track-oriented features. By 1970, the 440 Six Barrel became a regular offering across many performance models, including the B-body GTX, Road Runner and Superbird.
Thanks to the Chrysler E-body platform, the Cuda’s body was redesigned to look wider, lower, and angrier. It’s a purposeful muscle car and the sweet spot if you want a “Six Pack”. With 1,755 coupes made, the 1970 Cuda was the most common Mopar equipped with the 440-6 that year. Of that, only 902 were fitted with the four-speed, and who knows how many were painted Plum Crazy, arguably the best coolest color that year.
Six is better than four when it comes to barrels
The engine is relatively short-lived. While Chrysler continued offering this 7.2-liter V8 for many years, the 1971 model year was the final one for the mighty 440 Six Pack engine in the ‘Cuda. And if I’m honest, I’ve always preferred that version of the grille and headlights over the simpler 1970 model.
Just to clear up the confusion I may have caused by naming the engine, it basically had a couple of designations. 440 “Six Pack” was Dodge’s marketing thing, while Plymouth had a slightly less exciting name, 440 “Six Pack”. In the case of the Road Runner, you might see 440 “6BBL” instead, but it’s essentially the same thing. It’s like the Hellcat also being a Trackhawk and a TRX basically.
There are mechanical differences too. The 1969 models all had Edelbrock-supplied high-rise aluminum intake manifolds. But the story is the supplies couldn’t keep up with demand, so in 1970 Chrysler had to make its own iron manifold. Also, a lot of 440-6 models are seen with this N96 Shaker hood, but it was optional (only standard on the 426 HEMI).