Welcome to what could be the most important Mopar video of the year. Ryan Brutt of Auto Archeology has uncovered a unique muscle car that most people haven’t even heard of. It’s the 1970 Plymouth Cuda by Rapid Transit System, known simply as the RTS Cuda.
Not only has this car been hiding in a garage since 1976, but it’s also in fully original condition, a time capsule that provides a glimpse into how things used to be back in the 1970s muscle car scene.
Its owner parked it back in 1976 because he thought the custom Cuda was getting too much attention. Whether he was concerned it might be stolen or he simply didn’t like photos being taken, we’ll never know. What we can say is 47 years in the storage facility means it hasn’t rusted or crashed like so many other Plymouth cars from that era.
This is not to say that it’s in perfect condition. The paint does show signs of wearing out in several places, and that’s a problem considering everything is custom-made. You certainly don’t see anything like this being done nowadays. Sure, modifying a Cuda in such a way is frowned upon now, but you have to remember times were different when this was put together.
Hot Wheels / Funny Car Vibes
“Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon & Garfunkel is playing on the radio, you’ve got your hair all grown out, and your bell-bottom jeans on. You see this thing at your local dealer and suddenly you have the need to buy a 440 V8. In fact, this is precisely what the car was for, marketing and selling parts.
The Rapid Transit System was a genius marketing campaign that applied all the latest customizing trends from the hot rodding culture onto a brand-new Chrysler product. We’re talking paint with big metal flakes, silly exhaust, and tires like a funny car. Plymouth put together this traveling caravan and commissioned three types of custom car, a Duster, this Cuda, and the Road Runner. All of them were loaded onto a 44-foot-long big rig that was just as flamboyant.
From what we gather, the RTS Cuda had been used on both the 1970 and the 1971 caravan, but it had two different paint jobs. First, it was green, and then this burnt orange/red combo. Both were created by customizer Chuck Miller at his shop Styline Customs and were based on concept art by Harry Bradley, whose work inspired the creation of the original Hot Wheels toy line in 1967.
Both versions of the car featured this unique look, created through a combination of chin spoilers, side-exit pipes, and massive Cragar wheels. Of course, the beak is the RTS Cuda’s most distinctive feature. This car was basically an ambassador to the Mopar brand, and it’s amazing to think people haven’t been able to see it for the past 47 years.
According to DuPont, the custom 1970 Plymouth Cuda has got 967 miles on the clock. Serial number 100005 is pretty special when it comes to what’s under the hood too: the 440-6, which is only second to the Hemi in the Mopar hierarchy. From hat we gather, it will go on sale during the Indy 2023 auction, and we suspect the collector who has the other RTS cars will do everything he can to get his hands on it.
Update: The 1970 Plymouth Cuda 440 Rapid Transit Show Car sold by Mecum Auctions at Indy 2023 for $2 million, which is no surprising considering it’s one of just four ever made and was designed by Hot Wheels’ Harry Bradley.