The Cuda Convertible is one of the rarest, most valuable muscle cars of all time. One of them sold last year for $6.5 million at auction, so changing even a bolt is practically illegal and will get you lynched by the Mopar mobs (figuratively). And that’s why it’s the perfect car to make digital art, by mixing a 1970 Cuda rag-top with elements from a Japanese Kaido Racer and making something almost unrecognizable.
HEMI-powered Chrysler E-body convertibles were produced during a small window of time right at the end of the golden era of muscle cars, 1970-71. They’re all particularly noteworthy cars with interesting details and stories. For example, of the 14 Hemi Cuda convertibles built in 1970, three went to Canada, 9 were automatics and 4 were manuals.
In 1970, there were also about 30 Plymouth Cuda convertibles assembled at the factory with the 375 horsepower 440 big-block. In 1971, they did assemble another 11 HEMI Convertibles, though they obviously had a different front-end look.
That year, total convertible production was 374 cars, so you’re already talking about an ultra-rare car even if you don’t have a HEMI. Yet this is the kind of canvas chosen by the digital artist Sad Machines to become a “Kaido Cuda”.
Muscle cars and Japanese tuning have almost nothing in common, so many of you are going to be unfamiliar with what a Kaido racer is. “Kaido” means “street” in Japanese, so these are literally “street racers”. The style was inspired by the Super Silhouette and Touring Car race cars in 1970s Japan. Rumor has it that people made low-resolution versions of what they saw on TV at the time, but it’s pretty clear this became a unique style of tuning pretty quickly.
The major thing which the HEMI Cuda gets from Japan is the simple, boxy aero. Kaido Racers are often called Zokusha meaning gang-car, so it’s fair to also call this a Bosozoku project, even though that name mainly refers to motorcycle gangs.
Bosozoku gangs initially used motorcycles because they were far cheaper and more common in Japan at the time. The rebels based their look on the American greaser sub-culture which was hugely popular in the 1950s. I wonder what Travolta and the grease lightning crowd would have thought of this muscle car.
The “big boss” of the gang might have ridden in a modified car such as this, though it obviously wouldn’t have been Detroit-made. Sad Machines borrowed the bamboo spear exhaust system from that style and also took a few liberties with the front end.
Kaido Racers built in the 1980s had weirdly arranged headlights like you see here, as well as an externally-mounted oil cooler. These square headlights are from a TA40 Toyota Celica while the taillights are from a C210 Nissan Skyline.