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Friday, July 3, 2015

All American Racing Plymouth ‘Cuda is a 6-Pack of Patriotism

BOLD RIDE

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All American Racing (or AAR) was founded in 1964 by Dan Gurney and Carroll Shelby. Gurney was about halfway through his little-more-than a decade stint in Formula 1, and was just a couple years away from winning the 1967 24 Hours of Le Mans, at the wheel of a GT40 that was worked over by Shelby. (Following the race, Gurney began the now-ubiquitous tradition of spraying champagne on everyone on or near the podium)


03-AAR Cuda

The two men’s careers were intertwined, at least at this point in their lives, and made it official by creating the All American Racing team. Based out of Santa Ana, CA, the team competed in American sportscar racing, Champ Car, and even ran in Formula 1. But it was the 1970 Trans-Am season that bought us this incredibly special ‘Cuda.
 
For that season, AAR created a homologation special. To homologate a car for racing, a certain number need to be built or sold. (In Italian, its “Omoligato,” hence the name “Gran Turismo Omoligato,” or “GTO”) 2,724 road-going examples were built, and differed from both the track-day counterparts, but also other ‘Cuda’s in the showroom.


02-AAR Cuda

The AAR edition ‘Cuda’s had 340ci V8s, with 6 barrel carburetors (the track car had to be de-stroked to 304ci to meet regulations). It featured a black hood with gaping hood scoop, hashmark side stripe, ending with the “AAR” logo. It also had the “ducktail” spoiler and side exhaust ports, coming out just ahead of the rear wheels. Factory output was 290 hp and 335 lb-ft, though tuners have likely milked much more power from that 340 6-pack through the years.

Two track cars were built, and raced by Gurney, and an American driver named “Swede” Savage. (I wish I was making this up) The 1970 Trans Am season was not very successful for the ‘Cuda, and Plymouth pulled the plug after the season was over, but the road-going cars that wear this special designation fetch a pretty penny at auction. These are some truly great examples of American muscle car badass.


00-AAR Cuda

All American Racing and Gurney are both still around. Though its last major campaign was for the 1999 CART IndyCar World Series, AAR continues to be involved with racing development.

The outfit actually built the oddball DeltaWing for Highcroft Racing, who ran it at the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The man and the company have raced all over the world, but it was a one-year homologation special that gets the muscle car crowd worked up every single time.