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Thursday, August 6, 2015

This 1970 Hemi Cuda Convertible Could Be Worth $3 Million

BOLD RIDE

 
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There are a number of rare muscle cars in the world…and then, in its own league, there’s the Plymouth Hemi Cuda convertible. These Plymouths are all things powerful, fast, and stylish, and today—given the incredibly low production numbers for convertible models—they’re also incredibly valuable. 
 
A “holy grail” 1971 Hemi Cuda convertible sold at auction last year for $3.5 million, and this drop-top example, one of just 14 built in 1970, may be able to repeat that staggering feat. It will cross the auction block next week at Mecum Auctions’ 2015 Monterey sale, and is expected to gavel for between $2.5 and $3 million.

While that may seem like a huge chunk of money for an “Elephant engine” Hemi Cuda, this one has a particularly unique story to tell.

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The Plymouth Barracuda experienced a whirlwind transformation between 1969 and 1970. Gone were its Valiant-based A-body underpinnings, exchanged for the new E-body platform. Young Chrysler designer John Herlitz was tasked with the duty of styling the larger 1970 Plymouth, and it’s safe to say he knocked it out of the park. Fans adored the shape, and for his efforts, Chrysler gave Herlitz this very 1970 Hemi Cuda convertible, an “executive demonstrator” model.


In addition to being one of only 14 built that year, this Hemi Cuda convertible is also one of only nine to equip the A727 Torqueflite 3-speed automatic transmission. Herlitz’s model comes as near to fully-optioned-up as you could go too, packing chrome mirrors, the Rallye wheels and instrument cluster, chrome luggage rack, and a Sure Grip differential, among other vintage goodies.


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Over the years, the Cuda has passed from collection to top-dollar collection, and was refreshed to its current stunning appearance during a 2002 restoration. There may be examples that have gone unrestored or boast lower mileage, but only one was given to the designer who crafted them.

Photo Credit: Dan Duckworth, Mecum Auctions