CC Capsule: 1970 Plymouth ‘Cuda Convertible – Fancy Some Bubbly?

They really have broad tastes, in this city. Classic kei cars, German luxobarges, French hatchbacks, Italian racers – you can find anything on the street if you look hard enough and in the right places. There is one category I haven’t had much luck in finding up to now: classic American muscle cars. Time to address this gap with this gargantuan convertible ‘Cuda – the champagne of muscle cars?

The Coke and Pepsi of the Muscle Car era were the Mustang and the Camaro, I guess, with their respective Mercury and Pontiac sister models as Sprite and 7-Up. And in this highly dubious (and perhaps offensive) simile, the AMC Javelin would be the root beer of the bunch. So what makes the ‘Cuda not just fizzy, but also far more valuable and intoxicating than its peers?

Well, some might say that the Plymouth was in a different class because it was the only one that had the famous 426 (or 7-litre, in new money) hemi V8 churning out 425hp (gross). Not that this car has that rare engine – only 14 hemi drop-tops were made in 1970, and this is certainly not one of them. Nor does it pretend to be, to be fair.

Otherwise, the 440 (7.2 litre) could be roped in for 375-390hp, depending on the carburation. Or the 383 (6.3 litres), which could provide 275-300hp. Last and least V8 on the options list was the 318 (5.2 litres). Two flavours of slant-6 were on offer as well.

I have no idea which of these many motors is in this particular car, but if I had to guess, the 440 would probably be it, given the license plate. Remember, the number four is usually avoided in this country, just like 13 is in other places, so having a “444” number plate is pretty ballsy. But then so is driving a fifty-year-old convertible that doesn’t fit in ordinary parking spaces.

Transmission options included a 3-speed or a 4-speed manual or the 3-speed Torqueflite automatic. Our CCuda of the day has the slushbox, which makes sense – giant cars with enormous engines are enough of a handful without adding manual shifting into the mix. Can’t say the interior is all that exciting to me, especially compared to the outside. A very ‘70s trait.

I mean look at this thing! Not a bad angle on it. The single headlights and thin blade-like bumpers add to the front end’s mercifully simple yet aggressive design. Ford had the same idea with the original Mustang, but had pretty much lost the plot by 1969. Mopar’s designers showed it could still be done in the ‘70s.

The proportions in this 1970-74 generation are still fairly harmonious: the overhangs were kept in check, the car is long but not ludicrously so, the width is huge (certainly way more than would be practical for daily driving in Japan), but no worse than other performance-oriented Detroiters.

Horizontal triple-strip taillights to counter the Mustang’s famous vertical ones, eh? We’ll let that one slide, ‘Cuda. Not merely because we woulda, but because we shoulda.

So this thing has the brawn and it has the looks – that’s all you need to be muscle car royalty. Or champagne, or whatever the lousy metaphor I feebly tried to shoehorn into the start of this post actually meant. Point is, this ‘Cuda meets my wholehearted approval. Hope it meets yours.


Related posts:


Car Show Classic: 1970 Plymouth Barracuda Gran Coupe – The Broughamiest ‘cuda Around, by Tom Klockau

Cohort Sighting: 1971 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda – The Last And Most Famous Hemi, by PN