Back in 1970, SCCA Trans-Am racing was at a frenzied pitch, and the factories were involved up to their navels. Chrysler Corporation answered the Trans-Am challenge with a pair of new-for-1970 E-bodies. Dodge's version was the aptly named Challenger T/A (for Trans-Am) and Plymouth's AAR Cuda was named for Dan Gurney's All American Racers who campaigned it on the factory's behalf. Both were officially sanctioned efforts with a slew of specialized "standard" equipment to make them legal for the ponycar wars.
The T/As and AARs were powered by a special version of the 340-inch small-block featuring special "T/A"-casting cylinder heads with offset pushrod holes to expedite cylinder-head modifications. They also sported beefier main caps and a one-time-only small-block six-barrel induction system similar to the '69 to '71 440 Six-Pack offerings and were conservatively rated at 290 hp. The special equipment didn't end there. All T/As and AARs came equipped with fiberglass hoods with unique scoops and factory-installed hood pins, and their staggered tire sizes (E60-15s front, G60-15s rear) were a first for an American car. Other features included large front and rear sway bars, a quick-ratio steering box, front disc brakes, rear spoilers (front spoiler optional), and a side-exiting exhaust system. Special graphics also adorned their flanks. These cars were balanced and ran well despite only limited success in the series competing against seasoned Chevy- and Ford-sponsored teams. Sadly, the Trans-Am Mopars were only produced and raced for one year before the effort dried up.
Dave Pany of La Crescenta, California, is the owner of this fine example of Trans-Am history. He purchased his 'Cuda from a neighbor back in 1993 after the local trash-truck driver complained about all the old cars parked in a cul-de-sac three blocks away that made maneuvering his truck difficult. Dave investigated and was surprised to find this rare musclecar sitting curbside. The owner had purchased the car for his wife, and it took three years of persistent hounding by Dave to get him to sell. The low-mileage car was a nice "twenty-footer" according to Dave, who promptly stored it in his garage, gathered parts, researched his planned concours restoration, and saved his money. Three years later he launched an assault on the unsuspecting 'Cuda. Fortunately, it was a rust-free example with original paint, inspection marks, and complete documentation-a restoration shop's fantasy.
Dave performed all the bodywork, painting, and interior refurbishment in his garage. He even went so far as to sandblast and clearcoat the underside. Legendary Auto Interiors provided all the interior trim, while Dave provided the labor. The drivetrain, boasting only 52,000 original miles, was cleaned up, repainted, and returned to its rightful home-in fact, the original heads have never been off the block. The complete restoration was completed single-handedly in a mere 10 months. Dave only drives the AAR about 100 miles a year, ensuring that generations to come will be able to appreciate the legendary factory Trans-Am efforts of 1970.
If Dave can restore a rare musclecar to 100 percent numbers-matching authenticity in his garage, what's keeping you from tearing into that primered Nova behind the barn?
Dave Peny does his impersonation of Swede Savage (of Dan Gurney's All American Racers).
Even the stunning Lemon Twist paint and flat-black Organisol hood treatment were applied a
The engine and detailed suspension crossmember were lowered between the framerails to comp