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1970 Plymouth 'Cuda Convertible - Oh So Clean

Check out this stock muscle car that's anything other than boring.

Photography by


Who: Chris Trisnan

Where: He's from England, where everything is jolly good.

What: It's a '70 'Cuda convertible, one of about 550 built.

Work: Grant May owns May Automotive Performance in Lake Mathews, California, where he has maintained the 'Cuda since he met Chris at the Spring Fling. Grant is from New Zealand, so he has a handle on the Mopar scene from all over the world. He's been in the States working on Mopars for 10 years.

Engine: This performance-oriented 'Cuda came equipped with the 335hp 4V 383. Unlike earlier Barracudas, the later big-block E-Body was available with power steering and power brakes. You could also order the 375hp 440, the 390hp six-barrel 440, or the 425hp 426 Hemi.

Transmission: The E-body was designed to go straight, and that meant drag racing. And nowhere was that more evident than the Slap Stick shifter connected to the TorqueFlite 727 transmission. It allowed the one-two shift to be made with a quick push on the shifter. Because Chris has a tendency to take long trips on the freeway, Grant installed a Gear Vendors overdrive unit. The only major modification needed to get the unit in the car was shortening the driveshaft. Grant used the stock crossmember and hid a switch under the dash so Chris could flip from manual to automatic mode.

Wheels/Tires: The Magnum road wheels were standard on the 'Cuda, or you could order the optional 15x7 Rallye road wheels like the ones on Chris' car with raised-letter F60-15 Goodyear Polyglas tires. The BFG tires currently on the car are P245/60R15s. Lately the popularity of the musclecar movement has caused these, the BFG P235/60R15, and the P255/60R15 to become scarce. So you'd better order now.

Body: Checking the 'Cuda box at the dealership won you the performance hood with nonfunctional hoodscoops (unless you got the Hemi; then it was a shaker), hoodpins, a blackout rear valance panel with the 'Cuda script, and a hockey stripe that read the engine displacement (unless you ordered the Hemi, in which case it was spelled out). This 'Cuda was ordered with FE5 Rallye Red, a color that went away the following year.

Interior: The dash was a mess, so Grant May took it out of the car, added new looms, and fixed the heater and A/C hardware. The gauges were farmed out to Performance Car Graphics in Florida to get the cluster painted and to make sure they were clean and operational. Grant used Legendary Auto Interiors for the seats because the company offers the stock patterns and colors, which are made in the USA. It's hard to get rear interior panels in white for a convertible, so Grant opted to refinish them by sanding them down, texturing them, and painting them with SEM vinyl finish. Since it's a driver, not a weekend car, he put it together for the road.

Trivia: Some of the coolest color names came from the Chrysler musclecar era. In 1970 you could order paint with names like In Violet, Vitamin C, Tor-Red, and Lemon Twist. Sassy Grass Green and Curious Yellow became available in 1971. CHEERIO

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