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AJ's Car of the Day '70 Plymouth Hemi 'Cuda
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Car: Plymouth Hemi 'Cuda

Year: 1970

What makes it special: For 1970, Plymouth's Barracuda model was redesigned, and lost all previous links to the Plymouth Valiant. The fastback was no longer available, and was only available as a 2-door coupe or convertible. The all-new model was built on a shorter, wider version of Chrysler's existing B-platform, called the E-Body. The E-body Barracuda was now able to shake the stigma of an economy car. High-performance models were marketed as "'Cuda" deriving from the 1969 option.

What made it famous: The E-body's engine bay was larger than that of the previous A-body, enabling the release of Chrysler's 426 cu in Hemi V8 for the regular retail market. The Hemi-equipped cars received upgraded suspension components and structural reinforcements to help transfer the power to the road. The long list of options made available for 1970 Barracudas included such goodies as a Track Pak with a 3.54:1 differential ratio, Rallye wheels, a range of exciting colors including Plum Crazy, "Pistol Grip" style floor shifters, hockey stick body side sport stripes, and hood pins. Of all the options, the R-code Street Hemi 426 was the most legendary Mopar engine, typically delivering 425 bhp.

Why I would want one: It's one of the most legendary Pony Cars of all time. As a matter of fact, it coined the "Pony Car" name two weeks prior to Ford's Mustang, which is usually credited with starting the whole pony car trend. Add the potent 426 Street Hemi V8, and that just completes the whole package.

Fun fact: Motor Trend magazine tested the 426 Hemi ’Cuda in their May 1970 issue, reaching 0-60 in 5.8 seconds and running down the 1/4 mile in 14 seconds at 102 mph. Only 652 were built when new, including 14 rare convertibles, making an original Hemi 'Cuda a rare sight.

( 1970 Plymouth Hemi 'Cuda photo from flickr.com )

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