Motoring | Features

Plymouth 'Cuda

Nothing epitomised the Seventies better than these beautiful brutes, finished in Plum Crazy paint and stuffed with a magical (maniacal...) 426 cubic-inch Hemi V8

  • By Imran Malik, wheels
  • Published: 12:10 November 1, 2012
  • Wheels

Plymouth 'Cuda
  • Image Credit: Supplied picture
  • Plum Crazy paint was one of the most popular colours for the 'Cuda back in 1971.

If you were a bit of an extrovert and had a penchant for arriving everywhere sideways and in a cloud of smoke back in the Seventies, then you probably owned, or dreamt of, a 425bhp Plymouth ’Cuda… finished in Plum Crazy for good measure. Debuting a full two weeks before the Ford Mustang in 1964, the ’Cuda was considered the first of the muscle cars.

It went on to become an all-out street brawler that frightened the paint off all its rivals, but it had to wait until the 1970 model year before it could be taken really seriously. Based on the compact Plymouth Valiant, the lean-looking fastback featured a massive wraparound taillight and a stubby bonnet.

Engine options included V6s and V8s — the most potent of which produced 235bhp. But it was eclipsed by the ’Stang, the Chevrolet Camaro and the Pontiac Firebird in terms of styling and performance before the decade was out. Something had to be done to get it back on track. Right on cue, the legendary 426 cubic-inch (7.0-litre) Hemi arrived.

This monster of a big-block almost doubled the original car’s horsepower when the new-look Cuda hit the streets in 1970. Five V8s were available this year but it was the enormous 426 that got the blood pumping. The 425bhp motor had one mission ­— to pin the brave (make that foolish) driver to his seat with the force of a rocket at launch.

Not literally, but it sure felt that way when you buried the throttle. And I guess that’s where the term ‘loud pedal’ was derived; the ’Cuda sounded like thunder. When you shoved the pistol-grip shifter into first and dumped the clutch, the rear rubbers had no chance; countless sets of F60x15s died a wonderfully fiery death.

Plymouth had to stiffen up the ’Cuda’s leaf springs (stop laughing back there…) so they would be able to cope with the car’s immense acceleration. An extra heavy duty Dana axle helped too because with 680Nm of torque, Plymouth had to pull out all the stops when this thing got going. Keeping the hopelessly nose-heavy ’Cuda in a straight line required not just a firm grasp of opposite lock, but a degree in physics probably helped.

Related Links

The fire-breathing monster sure looked the part what with its hockey stick sport stripes, bonnet pins, scoops, rally wheels and rear spoiler but those who bought it for its performance also made sure to tick the optional 11.3in front discs options to improve the hefty car’s stopping power. But of all the options, it was the R-code street Hemi 426 that was the most important. The relentless race-bred engine was one of the most legendary ever built.

For the 1971 model year, changes were kept to a minimum. It got a more complex six-inlet grille and fender gill louvres while the convertibles, of which just 374 were produced, are amongst the rarest and most expensive muscle cars money can buy. Expect to pay up to Dh500,000 for one of these topless beauties. You may want to curb your enthusiasm for sideways action though…

Packed with the latest local and global motoring news, first drives, up-market car products, bikes and more

Wheels
Life & Style editor's choice
FROM THE NETWORK

More from friday

  • WH_141024_Lambo_Huracan_STF_Stefan065
    Unhinged Huracàn meets the UAE’s maddest road

    Al Taween. Renowned for its goat s, tiny grocery shops and one of the great est mounta in roads in the world. Ripping up the newly laid tar mac? A Lamborghini Huracán. Buckle up!

  • WH_141031_mywheels_rashed (1)
    Rashed Abdulla Bin Fahad’s double impact

    Ever since he was bitten by a Mustang Cobra, Rashed couldn’t look beyond American cars. So when it came to choosing a pick-up truck and a performance saloon, the decision was easy for him

  • WH_141031_Subarub driven (6)
    Subaru WRX STI driven

    Subaru’s iconic flagship sports saloon is back, and along with all the upgrades comes a welcome price, too

  • WH_141031_SUP_Fiat 500 (2)
    Fiat 500 Cult refreshed

    Fiat’s nifty city car star has been updated for 2015 to keep pace with its small car rivals. Does it still have the magic that makes it a style icon?

  • Jonathan Castle
    Shifting opinions

    In defence of the (gasp!) continuously variable transmission...

More from Wheels

More from aquarius

More from alpha

  • gold-leaf-bath
    Inside Downtown Design

    From chic and contemporary to modern and magnificent home wares, this year's exhibition is nothing short of extraordinary

  • Noura_Main
    Highly commended finalist: Noura Al Ramahi

    Along with our three fabulous finalists, the judges decided to include a Highly Commended category as the standard of entries to our competition was so high. This goes to Noura Al Ramahi for her stunning villa in Abu Dhabi. Well done Noura – it’s beautiful!

  • IO_141020_Home of the Year awar86
    In pictures: InsideOut Home of the Year Awards

    The InsideOut Home of the Year Awards 2014 party held at the Nawwara Bar at the JW Marriott Marquis on the 20th October went with a swing! Here’s our gallery of a really great night….

  • IO_141014_Casablanca_STF_Stefan07
    InsideOut Home Of The Year finalist: Dana Jaber

    Dana Jaber’s Al Barsha villa was considered by the judges to be bold, original and eclectic. We loved her individual approach to decorating which lends interest and unexpected touches to every room

  • Main_2
    InsideOut Home Of The Year finalist: Helena Brown

    Helena Brown’s home in Umm Suqeim was a favourite with the judges because of the many personal touches, and undeniable sense of comfort and style. Her interest in Feng Shui has helped achieve a calm relaxed ambience

More from insideout