When Plymouth redesigned the Barracuda for the 1970 model year, the pony morphed into a fully-blown muscle car with a sporty appearance and big-block V8 engines on the options list. The latter also included the mighty 426-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) HEMI V8.
Granted, the HEMI had made its way into the Barracuda in 1968, but it was only fitted in a small batch of 50 Super Stock models. In 1970, the 426 had finally become part of the regular Barracuda lineup.
The fun didn’t last long though. The oil crisis, the increasingly higher insurance rates, and new emissions and fuel economy regulations forced Chrysler to drop the HEMI at the end of the 1971 model year. The decision turned the HEMI ‘Cuda into a two-year wonder that’s also extremely rare.
How many of them were sold? Well, 666 were delivered in 1970, while only 114 left the factory in 1971. The convertible is by far the rarest with only 14 built in 1970 and just seven delivered in 1971. These cars fetch millions of dollars at public auctions when in excellent condition.
While not quite as scarce and expensive, the 1971 HEMI ‘Cuda hardtop is also difficult to find. To the point where many enthusiasts opt to source original 426 HEMI engines and drop them into more regular ‘Cudas. The Sassy Green example you see here is one of those builds that looks 100% authentic.
Yes, it might not be as cool as an all-original HEMI ‘Cuda, but just like the owner says, “the price of these cars is so out of touch that I just built one.” He goes on to add that he put it together “so I can have some fun with it and not worry about wrecking the good cars.” And by “good cars” he means the original Mopars he also owns.