When you think of the crown jewel of any muscle car collection, you may think of what qualifies it as so special. Perhaps it was in a movie at one point, maybe it was in a famous race, or maybe a celebrity was a previous owner. If it was the very first muscle car of its kind, had less than 20,000 actual miles and a special option package unique to its pre-production lifestyle, you could say it qualifies as a crown jewel to any collection. Well, the very first Plymouth Barracuda with a V8 (aka a Hemi ‘Cuda) is up for sale by the company Motorvault in Indiana, who is asking $2.2 million and rightfully so. It’s unequivocally a crown jewel of Mopar muscle royalty.
Nevermind the name of the car and that it’s associated with a fish, naming vehicles after cars was quite popular in the 60’s and 70’s Ford for example had the Mustang, Bronco, and even a Falcon at one point. What makes this Cuda (as it was referred to) so special is that it was an actual pre-production car. It was meant to travel to dealers, be taken apart by technicians then put back together to gauge how long services would take on it. Because of its “research purpose” life, it came with options not commonly found on a Hemi Cuda, like a shaker hood without hood pins. The first Hemi Plymouth Barracuda also came without a tachometer, and a stripe delete option as well, to keep it as simple as could be.
If that wasn’t enough to deem this Mopar muscle car “holy-grail” worthy, maybe the historical significance is. The Hemi Cuda was powered by its, now legendary, 426 cubic-inch “Elephant” V8 that pushed out 426 horsepower, but that’s not all. The engineering behind the powerplant was so on mark that the company left it unbothered for its 10-year life. The cylinder heads were made with a distinctive dome shape which Chrysler called “hemispherical” – which is where the “Hemi” name is derived from. Indeed, the Alpine White ‘Cuda for sale today is the one that started it all.