Although Plymouth beat Ford to the pony car market with its Valiant-based Barracuda in 1964, sales were consistently poor compared to the Ford Mustang and the later Chevrolet Camaro. For 1970, Plymouth and Dodge introduced the all-new Barracuda and Challenger, with a dramatic interpretation of the long hood, short tail styling theme. Their styling was an immediate hit and performance enthusiasts quickly noticed that the new E-bodies could easily accommodate the entire Chrysler engine range from the lowly Slant Six, all the way up to the Street Hemi.
Plymouth also set their sights on racing success, joining the popular Trans-Am racing circuit in 1970 with a ‘Cuda campaigned by Dan Gurney under his All American Racers banner, which was usually driven by rising star Swede Savage. The street version, known as the AAR ‘Cuda, was built to homologate the car under SCCA rules, incorporating many of the appearance, handling and performance features that made Gurney’s cars so competitive on the track. As a result, buyers responded enthusiastically, snapping up 2,724 examples during 1970, the year that also represents the peak of the Trans-Am series.
The ‘Cuda AAR package consisted of a six-barrel, 340 cubic inch small block V8 that was vastly underrated at 290 horsepower, with either a four-speed or an optional TorqueFlite transmission, front disc brakes, 15 X 7-inch steel wheels, high-rate springs, heavy-duty shock absorbers and anti-sway bars. External identification included a flat black fiberglass hood with a functional hood scoop, a blacked-out grille, a flat black rear deck spoiler and full-length strobe stripes ending with the unique AAR logo.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in August 2009 at the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, California.
290 hp, 340 cu. in. V8 engine, A833 four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with torsion bars and an anti-roll bar, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs and an anti-roll bar, and front disc, rear drum hydraulic brakes. Wheelbase: 108".