Unearthed: The 'Cuda Just Around The Corner


Unearthed: The 'Cuda Just Around The Corner


Sometimes you don’t have to go far to find that dream ride that will turn even the most seasoned classic car enthusiast on his ear. If you’re lucky, like barnfind maven John Fardone has been recently, you might find a rare ride within walking distance of your house, a car that you never had seen before and never knew existed.

Fish Finder

Fardone Cuda overall 1

The Barracuda seems to have had a tough life, but its future certainly looks a lot brighter than it did a few weeks ago.

“My buddy came across a ’71 Barracuda for sale on a popular web-based market site and alerted me about it. Now I’m not a big Mopar guy, but I can appreciate a cool Plymouth for sure. What muscle car guy wouldn’t? But its not the brand that I’m used to chasing around,” states Fardone.

He quickly contacted the owner and took the short ride over to where the car was located. What he found was a well-worn E-body sitting outside in the elements. It looked like it had been there for some time, as it was surrounded in vegetation and the interior was full of parts and pieces. After a closer inspection, Fardone realized the body wasn’t in all that bad of shape for a car that has spent quite a few years outside at the mercy of Mother Nature.

Fardone Cuda overall 2

The original EV2 TorRed paint has been beaten to death, but the body is in pretty good shape for a car that’s sat outside for an extended period of time.

Fardone wasn’t too surprised with what he had found as it seemed pretty basic to him at first. “It looked like a base model Barracuda, as it was a 318 car shifted with a 904 automatic. It still had some of its original TorRed paint on it and sported an orange interior under some seat covers. Some of the key pieces like the grill were there, but in poor shape.” However, there were a lot of questions brewing in his head. “I wasn’t quite sure what it was exactly, but I made a deal on it and figured I’d unravel the mystery back home.”

Intriguing History

Farone Cuda J54 Sport hood

Though it’s just a Barracuda (signified by BH on the vin), Chrysler built this car with the sport hood option (J54). Now sporting a blacked out tailpanel and emblems (possibly done by a past owner), the only things keeping this car from being a 'Cuda clone are the 1971-only fender gills.

Once home, Fardone put pictures of his new ride up on a popular E-body site. Immediately, info started pouring in and the car’s story started to unravel. Chuck Fisher, a fellow muscle car aficionado who’s always sharing his expertise, immediately chimed in after seeing the car. He noticed the low sequence serial number and figured right away it was something special. “I told him to thoroughly check out that car, it’s got more to it than meets the eye, “says Fisher. Turns out he was right: his Barracuda was one special car.

It turns out that this Barracuda is a well optioned 1971 “Announcement Meeting” promotion vehicle. It was spec’d out by Plymouth to showcase their models at private showing across 21 sales zones in the US. Records show that there were 21 near identical Barracudas built, one for each zone. The vin numbers range between 00079 and 00099 and this particular car’s vin fell between those numbers and was built sometime in mid-August 1970.

Fardone Cuda Interior

The interior on this ride really sets it apart. The original orange cloth and vinyl seats are the perfect interior to compliment the EV2 exterior and are in decent shape for their age. A non-Rallye dash sits up front. The column shifter has been disconnected and replaced with a B&M shifter on the floor and a Grant GT wheel now keeps the Barracuda pointed in the right direction. The door panels have either been changed out or ‘Cuda emblems have been added to the originals.

With this info in hand, Fardone checked out his fender tag to see the options present. The Barracuda was born with the high impact EV2 TorRed (Hemi Orange on Dodge vehicles) paint scheme out on its flanks. Some options include an added sport hood (J54), fender mounted turn signals (L31), dual racing mirrors (G36) and roof drip rail moldings (M21). This Barracuda also received tinted windows (G11) and a luggage rack (M91), which is now missing from the car.

The interior has some interesting parts as well. An AM radio with cassette (R26) once graced the cockpit and the bucket seats (C55) are covered in orange vinyl with cloth inserts (H5XV). Power came from a 318ci 2-barrel powerplant, backed by a three speed 904 automatic. Power brakes (B51), air conditioning (H51) and 3-speed wipers (J25) round out the main options.

Fardone Cuda wheels

The slot mags help the 1970s street machine look this Barracuda has.

Over the years, it looks like other things were added to make this ride look more like a ‘Cuda. It’s got ‘Cuda emblems on the door panels, which were either added or the panels were completely interchanged. Out back, the tailpanel was painted in something similar to the black textured paint used on ‘Cudas, and the appropriate emblems were added to make it look more like the sport model.

Though it seemed to live a lot of its life outside, the E-body is in restorable condition. “It needs attention, but it’s definitely restorable. I’m going to decide over the next few months what I’m going to do with it. It deserves to be brought back to all its original glory.”

Fardone Cuda overall 3


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