While modern-day muscle cars can easily surpass the 600-horsepower mark — the Challenger Hellcat and the Shelby GT come to mind — back in the day, anything that had more than 400 horses on tap was labeled as extraordinary. In the early 1970s, the "league of extraordinary muscle cars" included only a handful of vehicles, the most powerful of which were the Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454 (450 horsepower) and the Plymouth Hemi Cuda (425 horses). Granted, the SS 454 had the highest factory rating at that time, but the Hemi racing engine made the Cuda that much more appealing. Both cars have become sought-after collectibles, selling for impressive sums at auctions.

Original parts, unrestored bodywork and low mileage usually translate into stickers in excess of $500,000, which is exactly what the red 1970 Hemi Cuda shown here is expected to fetch at Mecum’s Indy auction between May 12th and 17th.

Mecum estimates the muscle car will change owners for $600,000 to $800,000, mostly because it has never been restored and it was driven for just 81 miles. In short, this is the lowest-mileage 1970 Hemi Cuda known to exist! It’s a superb time capsule that performs as new thanks to renowned Hemi specialist John Arruza, who refreshed it with a complete fluid change and tuneup. Naturally, the vehicle is fully documented and includes the factory broadcast sheet and a recorded verification of the numbers and codes.

Continue reading to learn more about the 1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda.

Why it matters

To Hemi and Plymouth Cuda enthusiasts, a car such as this, with only 81 miles on its odo and full documentation, is the Holy Grail. To us, the Average Joes who don’t have that much money to spare to take possession of an authentic, classic Hemi, it’s great news that some of these vehicles are still maintained in tip-top shape.

1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda

1970 - 1971 Plymouth Hemi Cuda High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Longer and wider than its predecessor, the third-generation Cuda, launched in 1970, renounced its Valiant roots and adopted an image of its own, while also changing to Chrysler’s new E-body platform. The 426 Hemi engine carried over unchanged, generating the same 425 horsepower and 490 pound-feet of torque in both 1970 and 1971.

Mated to either a four-speed manual or a three-speed TorqueFlite automatic, the 7.0-liter engine enabled the Cuda to charge from 0 to 60 mph in only 5.8 seconds, an impressive figure for the era. Top speed was rated at 117 mph, while the quarter-mile run took only 14 seconds.

Unfortunately, 1971 turned out to be the Hemi’s last year on the market, as 1972 brought reduced compression ratios in high-performance engines due to the Oil Crisis.

Read more about the third-generation Hemi Cuda in our detailed review here.

Source: Mecum

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