Kevin Hart Has a Hellcat-Swapped and Tuned 1970 Plymouth Barracuda and It’s What Dreams are Made of
We have dreams and aspirations; Kevin Hart has birthday gifts for himselfby Kirby Garlitos, on
Kevin Hart is now the proud owner of a 1970 Plymouth Barracuda, one of the greatest old-school muscle cars in history. But as is often the case with Hart himself, looks can be deceiving, especially if you don’t know what’s sitting underneath that hood. On the surface, this is a 1970 ‘Cuda. But once you open that sheet metal, the Barracuda’s original 275-horsepower 5.4-liter V-8 engine is nowhere to be found, replaced instead by a 6.2-liter supercharged HEMI V-8 engine that produces a whopping 720 horsepower. The resto-modded ‘Cuda is the creation of aftermarket auto builder Speedkore with some assistance from HP Tuners. Hart scooped it up for an undisclosed price to celebrate his 40th birthday. It’s about as good a birthday gift as you can buy yourself, provided you have the funds to make the splurge.
Kevin Hart’s Hellcat-Swapped 1970 Plymouth Barracuda
Flex those muscles, Kevin Hart. You’ve certainly earned it. The 40-year-old comedian celebrated his birthday last week, and like any man who knows his way around grease metal, Hart eschewed a birthday vacation in favor of buying a 1970 Plymouth Barracuda that isn’t really a 1970 Plymouth Barracuda. We’ll get to that later. The point is Hart knows his cars; he has a collection of them that’s going to make any certified auto enthusiast green with envy. He owns or has owned a Mercedes-SLS AMG, a Mercedes-AMG G 63, a Ferrari 488 GTB, an Aston Martin Vanquish, and a Land Rover Range Rover, among other prized exotics. His taste in muscle cars is also top-class with models like a 1967 Ford Mustang GT500E and a 1966 Pontiac GTO included his stable of rides.
Hart’s latest car, though, is something else. It’s technically a movie car, having appeared in Fast and Furious 8: The Fate of the Furious. It’s also been the star of the show at the SEMA Auto Show. Heck, it’s even called “Menace,” an appropriate nickname if there ever was one.
But beyond all that, Hart’s new ride is a 1970 Plymouth Barracuda that is, among other things, powered by a modern 6.2-liter supercharged Hellcat SRT HEMI V-8 engine that produces a teeth-clenching 707 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque.
It’s the same engine found under the hood of the pre-2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat. In other words, Hart’s 1970 ‘Cuda is an angrier wolf hiding under an angry wolf’s clothing.
Hart bought the car for an undisclosed price from Speedkore, the Wisconsin-based tuner that’s known for building and retro-modding raunchy muscle cars for celebrities and car enthusiasts alike. This is the same company that resto-modded a 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302 with new features including an all-new suspension and a killer quad-cam fuel-injected 5.0-litre Coyote V8 from a new S550 Mustang for Iron Man himself, Robert Downey, Jr. The 54-year-old Hollywood A-lister was so impressed with Speedkore’s work that he commissioned another muscle car build — a 1967 Chevrolet Camaro — to his on-screen frenemy, Chris Evans, who played Captain America in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That specific Camaro, which appeared in an episode of Jay Leno’s Garage, reportedly cost Downey Jr. around $275,000.
Needless to say, Speedkore has become one of the go-to muscle car resto-modders in the world, and when Kevin Hart came knocking, the tuner had the perfect pony car for his style and sensibilities.
Hart’s blue hardtop 1970 Plymouth Barracuda is the picture of pristine aftermarket tuning.
Most of the modifications are found in the interior and engine compartment of the muscle car, but a few exterior modifications also came with the overall package.
The window and drip rail moldings, for example, were completely taken out. Custom exhaust bezels can also be found on the quarter panels. The ‘Cuda also sits lower than it used to with part of the wheels tucked inside the fenders. It’s a nominal change, for sure, but it’s also in keeping with one of the signature design looks of muscle cars from 50 years ago. Some of the body panels look the same, but they’re not made from the same material. The hood, front fenders, front bumper, valance, and header panel are all made from carbon fiber.
The interior of Hart’s 1970 ‘Cuda also underwent significant changes. There’s a lot more nuance to how the cabin looks, particularly when you compare it to the interior of the OG Barracuda. The dashboard still exudes a retro vibe, even if it’s designed differently from the actual dashboard of the 1970 ‘Cuda. There are new gauges, too, that pair quite nicely to a period-correct steering wheel. The biggest change, though, can be found in the center tunnel where the original Barracuda’s physical shifter has been replaced by a far more modern rotary shift knob, which sits right next to the window controls. Curiously, Speedkore also placed the ignition just above the rotary shift knob and right next to a row of three smaller knobs.
|Engine||5.4-liter V-8 engine|
|Top Speed||204 km/h (127 mph)|
|0 to 60 mph||6.8 seconds|
Visually, Kevin Hart’s 1970 Barracuda is an aesthetic achievement.
It blends new design cues with the muscle car’s classic styling, creating a perfectly balanced look that embraces both design characteristics without drowning out the other.
But these changes only represent the undercard to what is a worthy main event. To be clear, no Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat suffered from this 1970 Barracuda retro-build. The 6.2-liter supercharged Hellcat SRT HEMI V-8 engine wasn’t lifted off a modern Challenger SRT Hellcat. Instead, Speedkore, with help from HP Tuners and Gearhead Fabrications, dropped a $15,000 6.2-liter supercharged Hellcat SRT HEMI V-8 crate engine into the Barracuda. All the cursory modifications to the modern V-8 were handled by HP Tuners while Gearhead Fabrications took charge of making the engine bay look about as clean as it can look. In fact, all of the wiring and accessories have been covered up, so all you can really is the engine block, the supercharger, and the large intake that sucks air into the car to keep the engine running as smooth as smooth can be. Obviously, for that to happen, Speedkore installed an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission, the same ‘matic transmission used by current versions of the Challenger Hellcat and Charger Hellcat. It also makes for a natural partner-in-crime with the V-8 engine, ensuring top-class reliability for its new famous owner. It’s unclear how fast Hart’s 1970 Barracuda can go, but based on the power figures — 707 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque — and the fact that all that power goes to the rear wheels, it’s reasonable to imagine that if Hart wanted to let loose, he can take his “new” Barracuda from 0 to 60 mph in around three seconds. I’m not going to bother predicting a top speed because, at this rate, it can probably reach in excess of 200 mph if Hart really wants to go berserker on the road.
So, how much do you think Kevin Hart paid to buy this 1970 Plymouth Barracuda? No exact figure has been released, and don’t expect one anytime soon. What we do know is that Hart isn’t the type to penny-pinch when it comes to buying cars. This is, after all, the same guy who bought his entire team classic cars worth a combined $500,000. He’s also the same guy who sells out stadiums and arenas wherever he goes. Money isn’t a problem for Kevin Hart, and, apparently, so is his taste for classic muscle cars.
Read our full review on the 1964-1974 Plymouth Barracuda.