Classic-car pricing bubbles are a curious thing, and watching them grow and grow is part of the appeal of auction coverage. The modern “tulip mania” effect on moneyed collectors can be quite a thing to see in action, and ever since a classic Ferrari broke the $1 million mark in the 1980s, values have continued to climb, whether we’re talking about the rusted corpse of a 1948-1965 Porsche 356 for the price of a 2015 Lexus RC 350 or a million-dollar muscle car.

Quite a few American muscle cars have broken the multimillion-dollar mark several times over in recent years, though values dropped significantly when the economy tanked in 2008 or so. The question for speculators is this: do wild auction prices translate to higher overall values, and will things return to madness levels anytime soon? That’s a question that RK Motors is banking on, because there’s a 1971 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda sitting on its Charlotte, North Carolina showroom floor with a cool $1,999,990 written on the price tag.

That’s not a typo: 10 dollars shy of $2 million. That would have bought over 600 1971 Plymouth Barracudas at the original price. That would buy any of a number of massively fancy houses, or 34 2015 Dodge Challenger Hellcats. That might even buy you a couple of Congressmen. So what’s the story here? Is this particular Cuda made of plutonium? Can it travel through time provided you can generate 1.21 gigawatts of power? Does it grant wishes?

Continue reading for the full story.

Why it matters

It’s a question of auction results, primarily. RK Motors is banking on a big jump in value, thanks to some recent high-profile sales of similar ‘Cudas hinting that the muscle-car market may be strengthening again. Right now, the average value of a mint-condition ’71 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda coupe stands at $376,765, according to Hagerty.com.

The ‘Cuda has been on the showroom floor at RK Motors since 2013, which suggests that the pricing may be a little bit ambitious.

In the past couple of years, though, a 1971 Hemi ‘Cuda convertible hit $3.5 million in 2014, and a 1970 Hemi ‘Cuda convertible went under the hammer for $2.25 million. That’s some pretty serious change. Is Plymouth the next Porsche? Not necessarily. The cars in question were exceedingly rare vehicles. The 1970 convertible was not only one of 14 built, it was also originally leased to John Herlitz, one of the car’s designers. The $3.5 million car is thought to be the only four-speed 1971 Hemi ‘Cuda convertible in existence.

The RK Motors’ car has a history as well. The Hemi ‘Cuda coupe was bought new by Zach Reynolds, heir to the Reynolds tobacco fortune and a noted Mopar collector. It’s equipped with just about every single factory option, and it’s only got 2,010 miles on it. The car still has some of its original fluids and its original tires. RK Motors calls it a “reference-grade” classic, due to the presence of so many factory tags and decals; this car could be used to help restore other ‘Cudas. Sadly, this means it couldn’t be driven without dramatically decreasing its value, which limits its appeal to some collectors.

So is it worth $2 million? That’s up to the market to decide. The ‘Cuda has been on the showroom floor at RK Motors since 2013, which suggests that the pricing may be a little bit ambitious. The current popularity of patina-ed, unrestored “barn finds” may be putting a bit of a ding in collectors’ willingness to pay top dollar for a car that’s been pampered its entire life, as well. The RK Motors ‘Cuda has a thorough and interesting history, but it just hasn’t been neglected enough to get that additional dash of romance.

Which isn’t to suggest that RK Motors should park the thing out in the rain for a couple of years, of course. This rare ‘Cuda’s got dream-car status. Time will tell how much that dream is worth to someone.

1970-1971 Plymouth Hemi Cuda

1970 - 1971 Plymouth Hemi Cuda High Resolution Exterior
- image 569408

You can read more about the Hemi Cuda here.

Source: eBay

What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: