1-of-2 Cuda 440 Convertibles heads to auction after decades locked away

By: Alex Affat, Unique Cars magazine

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Container Cuda front side Container Cuda front side
Container Cuda rear side Container Cuda rear side
Container Cuda side Container Cuda side
Container Cuda engine Container Cuda engine
Container Cuda interior Container Cuda interior

Locked in a container for 35 years, the car goes under the hammer in Jun

This extremely rare Plymouth Cuda Convertible represents just one of 17 V-Code 440ci 6-BBL ragtop examples built in the final year of 1971; and amazingly just one of two produced for export markets outside of the United States.

We’re not sure where it as bound for export, but somewhere along the way caused the rare V8 to remain entombed in a shipping container for 35 years. Since it’s seen the sun for the first time in decades, the driveline has been restored to running condition, and it’s going under the hammer at Mecum’s Indy auction commencing June 23.


The Cuda occupied the sports offering of the larger Barracuda range, which included the base Barracude, the Barracuda Coupe (low-spec trim with slant six-cylinder), and the comfort-oriented Gran Coupe.

The V-code 440 6-BBL engine option had its limited-debut in 1969, and quickly became one of the most notorious powerplants in the Chrysler range. 1971 was the final year of the triple-carb 7.2lt, becoming detuned the following year with a tamer camshaft and lower compression in order to comply with emissions regulations.


This 440 Cuda Convertible is backed by its original TorqueFlite transmission and factory power brakes. While it was mechanically restored, it retains all of its original Tor-Red paintwork and patina’d panels from decades of storage. The car looks virtually exactly as it was pulled out of its container; with the only deviations being rallye wheels with modern radial tyres, and the Shaker bonnet.

Inside, is a factory radio delete black interior, which also remains in largely original condition.


It’s a tremendously original car with a tremendous story, and patina to match.

No pre-auction estimate has been publically published by Mecum, but original 440 6-barrel examples are extremely thin on the ground. Coupled with this car's unique provenance, completely original sheetmetal, not to mention intact original door Vin, fender tags and broadcast sheet documentation; this car is virtually unmatched.


The car is a runner and driver as it sits; so it will be up to the new owner whether they complete the restoration. But, honestly, we hope they don’t.

We love it just the way it is.


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