40k mile 1970 Hemi Cuda was born with a 426 four-speed, and hides an even bigger surprise with a V8 engine (and price tag)

Here's something we don't stumble upon every day: a real badass Hemicoda from 1970 that's not a 426 anymore. The backstory is mostly a mystery, but the owner wants $200,000 for it, even though it's so far off the old block that it barely deserves a hemispherical peerage anymore.

The Barracuda made a stunning comeback in 1970, retaining the 426 cubic inch (7.0 L) engine after seven long years since the nameplate appeared (pun intended) on the Planet Piston. The new Plymouth debuted in the pony car category on April 1, 1970 (beating the Ford Mustang by two weeks and two days). Sadly, the stars aligned in favor of the wild stallion instead of the voracious fish, and the rest is history.

In 1966, Chrysler introduced another great premium product, the Street HEMI, and Plymouth took the lion's share. Until its retirement at the end of 1971, the famous Elephant engine was used more in Belvederes, GTXs, Road Runners and 'Cudas than in Chargers, Coronets, Challengers and other Dodges.

In the case of the Barracuda, the HEMI was a short-lived affair lasting only two years (a fate shared by the Challenger, the Cuda twin cousin that came and went away with the reinvented Plymouth). In 1970, the Barracuda debuted as its third generation but had nothing in common with its predecessors.

Photo: hemmings.com

The new e-body platform – designed specifically for the 'Cuda and Challenger – allowed the car to accommodate large blocks that would have been impossible to fit into the cramped engine compartment of the A-frame. Unfortunately, the second generation Hemi fell victim to the Clean Air Act and insurance premiums, and died two short years later.

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The legendary “Hemicoda” Medal of Distinction was awarded to the 666 Plymouth muscle cars built for the 1970 model year (and hell knows if the production number is just a coincidence or just a subtle, ironic nod to the apocalypse on wheels that Chrysler had just unleashed). The following year, production collapsed to 114 pieces, so, understandably, some of them have become very prized collectibles today. Moreover, considering that there are not many of them still around, and that original examples are quite expensive.

With prices reaching the seven-figure level for survivors, restored examples aren't cheap either. However, the car we're featuring here is a stark contrast to that model. The desirable Plymouth was born with a 426 Hemi engine, a Super Track Pack four-speed with 4.10 gears, and a Sure Grip differential.

1970 Hemi Cuda LS 426

Photo: hemmings.com

According to the sale ad, the body has only 40,000 miles (64,000 km). I hope it's a typo, but it's not: it's the mileage on the body – or what's left of it original, anyway – not the engine. We're not told what happened to the original V8 and hemispherical combustion chamber heads, but this Rally Red hardtop now boasts 472 inches of space under the hood.

The air intake is also an exact replica of the old stock parts new (but the car originally had one, a HEMI), but the crucial aspects lie underneath. The big engine (7.7 L) makes north of 600 PS (608 PS) and 600 lb-ft (814 Nm), according to the seller, which emphasizes hydraulic lifters and a 10.5:1 compression ratio.

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That's a far cry from the original output of 425 PS and 490 lb-ft (431 PS; 664 Nm), and it's up to someone With $200,000 For spoilers to determine if the mod does justice to the legendary name. Again, the owner states that the twin quad engines were rebuilt and tuned for the new balanced and blueprinted engine, which is now 5,000 miles (8,000 km) from new.

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