What Do You Think Of This Half-Psychedelic 1970 Plymouth ‘Cuda?

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Documented for Big Easy Motors on History, this muscle car is painted 25 colors on the passenger side while the driver’s side appears completely factory.

A Mopar fanatic for a few decades, Tim Wellborn was just 12 years old when he joined his father on an adventure to the local Dodge dealership in Talladega, Alabama. Tim’s father, Doug, was looking to trade in their 1967 Charger for an all-new 1970 model, but a salesperson mentioned that he may want to wait until the 1971 model year due to a redesign in the works. Here, Doug did decide that he would wait for the refreshed ’71 Charger model instead.

While at the dealership, 12-year-old Tim stumbled across a brochure for Plymouth’s Rapid Transit System that his father had picked up. The brochure read, “Anybody can offer a car. Only Plymouth offers a system.” Plymouth was showing off their highly capable muscle cars along with accessories available for the cars to up the performance game even more.

A photo of a 1970 Plymouth Barracuda from the brochure jumped out at Tim. The car featured painted stripes in 25 different colors, a wheelie bar, ‘zoomie’ headers, drag racing slicks, and a roll bar. Sometimes you don’t know what will have an impact on you until it does, and that paint-chip ‘Cuda brochure photo definitely made an impact on Tim, but he wouldn’t be aware of that until years later.

Tim and his wife Pam opened the Wellborn Muscle Car Museum in Alexander City, Alabama, about 40 years since the day at the dealership. With quite the extensive Mopar collection nowadays, Tim has collected brochures and accumulated literature for Chrysler, Plymouth, and Dodge over the years. One day, Tim was thumbing through the brochures for the museum’s archives when the original brochure to the Rapid Transit System from decades back caught his attention yet again, back to that mesmerizing ’70 Plymouth ‘Cuda that graced page 11. Again, he turned over to that familiar striped ‘Cuda. While experiencing some extreme de ja vu, Tim was wondering if this car was actually ever built by the automaker.

With the colorful ‘Cuda still fresh on his mind, Tim was on a mission to see if Plymouth had built this car at some point. As it turns out, the American automaker never built the car and nobody had even attempted to build it for themselves personally. Satisfied with that answer, Tim decided that this multicolored Plymouth ‘Cuda needed to be brought to life, and that he was going to be the one to do it.

With the plan in motion, Tim and Pam started searching for a southern rust-free ‘70 Plymouth ‘Cuda that would make the perfect candidate to exactly recreate the rendering in the Rapid Transit brochure. Also, this meant period-correct speed parts for the car, or go-fast goodies, would be installed.

In July 2016, a perfect example was discovered in a warehouse in New Orleans where it sat for two whole decades, and it still retained its original drivetrain. In remarkable condition, this would be the ideal ‘Cuda for the project. After recovering the vintage Plymouth, they headed straight to The Bomb Factory restoration shop in New Orleans where it would begin its transformation. A new automotive show airing on the History Channel called Big Easy Motors started documenting the hands-on work performed by Charles Handler and Trey Hansen on the car.

Daniel Boshears was the master mechanic behind the scenes as he was faced with the task of getting the car back up and running solid. It wasn’t long before the Mopar was brought back to life, started and running idle under its own power for the first time in two decades. The mechanic for the Wellborn museum, Daniel tests and tunes every vehicle in the collection to ensure utmost potential.

“This is one of the best handing E-Bodies I’ve ever driven,” Daniel told Tim and Pam. “It’s solid without a rattle, rolls down the highway straight as an arrow, and takes a corner with ease. The engine is strong, and the four-speed transmission goes through the gears like it’s new.” After hearing that good news, the pair paused for a moment about the paint-chip vision, but ultimately they decided to keep trucking forward with it.

Handler and Hansen were working to preserve its original sheetmetal and trim, and a process would be used to apply the 25-color paint scheme that would protect the original body of this unique ‘Cuda. Also, Tim needed the car to be able to return to its stock state fairly easily. Moving forward with utmost care and skillful craftsmanship, a white plastic wrap was applied to the body which was used as a base-coat layer for the car, much like a body sealer paint. In fact, the wrap was only added to half the old-school Plymouth making the passenger side appear like a psychedelic race car. Like a split personality, the driver’s side appears like a factory ‘Cuda muscle car.

Slathered in 25 different paint hues, these were all applied one by one using special paint by BASF and RM brand. Black tape stripes were used to cover the seam breaks where the colors meet around the body. In immaculate condition, the Ivy Green factory paint remains untouched beneath the array of colors, but glancing at the driver’s side will show you how pristine the green exterior paint is.

The extra racing parts were installed with no damage to sheetmetal, trim, or paint just in case anything needs to be removed. This half-and-half Plymouth muscle car was given a few parts added in a careful manner including the wheelie bar, four-tube header exhaust, and half roll-bar on the passenger side.

Now featuring a Shaker hood that is painted down the passenger side, the original hood was taken off and stored somewhere safe. The front grille was freshened up with some brand new paint. Powering the car is the factory, numbers-matching 383-cubic-inch V8 engine capable of 335-horsepower. A 4-speed manual transmission sends power down to the rear wheels via a Pistol-Grip shifter and twists a 8 and 3/4-inch rear end that houses 3.55 gears.

This old-school muscle car build will be documented on Big Easy Motors, and the plan is also to attend the one-and-only SEMA show in Las Vegas, if the largest aftermarket trade show in the automotive industry isn’t canceled due to the lingering pandemic. If the show goes on, we can guarantee that this ’70 ‘Cuda will stick out in the sea of insane car builds. Once SEMA is wrapped up, the car will be headed to MCACN in Chicago where The Bomb Factory’s Charles Handler and Trey Hansen will chat and sign autographs for fans.

Open the doors to a black vinyl complete with bucket seats. Gracing the exterior are different wheels for each side. The driver side features 15-inch Rallye wheels while the passenger side was given Rocket Fuel wheels (15×4) in front with Rocket Injector rear wheels (15×10) out back. When it comes to rubber, each set gets a different shoe to wear. The Rallye wheels are wrapped with G60-15 Goodyear Polyglas GT tires, and the passenger side front wheels wear 5.50-15 Pro Trac tires with the rear rocking Towel City Cheater Slick rubber.

Nothing on the car was disturbed while the go-fast parts were installed. Even the wheelie bar was added with utmost care and is easily removable if the car should go back to factory specs. The passenger rear flanks sport a “Hemi” decal while “383” can be found on the driver’s side. The installation of a half roll-bar at the Bomb Factory is definitely credited to some creative engineering. The black vinyl interior is factory besides the addition of a few gauges. Well, that sums up this old-school muscle car with a split personality.

What do you think of this paint-chip 1970 ‘Cuda?

Source: Hot Rod

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Jaime E. Love

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