Plum Crazy Elephant
1970 Plymouth HemiCuda
This car was built on Dec. 20/1969. It is one of 652 1970 Hemicuda's built, 294 of them being 4 speeds; this car is one of them. One of a few things that makes this car a little different than most Hemicudas is that it is a fairly well optioned car, 2 fender tags and all. Some of the options are as follows: 426 Hemi, 4 speed, dana 60 with super trac pac (4.10's). Exterior color is in violet (purple) with a white leather interior including overhead consolette. It has power disc brakes but standard steering (a "bear" to parallel park). Optional wheels are 15 x 7 Ralleyes mounted on raised white letter Polyglas GT. Good Years. Chrome Ralleye mirrors are mounted on both doors, side window chrome belt moldings, fender mounted turn signals and wheel well trim round up the outside. Inside you'll find white leather buckets with a pistol grip sticking through the floor mounted console. As mentioned previously there is an overhead consolette which houses a seat belt lamp, door ajar lamp, and low fuel lamp. The later which comes on all too often!!
Steering wheel is a rim blow which was not a good
choice with standard steering, believe me! The
dash is home to Ralleye gauges, A.M. 8-track and three speakers. There is
a light package which includes a map light, glove box light, ignition
switch lamp with time delay and title switch with time delay. The rear
deck had a single speaker mounted on one side with a rear window defrost
filling the other hole.
An option that was not ordered on this car was the
quarter panel hockey stick stripe indicating "HEMI". In it's
place there was a vinyl body side molding with pinstripes on both sides of
it (Code V5W). An oversight on part of the ordering salesman or what? I
don't know, but it's not going back on again. The hockey stick stays;
proudly advertising what resides under that bubble they call an
I.Q.E.C.A.G. (Incredible Quivering Exposed Cold
Air Grabber). Plymouth advertised the shaker package this
way in the dealer brochures.
On to a little history about this car. The selling
dealer in 1970 was Midway Chrysler, which is still at the same location on
Portage Avenue. One of very few dealerships like this today. The original
Owner purchased it as daily transportation but soon changed this mind and
turned it into a race car. Some people might remember this car as being
the "Hampton Hemi", the name coming from the Texaco station that
sponsored it. If any one has some pictures of it from back then please let
me know. The picture below was taken in June 1970.
From 1970 to Fall of 1976, when I purchased it, the
Cuda had gone through a total of 6 different owners. It would have been 7
but instead the car was repossessed because of financial difficulties I
Amazingly when I bought the Cuda back in 1976 it was
in excellent condition. Showing 28,000 miles on it, all the race equipment
was replaced with the original date coded parts, right down to the exhaust
manifolds. Nothing on the car was cut! True, there were the odd holes
drilled but very minor stuff. The car was advertised in the Winnipeg Free
Press under "used cards". When I went to look at it I saw them
fat valve covers, I had to have that car! As an 18 year old I didn't have
a lot of money, but I took every dollar in my wallet and my buddies who
came with me and left a deposit. A couple day later that purple Cuda had
the 8th owner.
That was almost 25 years ago (yikes) and this same
Hemicuda has been in many different garages since, but all those garages
have been owned by me.
Today the car resides in a temperature and humidity
controlled garage (yeah, both me and the car are spoiled). Very little has
changed on it since 1976. It still wears all it's original sheet metal
that cam with it in 1970. The last coat of paint that was laid on it was
in 1978. The Hemi has not been off it's engine mounts also since 1978,
although it has had numerous pushrods, and lifters replaced. Bearings were
rolled in from underneath a few years back along with an oil pump to
freshen up the bottom end.
The interior is all original right down to the carpet and shows exceptionally well. The car is numbers matching throughout even though the original block is safely residing in my Dart, (mock up purposes only). One day it'll get back into it's original location but not yet. I'm not done having fun yet. Over the years of owning this car, I have changed some things on it, but in my eyes it's upgrades to the car to make it more reliable and much more fun to drive. The changes can be returned to stock at any time with no damage left behind. Upgrades include a set of hooker 2" headers (exhaust manifolds stuffed safety away under the bench), TA radials replace the Polyglas GT's, electronic ignition replace the dual point and of course a person needs to hear better tunes than an A.M. 8-track. A complete Alpine system handles that real nice. Other than those few changes, everything else remains the same. Oh yeah, forgot to mention the 4:10's were replaced with 3:54's because American freeways are meant to be driven at 70 mph, not 50 mph.
There's one more thing I'd like to mention, this car is not a garage or a trailer queen, it does get driven; with respect, but it does get driven a lot. And you know, every time I climb behind that steering wheel I get the same smile on my face I got 25 years ago when I first drove it. Well that's about it, the long or short of it. If you happen to see me in that "plum crazy elephant" strike up a conversation, ask a few questions and I'll be happy to tell you a couple of stories about it.
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