Summer is just around the corner and the collector car auction season is in full swing. Mecum’s, one of premier purveyors of vintage iron around the globe has already played host to a most successful record setting spring auction in the Hoosier state and they are making plans to go west. Seattle Washington, home of the NFL Champion Seattle Seahawks, will play host this time (June 13 and 14, 2014) as some of the most rare and valuable rolling stock imaginable rolls across the auction block.
Among the top contenders for big money bidding is a car so rare that only two were ever sold and only one remains in factory “numbers-matching” condition. It is a 1971 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda Convertible 4-speed car that has been meticulously restored to factory condition by highly regarded Mopar restoration specialist Julius Steuer of Los Angeles, California. Steuer finished the project around 2000 and the car was subsequently traded off for a handful of vintage Corvettes, to the current owner who stands to rack-up some serious dough. Back in 2002, a similar 1971 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda, that was much less rare than this car sold at auction for over $1-million. Appraisers, experts, journalists, and aficionados alike hold this car in higher regard due to the extremely limited production of the exact model.
This 1971 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda is a perfect example of Chrysler’s popular “Scat Pack” customizable consumer option package. The Scat Pack, offered on most of the high-performance Chrysler products of the late sixties and early seventies, enabled consumers to customize a brand new car using Mopar high-performance hardware. This included outlandishly powerful engine choices, like the 426 cubic-inch Hemi or the 440 cubic inch engine with three 2-barrel carbs but it didn’t stop there. You could also choose the final drive ratio of the rear differential, there were factory ported and polished cylinder heads, exhaust headers, numerous high-rise and multi-carb intake manifolds, and the list goes on and on. What would you give to be able to buy a hot rod with a factory warranty with all of the hand-picked high-output goodies that you can bolt on? Well, Chrysler announced during last month’s New York International Auto Show that they are bringing back the Scat Pack option for the 2105 Dodge Challenger (as well as the “Shaker” hood). These retro-Challengers already blow these old cars off the line with more horsepower and smoother acceleration (as much as it breaks my heart to admit it) and now you can add on horsepower that will be factory guaranteed.
The 1971 Hemi ‘Cuda that is hitting the auction block in August is a beautiful shade of blue with a black power convertible soft-top. No flashy stripes or emblems, it has the appearance of a “street-sleeper”, unassuming and somewhat mediocre. It rolls on steel wheels painted to match the body with low-profile baby-moon hubcaps and raised white letter tires. The interior is also low-key with blue high-back bucket front seating and it features analog gauges, including an 8,000 RPM tachometer and a 150-mph speedometer. The factory Hurst shifter is equipped with a pistol grip handle. In addition to the factory 426-Hemi (425-horsepower), this Mopar is outfitted with a Dana 4.10:1 rear differential, a heavy-duty 26-inch radiator, and power brakes.
This is truly the crown jewel of Chrysler muscle cars (and possibly muscle cars period). It is expected to fetch upwards of $1.5-million.