Forget The DeLorean, This 1971 Hemi Cuda Is A True Time Machine
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Forget The DeLorean, This 1971 Hemi Cuda Is A True Time Machine

Sep 10, 2023

Nick Panaritis tests a ’71 Cuda that's close to his heart and relives the heyday of the Plymouth muscle car.

In 1971, Plymouth was already halfway through the production run of the third-generation Barracuda. It was this year that they temporarily amended the front fascia of this Mopar muscle car, and produced the rare models with the double circular headlights. Plymouth returned to the single headlight design after just one year, meaning that the 1971 models are relatively hard to find and are something of a collector's item.

A well-known enthusiast who owned one of these muscle car models back in the day was Nick Panaritis, of Nick's Garage YouTube channel. And he gets a serious blast from the past in his latest video.

Nick explains in this video that he and his brother had owned a 1971 Plymouth Hemi Cuda for 27 years. They had sold their 1970 Challenger and a Mustang to raise the cash for the Cuda, which was expensive back in 1974. He’d done some Montreal street racing in the car during the ‘70s, so working on this model has brought fond memories flooding back.

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The Plymouth Cuda 426 came with a 7.0-liter engine and 425 hp, which made it very popular for gearheads back in the day. It remains an alluring vehicle, and this model has come all the way from Massachusetts to Nick's shop in Canada.

Nick needed to address some minor issues with the engine in this classic Mopar from 1971. He has cleaned up some oil problems and installed a new distributor, push rods, piston rings, a new oil pump, and mechanical choke linkage to make it start easier on a cold day. With the work complete, Nick puts the car into fast idle. It sounds sensational as it warms up in the garage before he takes it to the road.

After checking that there are no leaks now that the engine is running, Nick rolls the car out of the garage. The hood is still off, but he only intends to take this car for a short test drive. He explains that this 426 has a Tremec 5-speed transmission, so the shifter will take a little getting used to.

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After taking this 1971 Plymouth Cuda for a couple of modest laps in the industrial area, Nick gets to grips with the shifter and the tuned engine. He floors the accelerator and this classic Mopar muscle car launches like it was originally intended. Nick gets transported back to his street racing days by this beautiful blue Cuda.

Ian is an Irish based writer who has worked as a features writer and editor in the magazine trade, as a published author and a screenwriter. He ran an automotive firm for over a decade and has a particular love for upgrading Japanese sports cars. He has been supercar and racing fan since childhood, but has a deep love for anything with an engine and wheels.