Is the ’73 Plymouth ‘Cuda the Most MOPAR Car Ever?

Click Here to Begin Slideshow There’s an old poster with the headline, “If you want to be happy for a day, drink. If you want to be happy for a year, marry. If you want to be happy for a lifetime, ride a Mopar. For Brian Ohlmann, the occasional drink is welcome, his marriage has lasted 33 blissful years, and he swears that there is no car like a Mopar, so imagine the thrill of owning a Cuda at the height of testosterone, 18. Brian Ohlmann was fortunate enough to buy a Cuda just when Plymouth revolutionized their Barracuda design package and gave “muscle” cars a new benchmark in styling. It could be argued that the Cuda is the most beautiful of all Mopars. No hard edges, just slipstream curves that look like they were designed by a wave. “Of course, at the time, you never thought of the value these cars would have further down the road,” remarks Brian. “It had a 318 in it. That’s when I fell in love with the Cuda. A few years later I sold that car and found another 1970 Cuda. I traced the VIN number and discovered it had a 340 6-pack from the factory. Once you experience a 340, you never look back. I started to get it restored before I decided to let it go. My wife, Doris, told me she didn’t want to hear me whining about getting another Cuda for the next 25 years. Well, I purchased my present ‘73 Cuda in the fall of 2019, so it was just over 30 years later! Doris and I have been married for 33 years, so she probably heard about it more than 25 years later! When I bought it, I asked for forgiveness from her. Luckily, after a few rides in the car, she loved it and all was forgiven.” I felt a tremendous rush of power and then Brian turned on the ignition. The car emitted a sound that could cure any depression. “Man, how this car puts a smile on my face. I’ve added 1,130 miles to its original 80,866 miles.” Not surprising when you consider that the Cuda had the reputation of being a tough, fast, great-handling, and almost mythical vehicle. It is the type of car that when it passes by people tend to walk into lampposts. The appeal is obvious. The gods made this car. It oozes superlatives from every angle. It is a car to possess when there is no room for a sedan in your mind. The ‘60s and ‘70s were a time that gravitated rapid evolution in car design and were still relatively uninfluenced by safety regulations and limitations. Accompanied by surprisingly soft, comfortable seating, heavy-duty torsion bar front/leaf spring rear suspension, power front disc brakes, a performance-styled hood with real dual intake scoops, a black tail panel, and sexy wide tires for that smooth, reassuring feeling. It simply hugs the curves like a tight dress as fumes ferry through cast-iron manifolds and a glittering dual chrome exhaust. It makes me pause to reflect that such a high-performance brand has been extinct for almost 20 years. Fortunately for Brian and other Cuda owners, its value has only increased as one of the most sought after muscle car brands. Conversely, such staggering prices confine ownership of a Cuda practically out-of-reach for most. And just as demoralizing is the fact that we may never see a retro model of a Cuda manufactured (except perhaps privately or in our dreams) to compete with the retro Challengers, Chargers, Camaros and Mustangs. “It was built in Hamtramck, Michigan and over the years made its way to Carleton Place, Ontario.” The ’73 model was practically indistinguishable in looks from its predecessor with all the fine look-at-me accouterments, especially its distinctive wedge-shaped grille. “I am the third owner, so it was only expected that a few things needed to be upgraded,” confesses Brian. “It had a 360 cid V8 in it, but I transferred a 1972 340 V8 engine to make it period correct. It can generate 240-net-hp at 4,800 rpm and 295 lb-ft of torque at 3,600 rpm. In other words, it can hit 0 to 60 in seven heartbeats. Otherwise, there are a few spots on the ridge of the roof that need some TLC and the yellow paint is 25 years old.” It’s hard to believe that yellow paint exposed to the sun and the elements for a quarter of a century still holds strong. “I’m hoping to get that bodywork done in the next few years, but in the meantime, it’s a weekend driver, a tarmac warrior, a retina-thrasher,” Brian bemuses with a confident smile. “Getting out on weekends for a drive makes me forget about any hassles I may have had at work that week,” he emphasizes with a nod. “And when you stop and get chatting with people, who either like the car or used to own one, the fun just begins.” Unfortunately, every good thing comes to an end. And though sales improved in 1973 to 19,281 units as opposed to 18,450 the year before, soaring gasoline prices, insurance costs and the arrival of stringent safety and emissions regulations killed the wallet and the muscle car. Sadly, muscle became impotent, as did the Cuda in 1974. Nevertheless, Brian is exceptionally proud of his Cuda and for good reason. Cudas retain a special mystique in the muscle car world for their “last of a breed” status and their undeniable swagger that still applies today. There may not be a chequered flag in the real world; however, those who own a Cuda know the ride in life is much sweeter. Click Here to Begin Slideshow

Is the '73 Plymouth 'Cuda the Most MOPAR Car Ever?

Click Here to Begin Slideshow

There’s an old poster with the headline, “If you want to be happy for a day, drink. If you want to be happy for a year, marry. If you want to be happy for a lifetime, ride a Mopar.

For Brian Ohlmann, the occasional drink is welcome, his marriage has lasted 33 blissful years, and he swears that there is no car like a Mopar, so imagine the thrill of owning a Cuda at the height of testosterone, 18. Brian Ohlmann was fortunate enough to buy a Cuda just when Plymouth revolutionized their Barracuda design package and gave “muscle” cars a new benchmark in styling. It could be argued that the Cuda is the most beautiful of all Mopars. No hard edges, just slipstream curves that look like they were designed by a wave. “Of course, at the time, you never thought of the value these cars would have further down the road,” remarks Brian. “It had a 318 in it. That’s when I fell in love with the Cuda. A few years later I sold that car and found another 1970 Cuda. I traced the VIN number and discovered it had a 340 6-pack from the factory. Once you experience a 340, you never look back. I started to get it restored before I decided to let it go. My wife, Doris, told me she didn’t want to hear me whining about getting another Cuda for the next 25 years. Well, I purchased my present ‘73 Cuda in the fall of 2019, so it was just over 30 years later! Doris and I have been married for 33 years, so she probably heard about it more than 25 years later! When I bought it, I asked for forgiveness from her. Luckily, after a few rides in the car, she loved it and all was forgiven.”

I felt a tremendous rush of power and then Brian turned on the ignition. The car emitted a sound that could cure any depression. “Man, how this car puts a smile on my face. I’ve added 1,130 miles to its original 80,866 miles.” Not surprising when you consider that the Cuda had the reputation of being a tough, fast, great-handling, and almost mythical vehicle. It is the type of car that when it passes by people tend to walk into lampposts. The appeal is obvious. The gods made this car. It oozes superlatives from every angle. It is a car to possess when there is no room for a sedan in your mind. The ‘60s and ‘70s were a time that gravitated rapid evolution in car design and were still relatively uninfluenced by safety regulations and limitations.

Accompanied by surprisingly soft, comfortable seating, heavy-duty torsion bar front/leaf spring rear suspension, power front disc brakes, a performance-styled hood with real dual intake scoops, a black tail panel, and sexy wide tires for that smooth, reassuring feeling. It simply hugs the curves like a tight dress as fumes ferry through cast-iron manifolds and a glittering dual chrome exhaust. It makes me pause to reflect that such a high-performance brand has been extinct for almost 20 years. Fortunately for Brian and other Cuda owners, its value has only increased as one of the most sought after muscle car brands. Conversely, such staggering prices confine ownership of a Cuda practically out-of-reach for most. And just as demoralizing is the fact that we may never see a retro model of a Cuda manufactured (except perhaps privately or in our dreams) to compete with the retro Challengers, Chargers, Camaros and Mustangs.

“It was built in Hamtramck, Michigan and over the years made its way to Carleton Place, Ontario.” The ’73 model was practically indistinguishable in looks from its predecessor with all the fine look-at-me accouterments, especially its distinctive wedge-shaped grille. “I am the third owner, so it was only expected that a few things needed to be upgraded,” confesses Brian. “It had a 360 cid V8 in it, but I transferred a 1972 340 V8 engine to make it period correct. It can generate 240-net-hp at 4,800 rpm and 295 lb-ft of torque at 3,600 rpm. In other words, it can hit 0 to 60 in seven heartbeats. Otherwise, there are a few spots on the ridge of the roof that need some TLC and the yellow paint is 25 years old.” It’s hard to believe that yellow paint exposed to the sun and the elements for a quarter of a century still holds strong. “I’m hoping to get that bodywork done in the next few years, but in the meantime, it’s a weekend driver, a tarmac warrior, a retina-thrasher,” Brian bemuses with a confident smile. “Getting out on weekends for a drive makes me forget about any hassles I may have had at work that week,” he emphasizes with a nod. “And when you stop and get chatting with people, who either like the car or used to own one, the fun just begins.”

Unfortunately, every good thing comes to an end. And though sales improved in 1973 to 19,281 units as opposed to 18,450 the year before, soaring gasoline prices, insurance costs and the arrival of stringent safety and emissions regulations killed the wallet and the muscle car. Sadly, muscle became impotent, as did the Cuda in 1974. Nevertheless, Brian is exceptionally proud of his Cuda and for good reason. Cudas retain a special mystique in the muscle car world for their “last of a breed” status and their undeniable swagger that still applies today. There may not be a chequered flag in the real world; however, those who own a Cuda know the ride in life is much sweeter.

Click Here to Begin Slideshow

Is the '73 Plymouth 'Cuda the Most MOPAR Car Ever?

Is the '73 Plymouth 'Cuda the Most MOPAR Car Ever?

Is the '73 Plymouth 'Cuda the Most MOPAR Car Ever?

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About Clive Branson 41 Articles
Clive Branson is a photography graduate from Parsons School of Design in New York City and has since divided his career as an advertising creative director/copywriter and as a freelance writer/photographer. He is the author of Focus On Close-Up and Macro Photography and numerous articles for magazines and newspapers throughout North America and Britain. Clive lives and works in Ottawa, Ontario.

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