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Franklin Mint Plymouth HEMI Cuda

Updated on July 14, 2011

Franklin Mint is known for commemorating cultural icons by preserving them as collectible memorabilias. Almost any products they make become valuable collector's items. And they have some kind of collectible for every flavor of collectors out there.

With it's place in the American muscle car culture solidly entrenched, Franklin Mint produced collectible diecast model cars of the 1970-1971 Plymouth HEMI Cuda. These cars were not built in mass quantities unlike the Mustangs and Camaros. But they were built as fast as they come.

The Plymouth Barracuda was introduced in 1964 to compete in the pony car market against the likes of the GTOs and Chevelles. Immediately, it gained a strong following. By 1967, the second generation design came out.

But it wasn't until 1970 when the E-body platform was rolled out that its true potential as a muscle car had been reached. For you see, the E-body designed had a big enough engine bay to fit the powerful 426 HEMI V-8 engine.

Franklin Mint 1971 Plymouth HEMI Cuda Convertible
Franklin Mint 1971 Plymouth HEMI Cuda Convertible

When the E-body models came out, there were 3 options available: the Barracuda (base), the sporty Cuda, and top of the line Gran Coupe. The Plymouth Hemi Cuda was the one equipped with a 426 HEMI under the hood. By that time, the HEMI had become legendary around the racing circuit for its power.

1970 Plymouth HEMI Cuda Source: Flickr, splattergraphics
1970 Plymouth HEMI Cuda Source: Flickr, splattergraphics
426 HEMI V-8 engine in a 1971 Plymouth Cuda. Source: Flickr, vail426
426 HEMI V-8 engine in a 1971 Plymouth Cuda. Source: Flickr, vail426
Green 1971 Hemi Cuda at a 2009 Barrett Jackson Auto Auction. Source: Flickr, gbrummett.
Green 1971 Hemi Cuda at a 2009 Barrett Jackson Auto Auction. Source: Flickr, gbrummett.

Speaking of power, the 426 HEMI engine gave the Plymouth Cuda 425 horsepower at 5000 rpm...officially. Some independent test claimed something closer to 500 hp. The 1971 Cuda covered the quarter-mile in 13.1 seconds.

Not to mention that the sporty Cuda was pimped out in front foglamps, racing-style hood pins, and simulated hood scoops. The 1971 versions also had four fender gills on the side which did not exist in the 1970 models. Drivers had a choice between four-speed manual transmission or TorqueFlite automatic.

The Plymouth HEMI 'Cudas are rare cars indeed. Only 652 were built in 1970 and 114 were built in 1971. And their production were limited to only those two years. Because of new emission standards, Plymouth had to downgrade the power of later models.

Plymouth stopped making the Barracuda in 1974. Plymouth stopped making cars altogether in 2001.

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    • reagu profile imageAUTHOR

      reagu 

      8 years ago from Los Angeles

      A real one of these Cudas would be so nice.

    • optimus grimlock profile image

      optimus grimlock 

      8 years ago

      I can I borrow 130,000 so I can buy a real one???

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