Back in 2008, Car and Driver did an overview of the fastest cars they had tested across several decades. It's probably not a big surprise that there were two Mopars on the list for the 1970s category. What may surprise you is that both of them were 340-powered. If you overlooked these little brutes in the past, it's time to hop behind the wheel of a car like this '70 AAR 'Cuda and become a believer. One of only 1,614 automatic AARs ever produced, this numbers-matching Vitamin C Orange coupe is backed by an original broadcast sheet, window sticker and vintage swagger that simply can't be recreated. If the Trans Am look gets your motor going, don't wait around on this one. Restored and ready for the side roads, this E-body is likely to follow the path of its other AAR-striped siblings and head out of the showroom in a hurry.
Here are the options, as provided by the original window sticker:
A53: Trans Am package
D34: Torqueflite transmission
D56: Axle-ratio €“ 3.55
EK2: High Impact paint colors
G11: Tinted glass €“ all windows
R11: Solid-state AM radio
S74: Fast ratio power steering
V6H: Tape stripe
Y16: Sales bank
U01: G60x15 / E60x15 tires
After rolling off the Hamtramck assembly line, this AAR headed south to Dixie Motors of Altavista, VA where Obie Cook took delivery in April of 1970. The car's paperwork indicates Obie held onto the car until at least 1983 but the details get a little hazy from there. What we can say is that the car has undergone a full restoration that freshened up the big ticket items while letting many of the smaller pieces keep their hard-earned patina. The most obvious update is the coat of EK2 Vitamin C Orange covering the car's even panels. The paintwork presents well overall and, combined with the matte black hood and AAR striping package, creates one of the most iconic looks of the muscle car era. Backed up by above average panel fitment, the car makes a solid first impression.
The AAR's track-bred look is backed up by a long list of supporting details. Up front, a satin black stainless trimmed 'Cuda grille holds clear headlights and parking lights above a nicely aged front bumper. Below, two clear driving lights are centered between AAR 'eyebrow' spoilers which give the body a wider, more aggressive appearance. Behind the grille, an AAR exclusive fiberglass hood is correctly secured by two hood pins. At the back of that hood, clean glass is bordered by respectfully preserved stainless trim and body-matched sport mirrors. At the sides of the car, flush satin finish door handles and cool gold Chrysler Pentastar emblems combine with correct stainless side exit exhaust tips to provide an authentic race ready appearance. Behind those stripes, a satin black 'ducktail' spoiler sits above a traditional satin black 'Cuda rear valence which hangs the tail lights and a cool silver "'Cuda" emblem above a second show worthy chrome bumper with guards. Unlike most dressed and decaled cars which tend to throw good taste out the window, this AAR 'Cuda seamlessly balances a cool personality with flashy good looks to create a timeless muscle car with instant appeal.
Pull the pins on the flat black fiberglass hood and you'll find the original 340 cubic inch Mopar block, authenticated by a 357713OTA casting number, November 24, 1969 date code and a matching partial VIN stamped just above the oil pan on the passenger side. Although SCCA Trans Am race cars were limited to 302 cubic inches, Plymouth stuck to the tried and true "no replacement for displacement" rule for street applications. This beefed up 340 utilizes three Holley two-barrel carburetors bolted to an Edelbrock dual plane intake. At either side, unique high-flow heads hide beneath painted valve covers. The cars Vitamin C Orange paint nearly matches the 340's fresh coat of Hemi Orange and the massive correctly-decaled Six Pack air cleaner looks great peeking through the cars functional black hood. As with most restored Mopars these days, all the little details have been correctly duplicated or restored; correct hoses and clamps run to and from a correct 26 inch radiator, there's a correct reproduction Mopar battery, and even the plug wires are authentic looking Chrysler Electronic Suppression units. Turn the key and the 340 roars to life, creating a healthy racket through an OEM-style side-exiting exhaust system updated with free-flowing Dynomax mufflers.
The high-winding small block churns power through the original A727 TorqueFlite three-speed automatic authenticated by its matching partial VIN. While you might think an automatic is counter-intuitive for a car like this, remember that the AAR street cars were still built to appeal to a wide variety of buyers. Plus, with factory equipped power steering and the stalwart A727s crisp shifts you'll easily get used to just stomping, steering and enjoying this Cuda's impressive cornering abilities. Included with the Trans-Am package is a few minor suspension modifications to help the car hook up quicker and perform better. An 8.75 inch Sure Grip rear axle with 3.55 gears is held up by specially tuned shocks and re-cambered rear springs which also lift the rear of the car roughly two inches to accommodate the unique side-exit exhaust system. Braking is handled by a factory equipped power front discs and heavy duty 11-inch rear drums, while the car grips the pavement through a set of 15-inch Rallye wheels featuring wrapped in fresh BF Goodrich Radial T/A rubber.
Inside, the car's mostly original black vinyl interior is simple and functional. The original driver and passenger high-back buckets look good and feel comfortably broken in like a favorite recliner. Below the seats, new black carpet is protected by heavy duty rubber 'Cuda mats, and, above the seats, a new headliner stretches from door to door and window to window. At either side, molded panels proudly hold the 'Cuda name amid subtle stainless trim while, in front of the driver the stock dash offers simple factory instrumentation that tracks speed, fuel, temperature and alternator output. The column offers control of the front wheels through a woodgrain three-spoke steering wheel while a column shifter tells the A727 what range to operate within. To the right, an original AM radio remains in place for some period-correct entertainment. Take a look under the decklid and you'll find a nicely finished trunk with a new mat and a correct collapsible spare tire that's complete with an inflator bottle and a full jack assembly.
This E-body comes with an impressive amount of paperwork to back up its story. From factory literature to a warranty brochure signed by Obie Cook, a lot of dealership paperwork remains intact. There is also a well-preserved window sticker, an original broadcast sheet, a copy of the broadcast sheet and smaller items like the original jack instructions and J.P. Stevens & Co. carpet tag. Finally, an itemized receipt for engine work brings you into the car's more recent history.
This isn't your standard restoration in the sense that it doesn't present as a flawless car that's far too nice to ever consider driving. Instead, it shows as an honest numbers-matching Mopar that actually participated in the muscle car era. Simple, iconic and fast, even by Car and Driver standards - If that sounds like your kind of car, hurry up and make some space in the garage. Nothing with AAR stripes sticks around the showroom for long.
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While the Seal of Approval covers the basics, many customers want to take their cars to the next level. So, we created the RKM Performance Center Test & Tune and the RKM Performance Center Certification. From general functionality to comprehensive tuning and testing, these service packages let our customers tailor their buying experience.
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