- A​ll images courtesy of Mecum Auctions

T​hat 1971 'Cuda Headed to Mecum? Here's the Real Story.

W​hen it comes to stories over the Internet, it pays to keep it real.

W​hen Mecum holds its Indianapolis auction over July 10-18, there will be three 1971 Plymouth 'Cuda convertibles with the 440 6bbl. engine. One is a "FE5" Rallye Red example that was part of the Steve Juliano Collection. Another is a "GY3" Curious Yellow example that's purported to be the only one painted in this particular color. But the one that seems to be all over the Internet is a "barn find" painted in "EV2" Tor Red.

T​he problem with many of the online articles you may have on this particular 'Cuda is that information is taken directly from Mecum's description of the vehicle. Add some embellishments and you have the makings of a stereotypical online article. Here's the true inside skinny on this 'Cuda:

I​t's not a barn find...

O​ne article I've read states the 'Cuda is a "bonafide barn find," yet in the same story it states the 'Cuda was stored in a storage container for 35 years. Well, which is it? Mecum makes no claim of it being a barn find, so it ends up just being a cliche meant to falsely dazzle you and your friends. Guys like Ryan Brutt put in lots of effort to bring you true barn finds in the pages of Hot Rod magazine, so it's somewhat disappointing to read syndicated articles that give a false narrative.

$​700,000? For a car that needs a restoration?

M​ecum has "pre-auction estimages" of $500-700,000. Will it reach that range? No one knows till the auction happens. Is there a psychological aspect in estimating a top bid? You betcha! Yet, in the end, it means nothing. (For contrast, the Curious Yellow car is estimated to hit $1,100-1,300,000.)

O​nly 17 were built...

T​here's a strange quirk with Mopar production numbers. For example, 374 'Cuda convertibles were built in 1971; of those, 292 were built for the U.S. market. Have you ever seen that 292 number in a book without any indication it wasn't total production? It exists, and it does a disservice to those seeking out accurate information.

Likewise, any Mopar production information you can find online is generally for the U.S. market only, so the 17 V-code (known as such because of the engine code in the VIN) convertibles built only represent U.S.-spec cars and not total production. As it stands, none are known from Canada and two are known to be export cars--this is one of them. That brings the possible total to at least 19 convertibles with the 440 6bbl., That also means this example is not among the 17. Does it make the 'Cuda "extra rare and desirable"? The best way to answer this is to answer the question, "Would you pay more for this car because it's was ordered for export?" (My answer is "nope!")

It is a survivor...

Sure, the word "survivor" seems to be thrown around left and right. Hucksterism at its finest? Misidentification of what a survivor really is? In this car's case, the suggestion is the latter, as even Mecum (and, hence, the seller) doesn't call it a survivor.

The story on bumpers...

W​hy are "chrome bumpers" being touted in the auction description? Because Plymouth offered optional "Elastomeric" rubber bumpers too. Admittedly it's somewhat strange to see the the default bumpers mentioned but, when online articles tout "desirable features like chrome bumpers," it comes off as silly.

A​ hood scoop has been added, so they say...

An optional fresh-air "Shaker" hood was available for the 'Cuda, and has been added to this particular 'Cuda. But the standard hood also had scoops--it was twin-scoop affair that's sometimes nicknamed the "raisin bran" hood ("two scoops!"). Does it really make sense to say a hood scoop has been added when 'Cudas came with hood scoops standard?

T​he world of muscle cars is a difficult one to navigate online. It's always good to read with an eye for skepticism--not because people lie (though they do), but because they don't know.

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