Rare Find: 1971 Plymouth ‘Cuda Rescued from the Woods After 40 Years

In the world of derelict classic cars, we often think of them languishing in junkyards or forgotten barns. However, some old vehicles met a different fate, left to decay in backyards or abandoned amidst the woods. One such unfortunate gem is the 1971 Plymouth ‘Cuda, which spent over four decades hidden deep in the Appalachian Mountains of East Tennessee. Though a sorrowful sight, this ‘Cuda was not destined to remain lost forever, as it has now been rescued and given a chance for restoration.

The story behind this Mopar remains a bit of a mystery, with scant details provided by the individuals who saved it. All that’s known is that the car was involved in a wreck and subsequently abandoned. The timeline of its forsaken existence falls somewhere between the late 1970s and early 1980s, implying that it has endured anywhere from 40 to 45 years of solitude—five times longer than its active years on the road.

Four decades of exposure to the unforgiving elements could reduce any solid automobile to a rusted hulk. However, this ‘Cuda has defied the odds and weathered the passage of time with surprising resilience. While it shows signs of damage and missing components, it stands firmly intact. Remarkably, the original Bahama Yellow paint still graces most of its sheet metal—a rare sight for a vehicle that spent so long exposed to the elements.

The question of rarity looms large: just how uncommon is this ‘Cuda? Without a visible VIN or identifying tags, our host reveals that the Mopar left the factory equipped with a 340-cubic-inch (5.6-liter) V8 engine. While not as awe-inspiring as the big-block engines of that era—the 440-cubic-inch (7.2-liter) RB and the legendary 426-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) HEMI—the 340 V8 is a relatively low-production engine.

According to records, only 3,440 ‘Cudas were fitted with the 340 V8 in 1971, constituting less than 21% of that year’s total production. Of these, 2,110 came with an automatic transmission, narrowing it down further. If we exclude convertibles, the number decreases to 2,008 examples.

Further adding to the rarity is the Bahama Yellow paint. Unfortunately, production records based on color options are not available. Still, it’s known that Bahama Yellow wasn’t a popular choice back in the day. Flashier colors like In-Violet, Rallye Red, Sassy Grass Green, and Curious Yellow overshadowed it. As a result, it’s estimated that fewer than 100 340 automatic ‘Cudas were ever delivered in Bahama Yellow.

While this ‘Cuda may not command the value of a HEMI, it undoubtedly deserves restoration for its incredible survival story in the wilderness. With its unique combination of features and rare hue, this Mopar stands as a testament to its endurance and automotive legacy. Here’s hoping that the enthusiasts from YouTube’s “S and S Barn Finds” will soon breathe new life into this vintage gem, putting it back on the road for all to admire.

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