HomeCar CultureThe Purple Fish: 1971 ‘Cuda 340

The Purple Fish: 1971 ‘Cuda 340

Cooler heads prevailed


What’s the most popular car from the 1960-70s? Mustang is an easy answer, but let’s sweep collectability into the equation for a moment. Does your answer change? For some like Muscle Car Campy, it does, as the 1971 Plymouth Barracuda is the kingfish of them all. Considering the 1971 Hemi’Cuda convertible is the most desirable muscle car in the collector car world, it stands to reason.

In case you need a reminder, there were three Barracuda models in 1971: the Barracuda, the luxurious Gran Coupe, and the performance-oriented ‘Cuda. The featured ‘Cuda is powered by the optional 340 engine — yes, the small-block was an upgrade from the standard 383. The ‘Cuda featured is powered by a 340 paired with the TorqueFlite automatic. Other options include console, Rallye gauges, vinyl top, “Billboard” decals, rear spoiler, hood pins, and air conditioning, all verified by the broadcast sheet and two fender tags. Did I mention it’s painted in the quintessential color for these cars?

In the below video, Muscle Car Campy gives us a ride in Russ Lee’s In Violet ‘Cuda 340 and tells us the story how the 1970 Barracuda almost ended up being more like a 1965 Mustang.

For more muscle car and classic car vids, follow Muscle Car Campy!

Diego Rosenberg
Diego Rosenberg
Lead Writer Diego Rosenberg is a native of Wilmington, Delaware and Princeton, New Jersey, giving him plenty of exposure to the charms of Carlisle and Englishtown. Though his first love is Citroen, he fell for muscle cars after being seduced by 1950s finned flyers—in fact, he’s written two books on American muscle. But please don’t think there is a strong American bias because foreign weirdness is never far from his heart. With a penchant for underground music from the 1960-70s, Diego and his family reside in metropolitan Phoenix.


  1. I had one of those for 11 n a half years. From the time I was 16 til about 1997 or so . It was purple when I got it. I had it painted black. Had a machine shop rebuild the motor. It got headers a mild cam alu. Intake and a Holley. It ran strong. I never did dent it but it was close a few times. I used to do donuts on the cedar crk bridge. Ya I should have never parted with it. I miss it dearly.

  2. The Twister was an A body Duster with a graphics package. The Duster was Plymouths “sister car” to the A body Dodge Dart. The ‘Cuda is an E body car.

  3. These cars are phenomenal, a true testament to the thought, style and engineering put into muscle cars of this era. They never cease to get gearheads drooling all over the place, and many influential people sink many hundreds of thousands of dollars into these classics, boggling the minds of us common folk. On my side of the fence, the commoners hope to win a lottery or receive a windfall of another sort and simply dream of owning such a fantastic automobile, but that’s usually as far as it goes, because those occurrences are rare in this life. I just saw a similar post regarding a ’71 Hemi Cuda heading to the Mecum auction in Kissimmee, and received a post today that it sold for 360 grand. That’s the stuff dreams are made of, boys and girls, because these cars have become rolling gold, and will probably never depreciate in value, barring a catastrophe that renders them unfixable. That’s probably why a large number of them simply don’t get driven and remain ‘trailer queens’, and retain their low mileage as well as their value. From my perspective, if I were to become suddenly wealthy (I’m a self employed plumber, so that’s one of those ‘pipe dreams’) and have the ability to spend vast quantities of money on such a ride, I’d personally rather find one in a barn somewhere that needs restoration, spend the money on that endeavor, and drive the shit out of it (sorry).. as I believe these cars were intended for that purpose, not to be put on a shelf, behind glass, and just wiped with a diaper every so often, occasionally changing hands for stupid money. So I’ll just keep pluggin, hoping for that twist of fate that drops a fortune in my lap, and continue to dream and drool over these wonderful creations. Happy drooling, y’all!

  4. They are a very collectible car. A friend has many collectible Mopar’s. First car was a Barracuda . Forty years later he wanted another root beer Barracuda.
    He found a 340 Cuda. Bought it drove home 300 miles. Hardly driven since.
    Said he didn’t remember how rough they rode. Hardly drove it since,
    One time we had seven cars go to a Dodge Charger Meet in the Black Hills. Little over 700 miles each way. For the fun of the trip he came in his 70 R/T convertible. Had a great time and it was comfortable.
    Might be another reason why E bodies get driven less.
    I do know that one time we had 5 guys and some liquid refreshments. Those E bodies were rough riding with a load.

  5. I remember my brother got out of Vietnam. He was in the Navy for 4 1/2 years. The first thing he bought when he got home this was in 1968 was the blue RT convertible it had the white top and white interior with a 440. It was bad ass, I love going when he let me I was really small but man I never dreamed it would be this kind of money now I’d love to have that car. I’ll never forget what it look like. I cannot find the 124 scale that has the white top and the white interior. They all have black, but he had white I know it did I road in it if anyone would have one of those I’d love to have it thanks I’ve been reading all about these Cars my other brother had a couple of the cuda,s and a Purple duster, but long gone But there’s a time when the brother that had the duster blew my mind it was really cold out and the hood was frozen and he took a two x 4 and beat the hell out of it I’ll never forget that either. I couldn’t believe it but I’ll quit blabbing. Thank you very much for all the post.


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