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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

This barn-find AAR Cuda is "as original as original can be"

With Barn Find Hunter Tom Cotter on our team, we often get to ogle forgotten cars that have been frozen in time. That doesn't mean that we don't appreciate the dust-covered gems discovered by other automotive hunters.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/car-profiles/this-barn-find-aar-cuda-is-as-original-as-original-can-be...
43 REPLIES 43
Billthecat707
Instructor

Always loved AAR's. Rescued one in the early '80's that had lived on the north coast of Massachusetts. It was burnt orange and rust. You could lift the floor mat and rest your foot on the exhaust while looking at the ground. Sold it shortly after I got married. Always regretted not being able to restore it. Hope someone did. But I love my green go Hellcat . Performance comfort and fuel mileage you couldn't imagine in the muscle car era.
BMD4800
Gearhead

Comfort and mileage in what context?
Mid-level performance cars from the muscle car era were both, but with all things it is relative.
I could knock down 17mpg on the Highway, run mid 14s in the quarter mile, had air conditioning, and I drove that small block Chevrolet everywhere.
Sure, my buddy’s big block Chevelle with no A/C was far quicker, his car was indeed less enjoyable driving to DuQuoin.
Billthecat707
Instructor

The Hellcat runs 10.80's @ 126 on street tires. And gets a verified 26 mpg on a trip to Tennessee from mid Florida, Iincluding running the Tail of the Dragon and drag racing @ English Mountain Raceway. Not bad for a 4450# car. With automatic climate control, heated and cooled seats , back up camera, etc. Also been 155 @Track Night @Daytona and 148 @ Track Night @PBIR. With a 100k warranty. But I still love the style and nostalgia of classic muscle, and don't miss Mecum Kissimmee each year.
OldFordMan
Advanced Driver

How is the plate on front so pristine as all else nasty? So many bf hoaxes.
MrBill-1943
Advanced Driver

The motor is proof enough for me, cannot phony up that kind of dirt etc.
mfp4073
Advanced Driver

It looks like they wiped it off for the photo. But the rest looks legit. Yes, there are a lot of BF stretching these days for sure, but this looks good.  Nice story!

Beatnik
Pit Crew

Hagerty tells the truth; this car is real one.
Tinkerah
Engineer

That caught my eye too. And a heavy coating of dust does not make that thing look "bad" at all. Any of us can see right through that!
Poolcue0
New Driver

Uh, he might have wiped it off. You'll note that it's a '79 plate.
dbier
Intermediate Driver

Per the article and the video - that photo was taken in 2016 by Ryan Brutt and used as the cover picture for his 2017 book. The 1979 license plate (with mid 80s renewal sticker) was cleaned for that picture to give an idea of how long it had been stored. Have a little faith! 🙂
BMD4800
Gearhead

I have an Iowa plate from 1979 that was in a barn, then a garage for 30 years. When a flash hits it, it looks pristine.
dblinton
Pit Crew

Great story with a happy ending/outcome.
dhaugh
Detailer

This story reminds me of something I saw on an Early spring day at the local Speedway gas station in Germantown, WI. I was filling up my car and I heard this amazing sound coming from the street, I looked and it was the rattiest 53 or 54 Corvette I've ever seen. Tufting was oozing out of every seam in the seats, it was covered in pigeon crap and had what looked to be original 60 year old wide white wall tires. The most amazing thing though was the sound, it was tuned to the same level as a Swiss Watch and the mufflers were deteriorated to the perfect level to make that straight six sing. I'm guessing it was right out of storage from a local barn and the owner had just finished getting it mechanically sorted. To this day it ranks right up there as one of the coolest cars I had ever seen, it even topped hearing Bob Tulius' Group 44 IMSA car start and rev its engine. Why was it so cool you ask? It couldn't have been more original if it tried. Great story
buellerdan
Instructor

I have not been fortunate enough to have seen any cool Corvettes at the Germantown Speedway station.
bblhed
Instructor

Just wondering, does that car have an inside, and did anyone think to photograph it? Also is there a photo of the engine after it was cleaned? You guys used to add a whole bunch of photos.
MrBill-1943
Advanced Driver

Agreed, I always like to the the before and after photos.
ThePorscheMan
Detailer

There IS a video with 24+ pictures per second.
mfp4073
Advanced Driver

Lots of inside interior photos in the video, if you are video equipped.
dbier
Intermediate Driver

Reply mis-posted - and deleted

dbier
Intermediate Driver

Sorry - my reply was meant for a different post.
RG440
Instructor

I know of a stash of these era Mopar muscle in northern Michigan under the same roof’s (property). Some very low # vehicles !!! Parts, parts, and more parts. I helped add to the stash with an air grabber 72 Road Runner 4 speed and other muscle including a 63 Sport Fury Golden Commando. Just waiting for it to show up in one of Toms articles. It’s up to the owner to disclose when he wants to, not me. Just letting you know they are out there, I know….and yes, the front plates are dirty
Eric
Hagerty Employee

would you be able to email details of this spot to eweiner@hagerty.com ? We'd love to take a look.

RG440
Instructor

I was doing barn find mopar decades before people knew what it meant, “you find barns”?, Retired Now. Tom and the team may luck upon him. As mentioned it’s up to the owner to disclose. They STILL are out there! Good Luck !
Beatnik
Pit Crew

I know a man has a lot of cars in Grey Court, South Carolina. He had a website can't remember what it was called. I bought a lot of parts from him years ago.
Inline8OD
Technician

Any wrecking yard/auto recycler has plenty of "original as original can be." We get it. Inflation, lower earning power than 40 years ago means most fiscal mortals can no longer afford to restore automobiles, unless able to do most of the work themselves, hence the sudden mass interest in "barn finds," having nothing, really, to do with preserving well-tended survivors.

Meanwhile, there are 120 years of autodom with some novel, terrific cars to explore. Can we get off this "muscle car" mania aimed at aging adolescents with no exposure or experience to or with much else?

Egregious mid-sized Motown tin with dopey decals and station wagon engines geared for acceleration, not relaxed high-speed cruising. Kinda one note? Something nerdo about guys in their 50s, 60s, 70s making obnoxious fools of themselves "jerking off" at stop lights.

You want a vintage race car, the real deal, there are plenty out there for a fraction of a "numbers matching" marketing ploy aimed at testosterone/hormone-addled low horizon teenyboppers.

Aren't there enough magazines brimming with this stuff?

C'mon.
TG
Technician

Just like lead singers and quarterbacks, muscle cars get all of the attention. It is more of a force of nature than a phenomenon - not much use complaining about it
Lash
Intermediate Driver

Someone forced you to read the article?
Inline8OD
Technician

Someone force you to bury your head in the sand?
Orict0015668
Intermediate Driver

Thank goodness we still live in a country where you can enjoy the freedom of making your own decisions, and decide where one can spend his/her own money. Many of the people you denigrate in your comment have worked their whole lives, providing for their families, all the while having that dream in their head. Perhaps because of living responsibly, living within their means, and finally having the financial ability, they realized those dreams. As I said previously, you too have the freedom and ability to make your own choices. If you are so triggered at the amount of articles featuring “ Egregious mid-sized Motown tin with dopey decals and station wagon engines geared for acceleration” perhaps you should find another outlet that actually interests you. There are plenty of places that feature low rider Honda’s with fart mufflers that might interest you.
Inline8OD
Technician

What's with the down-home "freedom, living responsibly, providing for families" screed? We're reminded that there are 120 years of autodom; you leap to a conclusion the only alternate interest is Honda?

Your response trumpets low horizon, narrow range.

There's a century's worth of other novel cars costing no more or less than another "numbers matching barn find" marketing ploy aimed at teens or less educated adults.

As you say. Exactly. There are plenty of places for "Cudas" and the like.

Learn, evolve, grow, graduate.
Buzz
Detailer

Hagerty features all kinds of cars from all around the world in all their publications. Like it or not, muscle cars are now in the money segment of the hobby and the prices are skyrocketing. Don’t get pissy at Hagerty for pleasing the heart of their clientele. Hagerty is a classic auto insurance company. Be happy that they actually love the hobby and lifestyle. If you want the world to revolve around your favorite part of the hobby, find another planet.

Meanwhile, please enlighten me. Which station wagon did the 340ci V8 come out of?
Ajakeski
Detailer

I restored an orange AAR Cuda for a guy from Chicago. He still
Owes me thousands of dollars.
aviones1
Pit Crew

Never do any work  without up-front payment, also mechanic's   lien?

Raven
Pit Crew

Got mine. 😎

file:///var/mobile/Library/SMS/Attachments/63/03/F827306F-B28B-44AC-B0CB-66B809EA36CC/IMG_3177.PNG
Raven
Pit Crew

Well I can’t post the picture. Oh well.
Sajeev
Community Manager

Beatnik
Pit Crew

I still remember Dan Gurney driving a blue AAR Cuda.
Poolcue0
New Driver

This is the definitive barn find--literally.
SJ
Technician

I got to drive one, the 'Cuda is my favorite Mopar Pony Car. Wish they would have brought back the 'Cuda instead of the ('Cuda clone) Challenger.
SJ
Technician

Did he park it with salt or mud in the wheel wells?
OldFordMan
Advanced Driver

Not knocking the car---it is fab. Just looked at the 79 plate. I like the car better all cleaned up.
Lash
Intermediate Driver

Tons of potential there! That baby has some cam in her!
Buzz
Detailer

In my mind, the AAR Cuda and TA Challenger were The most well-balanced muscle cars Chrysler ever made. The 340 six pack was a high-revving big block killer with loads of potential and the lighter weight made those cars an absolute joy to drive. I think both cars had some of the most handsome paint, stripe and spoiler combos too. Hats off to Ryan Brutt, who I met on moparts.com back when he was in his early 20’s. He’s made quite a name for himself with his Mopar barn finds and exposed us to some really cool cars over the years.