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by Jay Traugott
Are you as cool as Don Johnson (if you even know who he is)?
The Plymouth Barracuda is undoubtedly one of the most beloved muscle cars of all time. With Chrysler now revived and going strong, their newly up and running SRT division is getting ready to release several new models. If the new 2013 Viper is any indication, these upcoming cars could potentially become game changers in terms of performance, quality, and value. Needless to say we're stoked. But let's look back once again at Chrysler's wonderful performance past.
Sadly, their Plymouth division is long gone but there was a time in which some of the most famous muscle cars bore the brand's badge. The Barracuda, many will argue, was one of their finest models as it combined all of the essential muscle car traits - often a smaller car with a large displacement engine. Although it was discontinued back in 1974, the Barracuda has forever been in the hearts and minds of countless fans. In 1996, those fans were given the pleasure of seeing a Barracuda convertible appear on television every week in the hit series "Nash Bridges".
For the course of six seasons, Nash Bridges (played by Don Johnson) and his partner Joe Dominguez (Cheech Marin) solved crimes and cruised the streets of San Francisco in Nash's yellow Barracuda. When the series was ultimately cancelled in 2001, there were four matching 'Curious Yellow' 'Cuda Convertibles left sitting around the studio lot and one of those was recently posted for sale on eBay. This 1970 Barracuda, supposedly the #1 film car, is powered by a 426 cu in Hemi V8 with more than 425hp. Restored for the series by renowned "movie land car czar" Frank Bennetti, the car originally started off with the 340 cu in V8.
Before it was further restored for the TV series, its previous owner had already done some extensive restoration work to it such as swapping out its original manual transmission in favor of a four-speed slushbox. According to the seller's posting, this is actually the only real 'Cuda of the four film cars; the rest were 318s. In reality, all of the show cars were 1970 models fitted with 1971 features. This 'Cuda was one of approximately 85 four-speed 340 convertibles built in 1970. During its preparation for TV duty, Bennetti removed the 340 and replaced it with a 360 cu in V8 as well as converting it back to its original four-speed manual complete with the pistol grip shifter.
Other modifications included a 1971 front clip with the Shaker hood scoop, a rubber front bumper, and reinforced front end with heavy duty torsion bars. When "Nash Bridges" ended production, this 'Cuda underwent two additional restorations. The latest was in 2006 when the 426 Hemi was installed. Many other elements were given attention such as fixing up the interior, which is complete with those beautiful white leather seats and Rallye gauge cluster. The camera mounts and cables are still in place and the trunk also has cables pertaining to film equipment.
Also take note of the car's undercarriage that also benefitted from its 2006 nut and bolt bare-metal restoration. With 78,873 miles on the odometer, Barracuda #1 was apparently Don Johnson's favorite of the four film cars because it had the most detailing, thus making it the preferred car for close-up shots. The highest bid last week was $90,100 but the reserve hadn't been met. In all likelihood, we'll be seeing this posted again sometime soon and hopefully it'll find a new owner that'll continue to treasure it. Photos courtesy of texasclassiccarsofdollas.