1970 Plymouth ‘Cuda Rts Hidden For 46 Years Now Is Back


Built from 1970 to 1974, the third-generation Plymouth Barracuda spawned some of the rarest golden-era muscle cars. The list includes the 1970 and 1971 HEMI convertible, sold in only 14 and 7 units, respectively. Not only rare, but they’re also worth millions of dollars nowadays. But there’s an even rarer ‘Cuda that doesn’t get as much attention as it deserves: the 1970 Rapid Transit System show cars.

Fabricated in only four examples for the Rapid Transit System Caravan that toured the US in 1970 and 1971, the RTS ‘Cuda isn’t a full-blown factory car. But that’s because Plymouth wanted a special design to make it stand out. Designed by Harry Bradley, the man responsible for the Hot Wheels toy line in the late 1960s and put together by Chuck Miller, the RTS ‘Cuda was inspired by the Sonic ‘Cuda, a drag-spec car with a big wing and a massive blower.

While not as aggressive as the dragster, the RTS show cars were just as spectacular thanks to flashy liveries, beak-like front fascias, and side-mounted exhaust pipes. What happened to these cars? Well, three of them were known to exist in private collections, while the fourth example disappeared sometime in 1976. The latter, pictured here, resurfaced in 2022 and was auctioned off in May 2023 for a whopping $2.2 million.


That’s a lot of dough for a modified 1970 Plymouth ‘Cuda, but this show car is not only rare but also an unrestored time capsule with only 967 miles (1,556 km) on the odometer. Yup, this muscle car wasn’t missing as much as it was hidden in a garage. Why? The guy who bought it in 1976 thought that the custom ‘Cuda was getting too much attention and decided to retire it from the public eye.

But he also took really good care of it. Despite sitting for almost a half-century, the RTS ‘Cuda is still wearing the custom paint job it got in 1971, and the interior is as original as they get. Moreover, the numbers-matching 440-cubic-inch (7.2-liter) “Six Pack” V8 is still under the hood. Sure, it no longer runs, but it’s so clean that it will probably come back to life without too much work. And check out that cool HEMI-type blower sitting on top.


While it’s far from ready to hit the road (or the drag strip), this RTS ‘Cuda got a lot of attention since it was unearthed. And fortunately for the owner, the auction was just as heated up, and the gavel fell at an astounding $2.2 million (including fees).

Is it the most expensive Plymouth ever auctioned? No, but it’s in the the top three, bested only by a pair of HEMI ‘Cuda convertibles. Specifically, a 1971 version holds the record at $3.5 million, while a 1970 iteration crossed the auction block for $2.6 million.

The RTS ‘Cuda topped the world’s most expensive 1970 Superbird, sold for $1.6 million. It’s also important to note that all three cars have HEMI V8s, whereas the RTS show car packs a less desirable 440 mill.


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