©2007 Publications International, Ltd. Built to qualify racing versions for the Trans Am series, the 1970 Plymouth AAR 'Cuda was no muscle car wallflower, thanks to a black fiberglass hood, strobe stripes, and side-exit exhausts. See more muscle car pictures.
Not all muscle cars had giant V-8s and mimicked straight-line drag racers. Some identified with modest-engine racers built to compete on twisting road courses. The 1970 Plymouth AAR 'Cuda was one of these.
Of course, the production AAR 'Cuda couldn't be mechanically identical to its Trans-Am racing namesake. But unlike the Mustang Boss 302 and Camaro Z28, which also were built to homologate track cars, it didn't even try to mimic the pavement-hugging posture of its competition cousin. What Plymouth built was a street rod.
The AAR 'Cuda took its title from Dan Gurney's All-American Racers, the team that campaigned Barracudas in the Sports Car Club of America's popular competition series. Like the similar racing Dodge Challenger T/As, track AARs ran full-race 440-bhp 305-cid four-barrel V-8s and were lowered
and modified for all-out twisty-course combat.
And like production Challenger T/As built to qualify the cars for racing, street AARs used a 290-bhp 340-cid with three two-barrel Holley carbs on an Edelbrock aluminum manifold. Buyers could choose a four-speed or TorqueFlite, with a Sure-Grip axle and standard 3.55:1 or optional 3.91:1 gears. The engine breathed through a functional hood scoop.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd. Race versions used a 305-cid V-8 and one four-barrel 'Cudas had a 340 and hid three two-barrel carbs under this oval air cleaner.
The AAR's interior was basic 'Cuda, but its exterior certainly was not. From a matte-black fiberglass hood, through body-side strobe stripes and tri-colored AAR shield, to the standard black ducktail spoiler, this was an exotic fish. Special shocks and recambered rear springs raised the tail 1 3/4 inches over regular 'Cuda specs, allowing clearance for exhausts pipes that exited in front of the rear wheelwell (after routing through the standard muffler beneath the trunk). It also permitted use of G60xl5 tires in back and E60xl5s in front.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd. A one-year-only model, the AAR 'Cuda had a raked stance and wide rear tires. AAR stood for Dan Gurney's All-American Racers team.
With its raked stance, oversized rear rubber, side-exit exhausts, and loud graphics, an AAR was better suited to a Saturday night at Burger King than a Sunday afternoon at Lime Rock. With a 56-percent front weight bias, handling was plagued by understeer, prompting Car and Driver to suggest "it might have been better to put the fat tires on the front wheels." But the AAR 'Cuda was strong in a straight line, and an eyeful anywhere. Just like a good street rod.
Return to Classic Muscle Cars Library.For more cool information on muscle cars, check out:
- Plymouth muscle cars spanned the spectrum from fanciful to fearsome -- and sometimes displayed both qualities in a single model. See profiles, photos, and specifications of Plymouth muscle cars.
- Muscle cars came in many shapes and sizes. Here are features on more than 100 muscle cars, including photos and specifications for each model.
- Muscle cars created their own culture. To learn about it, read How Muscle Cars Work.
Check out these profiles of muscle cars, which include photos and specifications for each model:
- Cougar pulled out of Mustang's shadow with the striped and spoilered 1969 Mercury Cougar Eliminator.
- Beep, beep! Make way for one of the baddest muscle cars of all time, the 1970 Plymouth Road Runner Hemi.
- The 1970 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am combined sports-car handling and muscle car power.
- Chrysler unleashed the modern version of its most famous engine in the 1964 Dodge 426 Hemi.
- An all-aluminum, race-proven V-8 defined the rare and wicked 1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.
For related car information, see these articles:
- The engine is what gives a muscle car its flamboyant personality. To learn everything you need to know about car engines, see How Car Engines Work.
- Muscle cars wouldn't have much muscle without horsepower -- but what exactly is horsepower? How Horsepower Works answers that question.
- NASCAR race cars embody the muscle car philosophy of power. Read How NASCAR Race Cars Work to find out what makes these charged-up racers go.
- Are you thinking of buying a 2007 muscle car, or any other car? See Consumer Guide Automotive's New-Car Reviews, Prices, and Information.