Some cars are just too nice to send flying through the air to a crunching doom. Take this 1970 Plymouth Hemi 'Cuda, which is wicked awesome from the air cleaner atop its stupendous 540-cubic-inch (8.8-liter) old-school Hemi to the all-independent rear suspension. So how did this stunning machine find itself amid the destruction of Fast & Furious 6?
Simple. It isn't a movie car.
Instead, this showcar was borrowed from a collection called Autotopia that happens to be located in a building directly across the alley from picture car coordinator Dennis McCarthy's shop. It is owned by Erik Davis, who is president of RT Specialty Insurance in Los Angeles and who races a Mustang in the Pirelli World Challenge series under the Always Evolving Performance (AE Performance) banner.
It's only seen in the final shots of the film, when Dominic Toretto's ad hoc family gathers together at a house familiar to hard-core Fast & Furious fans going back to the original 2001 film, The Fast and the Furious. So there was no need to build duplicates.
Sorry, is that a spoiler? Really? You didn't know that Dom survives to the end and winds up in a bitchin' Mopar?
The Real Thing
Built by Dave Salvaggio of Salvaggio Automotive Design in Port Washington, Wisconsin, this 'Cuda is overstuffed with virtually every trick known to Mopar man. But those tricks are all subtle. Like the instrumentation that is set into a carbon-fiber panel and uses white faces, but retains the original font and design of each gauge. And then there's the pistol-grip shifter atop the Tremec six-speed manual transmission that has been remade in carbon fiber — as if it were for a much better gun.
Even the leather-covered seats are Mopar parts. Swiped as they are from a Viper.
But what's not subtle is the engine. That's an Arruzza-built, aluminum-headed elephant engine capped by twin four-barrel carburetors. It incorporates a beautifully machined and polished aluminum plate on the front that uses a single serpentine belt to drive the alternator, A/C compressor and power steering pump. And the entire engine bay is so heartbreakingly beautiful it makes you want to rip off the car's hood.
Likely the single most ambitious element in this car is the suspension. The front suspension's original torsion bars and A-arms have been dumped in favor of fabricated pieces and coil-over shocks.
Out back, the crummy leaf springs have vanished. In their place is a Jaguar center section with inboard Wilwood disc brakes and fabricated links that form a robust structure. There should be a hole in the trunk floor to provide better views of it.
There's nothing that isn't interesting about the 1970 Plymouth Hemi 'Cuda. And nothing that's been left untouched.
Thanks to 235/45R17 front and 305/45R18 rear Nitto red-striped tires on Fikse wheels, this Plymouth Barracuda has a slight rake and its nose is almost burrowing into the ground. There are many subtle body modifications (like re-contoured wheelwells) but, again, the whole car is constrained by a respect for Mopar heritage.
So while it's Hemi powered, it's actually decorated like the 340-powered AAR 'Cuda that was built to homologate components for SCCA Trans Am road racing. The big engine seems to almost be bursting up into the cavity made by the AAR hood scoop. That's kind of cool. But not as truly icy as the AAR-inspired dual side exhausts that exit just below each door's trailing edge.
The mix of gloss and matte black paint is sinister, consistent with the 'Cuda's themes, and intensely badass.
While the 1970 Plymouth Hemi 'Cuda's appearance in Fast & Furious 6 is basically a cameo, Fast & Furious 7 is already in production and aiming for a summer 2014 release. If that movie picks up where this one lets off, this 'Cuda (and/or its stunt-ready clones) is sure to show up then.