Almost hard to believe now, but there was a time when racing Pro-Stock was actually somewhat possible to do on a budget. The bodies actually came directly from the factory, a current engine package was used and the cars weren’t hauled around in the comfort of a high dollar 18 wheeler. For any that have experienced it first hand, or just looked back at the history of the class, one name that was fundamental in its upbringing was the series of “Motown Missile” cars – a ’70 Challenger, ’72/73 Duster and this post’s point of interest, a 1972 Plymouth ‘Cuda.
The car was a front runner in the field with the help of the legendary 426 Hemi, it easily busted off multiple low 9 second passes. Its build was followed by multiple magazines, but it wasn’t as smooth as the magazines portrayed. They had built the car with the intentions of using a tube chassis but had been told by NHRA that it would be illegal. Ironically when they showed up to Pomona that year, “Grumpy” Jenkins was running a tube chassis Vega that passed tech inspection with flying colors.
With that in mind, many believed that the reasoning for NHRA telling them not to bring a tube chassis car was that they were possibly packing a big advantage in other areas and well; with 16 spark plugs, twin distributors and twin carbs on a tunnel-rammed Hemi, I don’t think they were lacking in the horsepower department – especially compared to their Ford and Chevy competition. Half-way through the season they ended up switching to a Plymouth Duster that was named “Mopar Missile” which they campaigned for the ’72 and ’73 season, sidelining the ‘Cuda after just a short stint of success.
It’s been a long time wondering where this car went, but through a post on Moparts we learned that the car currently rests under a tarp in Ottawa in very rough condition, where it’s presumably been for the past 15+ years.
The pictures speak loudly for the car’s lousy condition and lack of upkeep for many years as it becomes one with the earth, but there is some hope. With the pictures of the car’s current condition and location circulating all throughout the internet, we can only hope that a Mopar restoration guru will hopefully save this car. Check out some 70’s racing action photos from this ‘Cuda’s history below: