OUR PAL, RALPH RONZELLO, an avid Mopar Action reader sent us this story on his latest acquisition. We’ll let him tell it in his own words while we go have coffee.
“I was contacted by a friend of mine that lived in California to restore his ’65 A990 car. He offered me this ’71 ’Cuda for my labor. He would pay for parts, bodywork and paint etc. I took the deal even knowing the motor was out of it and it was a ex-racecar. 10 years pass, and my friend asks me to sell the now-restored A990 Plymouth. During that time, I had moved from Michigan to Tryon, NC and transported the ’Cuda and all the stuff that came with it. I never did a thing with the ’Cuda as I was very involved with the ‘Color Me Gone’ project at the time. My son had a ’70 ’Cuda back then and a good friend came up with the idea of buying my ’Cuda for his son. Would I put it together for them? I did.
“They moved from Michigan to Florida a few times and I had to haul this dang car to them each time. Not to mention each time the kid broke it, I had to fix it. In total, we moved the car eight different times, all long distances. I never wanted to see that car again.
“Well last fall, the “kid,” now 43, was finally getting mar- ried and the gal is not a car girl, so he asks if I want the ‘Cuda back. The car doesn’t run, no brakes and a broken trans. I could not turn down a friend, and the price was right. I am not at this time considering a 100-point restoration, but an original matching-numbers ’71 with all the high performance stuff is a neat car to just drive and have conver- sations about. If I restored it, it would just sit and I am getting too old for all that.
“More about the car: It’s an original 440-6/4-speed from California, made into a stocker then bracket car around 1972 or ’73, 27K miles. Car had a narrowed Dana when I bought it. Springs not moved in but unfortunately mini-tubbed. I am fixing that and have already installed the original 3:54 SG housing that came with the car. Interior is stock now. A rollbar was bolted in, not welded, so that was good. I will be putting the steel purple rims and dog dish caps back on. I have all the original fender tags and the build sheet that was still under the seat.”