A 1971 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda has recently traded hands for $3.5 million, a staggering sum that makes the roadster the most expensive American muscle car ever sold at an auction. To put that figure into perspective, it’s over three times the base price of the gas-electric McLaren P1 supercar.
Sold by Mecum Auctions in Seattle, Washington, the record-setting car is not just any ‘Cuda: It’s one of eleven Hemi-powered ‘Cuda Convertibles built in 1971, and it’s one of just two examples that were delivered with a desirable four-speed manual transmission. Additionally, it is the only one still equipped with its original 425-horsepower carbureted V8 engine.
Although the ‘Cuda retains the bulk of its original sheet metal, it was meticulously restored by a noted Mopar expert named Julius Steuer in the early 2000s and Mecun sold it in like-new condition. The auction house did not disclose the identity of the lucky new owner, but it revealed the roadster started a bidding war that lasted no less than eight minutes.
Often billed as “the holy grail of muscle cars” by enthusiasts, the Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda Convertible has made headlines in the past. In 2002, another 1971 example sent shock waves through the auto industry when it became the first-ever American muscle car to sell for over $1 million at an auction.