Rare 1971 'Cuda 440 Convertible Sold for $800,000


We've always known our classic cars are special and valuable, but it's interesting to see just how valuable some of them have become in recent years. Auctions of especially rare or noteworthy vehicles have run far into the six-figure range, and some have even broken the million-dollar mark. This 1971 Plymouth 'Cuda convertible, equipped with a 440 Six-Pack engine and 4-speed transmission, recently sold for a whopping $800,000 at a Hemmings collector car auction. On top of its beautiful condition, this car has a pretty cool story behind it.

Photos courtesy of Hemmings

One of Five: '71 Cuda 440 4-Speed Convertible


According to Hemmings' Mopar consultant Scott Smith, this 'Cuda is one of only seventeen convertibles sold in 1971 with the 440ci V8 and Six Pack carburetor. The fact that it also has a 4-speed manual transmission makes that combination even rarer — specifically, one of five. Given the high likelihood that the other four cars are no longer on the road, this may be the only surviving example of its kind.


This car was originally purchased by a super stock racer in Washington named Dave Wren. After racking up only 11 miles on the original odometer, Wren swapped the 440ci V8 for a Hemi engine, raced it for two years, and then retired the car. In the late 1980s, the car was found and fully restored to its original condition. This involved removing the roll bar, tubbed fenders, and other race-oriented modifications, and sourcing a replacement 440 Six Pack engine.


Above: This car features the legendary 440ci V8 and iconic Shaker hood, along with a fresh coat of the original Tor Red paint.

Every inch of the 'Cuda's body has been returned to factory spec, including white billboard decals and a matching white convertible top. Similarly, the interior was restored using reproduction black carpet, upholstery, door panels, dash pad, and many other parts.


Above: The interior features standard gauges, no console, and no radio. It was a race car, after all.


Above: Even the trunk has been restored to factory spec, including the trunk mat, spare tire, and decals.

Care was taken to preserve original details like the cowl number, radiator core support stamp, and fender tags. The original window sticker is still included with the car as well, showing a total MSRP of just $4,180. Factoring in inflation, that equates to $31,550 in today's money.


The options list for this car included the following items:

  • • A33 - Track Pak - $137.80
  • • D21 - Manual Transmission, 4-Speed - $198.10
  • • EV2 - High Impact Paint - $13.85
  • • E87 - 440 CID Engine, 8 Cyl 3/2 Bbl. - $253.20
  • • N96 - Shaker Fresh Air Package - $94.00
  • • V3W - Convertible Top
  • • U82 - Tires, E60 x 15 Raised White Letters - $51.65

In March 2022, this car sold at auction on for $800,000. That's more than 25 times its original sale price in 2023 dollars, or more than 190 times its original sale price in 1971 dollars. We'd call that a pretty good investment, to say the least.

Check out the video below from the Hemmings YouTube channel for a closer look at the car, or view the auction page here.

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Article by: Patrick McCarthy
Senior Automotive Editor
Classic Industries