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1971 Hemi ‘Cuda convertible Sells For $3.5 Million – In Eight Minutes At Mecum Seattle – When/Where Does It Stop?

1971 Hemi ‘Cuda convertible Sells For $3.5 Million – In Eight Minutes At Mecum Seattle – When/Where Does It Stop?

1971 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cudas are rare beasts. There are only eleven convertibles. Only two U.S. market four speed Hemi convertibles and only one has it’s original powertrain intact. That particular car, a B5 blue/black ‘Cuda sold for $3.5 million dollars at Mecum Auctions in Seattle just a few days ago. We don’t know who bought it or where it is going but chances are, Power Tour 2015 ain’t on the list of “stuff to do”.

This isn’t the first time a ‘Cuda has hit stupid-money territory. A Hemi ‘Cuda was the first muscle car to break the $1 million mark, and a few years ago another one sold for $2.2 million at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale.

Hemi ‘Cudas were rare because they were very expensive, even when compared to a similarly-optioned 440-6 powered ‘Cuda. Additionally, shoving a Hemi in a droptop was pretty much begging for trouble as the motor would rock, shake, and torque the living hell out of the unibody. Add in the over-valuation that has been occurring with the popularity of auctions like Barrett-Jackson and Mecum and you have the recipe for what happened here. So, the ‘Cuda transfers from one climate-controlled building to another, never to see the light of day unless there is a serious security detail on it.

Who wants to place a bet on when these things hit $10 million? Anyone?



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20 thoughts on “1971 Hemi ‘Cuda convertible Sells For $3.5 Million – In Eight Minutes At Mecum Seattle – When/Where Does It Stop?

  1. John T

    lovely car. Stupid price tag. I mean seriously, what would you do with it? I’d love to say thrash it around, drive the nuts off it, hot it up but lets face it nobody’s going to do any of these things with it. Same thing happened here when a GTHO phase 3 Falcon went to 1.1 million … yes, I get that its a rare fast car but its also a 4 door falcon…. same as this Cuda, rare yes, desirable, yes, useable? nope. I think that’s actually a bit sad. End of the day they’re just optioned up unibody mass produced cars…..I drive a 2 door XB falcon which is actually getting pretty rare – people offer me dumb money for it or half tell me off for driving it to the shops to which I say [email protected]$K off – its my goddamn car and last time I heard, driving them is what cars were designed for….

  2. tigeraid

    Collectors are a whole different breed. It will never stop because there will always be rich people.

    I look at it as a positive; because all the stereotypical “cool” muscle cars like Hemi ‘Cudas, LS6 Chevelles and 428 Mustangs are being priced completely out of normal people’s pockets, we’re forced to look at different, but still cooler cars, like G-Bodies, T-Birds, station wagons, 4 doors, that sort of thing. It forces us to be creative and check out new things.

    If Hemi ‘Cudas were still $5000, do you think we’d have guys building 9c1 Caprices, 5.0 T-Birds, ’74 Chevelles or things like that?

    Let the rich be morons.

    1. rodzilla

      I hate to admit it, but I have to agree that these outrageous prices are for the best. My reason is that I know if I was able to afford one, I would drive it, and often. Meaning that it would be a big bullseye for every moron out there that somehow got lucky enough to pass their driving test, and then immediately forgot everything they knew about the practice. The collectors who buy them will probably only put a few miles per year on them.

    2. Nytro

      Yes and no. Alternative cars are cool and all, but as a result of these stupid auctions, every peon who has a broken down four door Malibu with a blown up 6 cylinder and rotted out floors, quarters, fenders and rockers buried in the mud to its’ door handles now wants $7500 for that pile of scrap because they saw a perfect LS-6 sell for $150K. The saying goes a rising tide raises all boats, and in this case, it’s even raising the ones full of holes. Those alternative cars aren’t so alternative anymore with so many people being priced out of the more popular cars, and eventually, the same thing will happen to those less popular cars – they’ll be priced higher and higher until they are at what mainstream cars were at fifteen years ago.

  3. Bob Bradley

    Older cars will always increase in value simply because what you can buy now is a total waste of sheet metal. Sure they can go fast but no personality at all. I barely recognize any new car on the road now. Tell me, what would you buy. A 1962 Falcon Sprint 4-spd for 20k or a crapped out new Honda for 36k?

  4. Lee


    It is evident you have no clue as to what is going on in the collector car market. Stick to your Drag Racing and stop making a fool of yourself with uneducated comments like you have here.

    1. Bryan McTaggart Post author

      And what uneducated comment would that be…the fact that the ‘Cuda sold for $3.5M, or the opinion that it is a demonstration that the collector car market over-values musclecars? I fail to see what was uneducated about either statement. I’m not arguing that Hemi cars are valuable. But $3.5M for a pony car that only has that kind of valuation simply because of rarity and engine is absurd. The only Baldwin-Motion Phase III Chevelle is up for about $325K. One of the two Torino King Cobras is up for $500,000. I understand their values easier than this ‘Cuda.

      1. Lee

        1970 and 1971 Hemi Cuda CONVERTIBLES (that is they key word here Bryan) have been selling for BIG Bucks for a long time now. ANYONE who follows the market knows this. The fact that you don’t feel they are worth that kind of money . . .

        Well – don’t buy one then.

        Every collector market has a zenith item be it cars or paintings or coins or stamps, etc. With Muscle Cars, it happens to be the Hemi Cuda Convertible. Those who participate in the market set the values – what they are willing to pay.

        Again you may think the money is absurd but you are not in the market are you Bryan? You are just an onlooker. Just a person with an opinion.

        BTW, the estimated sale price on this car was $4 million. That is what the seller set the reserve at but when it hit $3.5 million the seller lifted the reserve.

        I guess you could say the buyer of the car saved $500,000 couldn’t you. As far as he is concerned, he got a good deal.

        Again, the people in the market determine the value of the cars . . . not the onlookers.

      2. scott hungsberg

        It’s called “The law of supply and demand”,very few around and a lot of wealthy guy’s just have to have one.

  5. Iain Starrs

    Well if i was in the position to spend that sort of money on a Cuda it would at least have to be a hardtop because after all only hairdressers and posers drive ragtops right?

  6. 440 6pac

    I love Cudas. And I love Hemis. If I had a Hemi Cuda or Challenger I could die a very happy man.
    But there’s no way on God’s green earth that a Hemi Cuda is worth $3.5 million. That’s just a bunch of boys with more dollars than sense.

    1. Lee

      So I guess a Ferrari isn’t worth $35 miilion or a Dusenburg worth $10 million or an L88 Corvette worth $3,5 million huh?

      You’re just another onlooker 6pac. Just like Bryan is.

  7. loren

    Well the market is the market. To put things on another level, consider what certain Hot Wheels go for…I remember the first time I saw those in the store window, then when I had the opportunity to actually own one (meaning, I had over the course of time saved up the entire dollar). Would it be worth $200 or $1000 to me to sorta duplicate that experience again? Maybe…if I was there for it financially (it wouldn’t happen but’s let’s say it did). Then me and many guys I know would be admiring it for what it is directly as well as it’s history and place in culture, that would be part of the fun but the fact that I paid a thousand times it’s original price would be better kept between myself and the seller who would both be people to whom that amount meant about as much a dollar to a kid in 1968…something, but not everything. We would understand, the guys standing on the side who never had that much money calling me dumb would just have to not mean much.

    Scraping on every deal and expenditure, doing (and re-doing) virtually all the work myself, my pretty-nice Hemi-in-a-’71 Challenger cost me 32K to build back when and you know what I get? One guy thought that cars that old should cost two grand. Another offered me eight (it’s not for sale) and got really sh*tty with me when I didn’t take it. We don’t discuss money with those guys. With others, it’s a mark of respect that somebody can come up with whatever resources it took to get the thing on the property, the car is taken for what it is and what it means. We all understand what the costs can be, so price tags are just not part of the conversation.

  8. Harmable

    You know while I know it is a rare car and all but still there are other cars out there ten times more rare and never fetch that price. But then again if you are just stupid enough to have money to throw away because to be honest cars are a piss poor investment. I don’t care if it is a HEMI CUDA CONVERTIABLE. Once it got loaded on the trailer the price fell. You see the reserve was for 4 mil and well that didn’t happen. At this rate the care will be down to a very affordable 2.5 mil in a few years. Do you really want to loose a million on a car, just cause it is rare. Do you think the car will get driven and not just on powertour………..lol.

  9. loren

    It’s not just a matter of rare, it’s about being desirable. Extremely rare cars that are not desirable go to junk just like everything else (although we do see some regular-seeming guys putting their own bucks into some odd stuff, likely to be poor investments, now and then).

    Anyhow…maybe the new owner is some kind of fool who borrows money to indulge in his favorite toys but more likely he is not. He may accept the car could be a poor “investment” because he would have had to be smart enough make some good ones in the past. It’s a fallacy to think that people who have a lot more money than us are somehow stupid but it’s a safe bet that they do think differently than we do. He may simply be at the point in his life where having that car means more to him than that amount of money.

    No, I would imagine he’s not going to “drive it” anymore than someone who, say, buys bronze sculptures of horses gets on them to ride. He likely has other “drivers”.

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