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71 N96 340 4 spd cuda

Member Restorations

  1. 76orangewagon

    76orangewagon Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to my build thread this car is a 1971 340 Cuda that left the factory with a 4 speed, Shaker hood, EV2 Tor-red paint and Billboard stripe. Although it look nice on the top side (that’s a $400 Maaco paint job from 1990) it needs some real attention underneath. The floor and trunk pans are very solid (It was a factory undercoated car) but both front frame rails have rusted through spots and the left rear frame has been patched and will need replaced. After taking inventory of the car and doing some research with the help of a few members from this site, there are lots of little things that need changed or added back on but I will take some liberties and leave some of the incorrect parts on for sentimental reasons.
    Here’s a quick background on this car, I purchased this car in the spring of 1990 after regrettably getting out of the Air Force. When I found the car it was wearing a fresh paint job with 1970 fenders and was missing the billboard stripe, it was set up as a street racer with a hopped up 1968 383 and a 4.56 gear. I sold the motor and traded the fenders for a set of correct 1971 fenders, built a late coded 1970 340 motor, spent $400 on a Maaco paint job as mentioned earlier, put the Billboard stripe back on, added a Rallye dash and 71’ style Gull wing. The 15” x 7” rallye wheels, 3.55 suregrip, LD340 intake, exhaust manifolds and tail panel trim were all removed from an AAR Cuda parts car that I found while stationed in Florida and that my dad ended up buying and then traded me for my 1968 Road Runner. I sold the 1971 Cuda’ after about a year or so due to financial reasons and immediately regretted it although I knew it was the best choice at the time. After about 8 years (1999) I tracked down the guy I sold it to and said if you ever want to sell it let me know, throughout the years since then I would stop to see if he still had the car and show him I was still interested. Fast forward to this year...the day after this year’s Mopar Nationals to be exact(Monday, August 15th) and I get the call I’ve wanted but never really thought I’d get. After this year’s show he said he really has lost interest in the car and that he’s never going do anything with it and if I was still interested in buying it. Here’s the cool part, the car has sat for almost 26 years with only 457 put on the odometer since I sold it. The car is exactly the same as when I sold it with the exception of a clutch, master cylinder, gas tank and carburetor change.
    I will eventually do a complete teardown and rotisserie restoration and put the Cuda back close to original, but for now I just want to drive it for a season. I first have to fix some transmissions issues created by the previous owner, I have a rebuilt 1971 833 transmission built by Passon performance to replace the 1968 transmission that’s in it now and a correct Hurst rebuilt shifter mechanism, I noticed the wrong length clutch pivot fork (too Long) was installed and as a result the driver’s side head pipe is half hammered shut to try to make it work correctly (which, it does not). The wiring is a total mess, half the wires to the headlights and road lamps have been cut so new M& H wiring harnesses are on order as well. I just had the hood hinges rebuilt by Rick @ Restorick. I also plan on removing several brackets and small parts over the winter to have Stephan at S.F. Restoration restore them. I would love to totally dismantle the Cuda immediately but I just finished an expensive and extensive 6 year build and promised the wife I would give it some time before I jumped back in. My wife likes to remind me that the last build was the reason she didn't get to go on a few family vacations. So with that promise made I will hold off on a full blown restoration but I don’t think I said I wouldn’t but some parts here and there.
    050 (1024x576) (800x450).jpg 006 (1024x576) (800x426).jpg 051 (800x600).jpg 015 (800x450).jpg 009 (768x1024) (600x800).jpg 005 (800x600).jpg 013 (1024x768) (800x600).jpg 012 (800x513).jpg 017 (768x1024) (600x800).jpg 027 (768x1024) (2) (600x800).jpg
     
  2. 76orangewagon

    76orangewagon Well-Known Member

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    056 (608x800).jpg Here's a few more that I took 26 years ago and the magazine add I placed to sell it and the broadcast sheet. 009 (800x514).jpg 011 (800x538).jpg cuda (800x578).jpg 010 (599x800).jpg
     
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  3. GTXperience

    GTXperience Well-Known Member

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    Great story ... great car! We have twins except yours has a shaker, road lamps and ralley wheels (I have steels and dog dishes).
     
  4. 76orangewagon

    76orangewagon Well-Known Member

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    According to the broadcast sheet my car should have the 450 steel wheels and dog dish center caps and eventually I would like to find a set but the rallyes on it now are a nice set of matching date coded 390's I took off the AAR back in 1990. My car also came with a vinyl top... I won't be putting that back on during the restoration, it also should have a single manual side mirror and from the research I've done should have a painted grille.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2016
  5. DetMatt1

    DetMatt1 Well-Known Member

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    This is a VERY kool car! Neat that you were able to get it back. How are you using a '68 trans in this car? Did you put a dual mount tail housing on it?
     
  6. 76orangewagon

    76orangewagon Well-Known Member

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    I have built several Mopar cars and even a cool Power Wagon over the years but nothing really ever replaced the need to have the Cuda' back. I'm really shocked that it happened, even through the buying process and negotiations I kept thinking that it wasn't going to happen. I will have to examine the Transmission a little closer to answer your question but I must say I was more than a little disappointed that it wasn't the original transmission or even the correct 71 style. Jamie Passon shipped out a rebuilt 1971 transmission yesterday, once I pull the 1968 transmission out I need to run the numbers on the bell housing and make sure it is correct. I remember a buddy calling me from Norwalk raceway 26 years ago and saying some guy had a small block bell housing for $100 and that's what is in there, but now I find out there were different bell housings for different Body styles and since this car always had a very hard pedal I need to see exactly what I have. I know the clutch pivot fork the previous owner put in is 12 1/2" long and should be 10 7/8" according to Brewers website. so that's a definite issue. The Car actually shifts very nice all things considered, I'm pretty sure the shift rods are wrong also.
     
  7. 76orangewagon

    76orangewagon Well-Known Member

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    It looks like it is a dual mount tail shaft housing... like I said before there are some serious issues going on.

    021 (800x600).jpg 024 (800x600).jpg 026 (800x600).jpg
     
  8. DetMatt1

    DetMatt1 Well-Known Member

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    I'll say!
     
  9. 76orangewagon

    76orangewagon Well-Known Member

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    My rebuilt Passon 1971 Transmission arrived and is ready to go in but I'm waiting on an order from Brewers Performance for all new shift linkage, clutch fork, ect..... before installing it. I also I bought a correct 3512100 date coded intake manifold and Scott from Harms Auto is restoring a correct 4972 S carb for me 006 (800x575).jpg 007 (800x600).jpg .
     
  10. 76orangewagon

    76orangewagon Well-Known Member

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    Looks like someone added 1968-69 B body HD leaf springs (2539795 & 2539965) back in the day. So it looks like I will on the hunt for the correct 044 springs and swap them out instead of simply rebuilding these. I found a few more little surprises underneath. Definitely will be adding a right side trunk extension since the lower half is totally missing!!!! WTF. In the third picture you can see the side marker housing showing from the bottom (circled). 007 (600x800).jpg 008 (600x800).jpg 011 (800x600).jpg 001 (600x800).jpg 015 (600x800).jpg
     
  11. 75slant6

    75slant6 New Member

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    Ok Ross, I couldn't stay away.... Had to create an account just to keep up with your build. If it ends up being anywhere near as nice as your Duster it's gonna be a damn fine ride!!
     
  12. 76orangewagon

    76orangewagon Well-Known Member

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    It's will be as nice..... but just as a factory stock restoration. Stay tuned.
     
  13. TC_Cuda

    TC_Cuda Well-Known Member

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    What a great story and a great car. I also will be following your built
     
  14. 76orangewagon

    76orangewagon Well-Known Member

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    Thank you,
    I forgot to mention in the initial post that the Cuda was an International Military sales ordered car. 057.JPG
     
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  15. 68GSS440

    68GSS440 Member

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    hi Ross, Ken here.... are 450 series wheels body color or new for '71 black? so with a stock restoration are you gonna hide any (reversible) tricks like radials, 4 wheel discs or a hidden stereo? what add-ons from your first ownership are you gonna keep?
     
  16. 76orangewagon

    76orangewagon Well-Known Member

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    Ken,
    Definitely radials...considered a hidden stereo but not sure yet and I think I'll keep the car with the four wheel drum HD brakes instead of upgrading. As far as the add on parts from 26 years ago...The rallyes will stay since I haven't located a set of the 450 wheels, if I do track down a set I would have to paint them body color even though the broadcast sheet says they were black. I'm having the correct 4972S carburetor rebuilt by Harms and will use that and the correct 3512100 intake so the LD 340 will go and If I can find a set of 3418621 & 23 exhaust manifolds with the correct build date I'll use them instead of the ones I took off the 70 AAR Cuda. The Rallye dash will go in favor of the correct non-rallye one and the Gull wing is still up in the air, that depends if I can find an undrilled OEM deck lid that I wont want to drill into instead of a AMD replacement.
     
  17. TC_Cuda

    TC_Cuda Well-Known Member

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    That is very cool that it was a Military sales ordered car. This is the first time I have seen one with that code.
     
  18. 68GSS440

    68GSS440 Member

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    I guess with new brake fluid and modern compound brake shoes the car should stop well enough. i was just thinking with all the modern upgrades that went into your Duster, you'd want to upgrade the 'Cuda too, but with things that wen't readily noticeable. speaking of the Duster, have you seen hotrod.com s coverage of the SEMA show? there is a PT '68 Dart with a lightning rods shifter........
    10 Coolest Mopars At SEMA, Plus Wicked Cool Gallery! #TENSEMA16 - Hot Rod Network
     
  19. 76orangewagon

    76orangewagon Well-Known Member

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  20. 76orangewagon

    76orangewagon Well-Known Member

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    A few missing important pieces of documentation showed up today courtesy of Dave Wise from MMC Detroit. 002 (800x433).jpg 003 (800x600).jpg 006 (800x408).jpg
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2016