Original 1970 Plymouth Barracuda 440 ‘Rapid Transit’ Resurfaces After 47 Years

Arguably the most striking muscle car of its era has been found after decades in hiding.

byJames Gilboy|
1970 Plymouth Barracuda 440 "Rapid Transit"
Mecum
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One of the most iconic concepts from the golden age of muscle cars has surfaced after not being seen in public for decades. It's the 1970 Plymouth Barracuda "Rapid Transit," whose jet-age influence oozes from every pore.

This 'Cuda was one of a trio of customized Plymouths assembled as part of the make's famed Rapid Transit System ad campaign, which traveled the nation from 1970 to 1971, according to Motortrend. Accompanied by a Duster 340, Road Runner, and a Funny Car, this 'Cuda was styled by Harry Bradley of Hot Wheels fame and fitted with unique paint and bodywork, like its nose cone and electronically actuated shaker hood. It was based on an early- or pre-production E-body, wearing VIN No. 5, and was outfitted with a 440-ci (7.2-liter) V8 with the "Six Barrel" carburetor.

Despite being one of Plymouth's performance car stars, the "Caravan 'Cuda" disappeared after 1976 and hasn't been seen publicly since. Not even Rapid Transit car collector Steven Juliano managed to reunite the car with its brethren before his collection was disbanded following his death in 2018, according to Hagerty. But finally, the Rapid Transit 'Cuda was finally seen in public again last week.

As documented by Auto Archaeology on YouTube, the car went into storage in 1976, where it remained until this year. The Barracuda may have fewer miles on it—967—than it does cat paw prints, which dot its flaking paint. For the most part, it's in good shape, with Auto Archaeology noting its new-car smell to still be present before interviewing its builder, Chuck Miller.

And in one month, the Rapid Transit 'Cuda will come up for auction at Mecum in Indianapolis. It's not the only significant 'Cuda coming up for sale—the very first 1970 model with a 426 is also on sale for $2.2 million. It's not hard to imagine the more striking Rapid Transit eclipsing its asking price, though.

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