The late sixties and early seventies is where two major motorsports began to grow into their own little spectacular bubble of progress. One that got popped in 1973 but before that, you had for instance NASCAR hitting a new peak with the “Aero Warrior” era; the ’69 Ford Torino Talladega, Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II, Dodge Charger Daytona and the final one, the ’70 Plymouth Superbird. The other sport? Trans-Am. It too had it’s golden age around 1968 that lasted to about 1973 and it made for a more competitive scene cause it had a lot more variety in contestant’s cars, plus it had two plain categories: Under 2.0L and Over 2.0L.
This was cause of the pony car popularity explosion, so you had factory-backed teams sprouting out every where you’d see, you had AMC Javelins, Chevrolet Camaros(even a sole Nova), Ford Mustangs, Pontiac Firebirds, Dodge Challengers and of course, the one featured here; Plymouth ‘Cudas. And all these teams had some proper talent behind the wheel, for instance AMC had Team Penske, Chaparral drove Camaro Z/28s(famous for the Chaparral Cars), Bud Moore Engineering drove Mustang BOSS’s(NASCAR champions) and the talent just goes on. Plymouth hired All American Racers(famous Indy 500 and Formula 1 racers), specifically Dan Gurney and “Swede” Savage(whom died in ’73, which was famous for sitting alive in a pool of burning fuel and survived the ordeal, just to pass away allegedly from hepatitis-B in hospice care after the accident) and they gave ’em ‘Cudas to roll with.
Though, what makes the car so unique is two parts amazing, one part sadness. Obviously, the rules were similar to NASCARs in which all participating cars needed homologation special versions with over thousand produced so Plymouth made a one year only version of the AAR ‘Cuda, slapped a 383ci V8 Six Pack in there, gave it the special bits like the front air spoilers and the ducktail rear wing and the now iconic strobe stripes and blacked out hood and fender tops, it was as close as you could get to a powerful Trans-Am car without actually sitting in the race. The thing that makes it a bit sad is that the AAR Team quickly quit with Trans-Am racing after coming in dead last overall in the 1970 season together with Dodge, both getting under 20 points and being 20 points behind third place.
But despite that, the car grew a legacy. It looked awesome, it was a ‘Cuda and it had a bit of a humble yet obvious team sponsorship badge on it, like you could still easily see it was a factory stock car but still unique simply cause of the strobe stripes. Hell, even in kit form it is unique.
This is the only 1970 ‘Cuda that exists in 1/24th scale form. It saw its first release in 1995, based on the Monogram 1971 Cuda and in part spliced together with the Monogram 1970 Challenger T/A kit(a similar car, in style as well as features), it still has some pieces of the Challenger on some sprues and a couple of HEMI ‘Cuda bits here and there but mostly Challenger. Hell, the entire rear fascia is on one of them, go figure. The re-release of the kit from 2007 is miles better than this original as Revell had time to improve, for instance what this kit lacks is a decal sheet with useful extras like side marker lights, ‘Cuda logos and such and the ’07 kit has them all. Downside? The ’07 kit is nigh impossible to find used, let alone new.
Luckily, I had some spares from the 1970 ‘Cuda kit that I replaced with the awesome decals from Keith Marks, so the sidemarker lights and such weren’t a issue, but they would’ve been nice if they had been included. Speaking of which, there’s some glaring differences between the all new tool and infinitely awesome 2013 new tool – it’s got some shape issues for the most part. For instance, the grille is totally unique to this kit which is awesome but it has a far too exaggerated curvature to it and the same goes for the tail end. But that’s actually kind of it for the downsides! Other than the over-exaggerated features, the kit is freakin’ wonderful. It all goes together like a dream and the engine bay despite it being a Monogram kit by birth with Revell touches is actually less of a slab infested bore-fest and looks a lot more like the real thing.
The only thing I’d say is that, with it being a Monogram kit, it’s simplistic as sin. The engine block is five pieces all in all, the whole front grille is one piece just missing the lights and chrome bumper. But what the hell, if the simplicity was the reason that it goes together as well as it does, then fine, it’s totally forgiven.
I didn’t do a whole lot to the kit’s color aside from the obvious black front end and whatnot, the car is colored in the Go-Go Green Plymouth color and it has this nice high glossy sheen to it so I left it alone entirely, it was the color I wanted to begin with(even bought a can of spray paint to mimic the color!). The only things I truly did differently to it were the wheels, the BF Goodrich Radial T/As and the Magnum 500 wheels were pretty much the sole change. That and wiring the engine, but that doesn’t really count as a change.
Good grief this kit is nice, I ended up buying three of ’em. Why? Well it meshes fantastically with a few ideas I got, like a 1971 340 ‘Cuda and making a little home improved 1970 426 HEMI AAR ‘Cuda. It’s wonderful that the ’70 and ’71 kits share so much!
’70 Plymouth AAR ‘Cuda 340-6 specifications:
Skill Level: 2
Molded in: Go-Go Green