On March 9th 2007, Toronto, Ontario played host to the Performance World 2007 annual indoor car show. This is a mixed bag of some of the coolest cars in Ontario and surrounding area. One of the largest multi car shows of its kind. It's a welcomed start to another exciting car show season! This year we were in for a real surprise!
On Thursday and Friday I began receiving phone calls and emails from my friends and Cudaworld visitors telling me about the 12th export Hemi Cuda being unveiled at this year’s event. Confused, excited and intrigued I decided to do a little digging on this car. Local car restorer and friend Alan Gallant took some pictures of the car and posted them on Moparts.org for all to view.
A Cuda in this color combination, looks stunning. Apparently, some would argue about errors made during the restoration which prompted many to take a closer look. Regardless of the speculated flaws made, the car presents very well and hosted crowds all weekend. What caught my eye was the sign hanging in front of the car, claiming this was 1 of 3 export cars sent to France in the early 70's and 1 of 12 71 Hemi Cuda Convertibles ever produced. How can someone make a claim like this? We all know how rare these cars are... Where has it been all these years?
A couple of years ago, I heard from a source that this very same car was secretly shipped to Montreal for restoration by the current owner to ensure it was properly restored back to its original configuration. The story went cold and I like many were left in the dark as the Cuda underwent its restoration. Now, fast forward to present day and literally 45mins down the road sits the alleged 12th wonder of the world, a 1971 Hemi Cuda Convertible!
With out getting into too much history about these cars, it's easiest to tell you that this is the mother of all Cuda's. 426 Hemi, convertible, 4speed, shaker, need I say more? Up until this article it was believed there were 11 of these cars produced by Chrysler. 7 of them were built and remained in the US, 2 were sent to Canada and now live in the US and according to "the know it alls" in the business, only 2 of them were exported to Simca-Chrysler in France. According to the owners records there was in fact 3 cars sent to France in 1971. 1 Winchester Grey (GA4) and 2 White (GW3) Cuda's.
I must admit, the thought of this 1971 Hemi Cuda coming out of hiding after all of these years was truly amazing and I just had to learn more about its history, secrecy and life in Europe. What condition was it in? Who owned it? Why was it hidden for all these years? Who owns it now? What the heck is it doing in my hometown of Toronto?