neat little PDF file. According to Mr. Groux this was the car that was purchased by Mr. Saintin in the Mid 80's. Is this the car everyone is calling the 12th wonder of the world? Why is this car being shown as 1 of 12 or 1 of the 3 export cars? Did they really think they would get away with it? There is no way that anyone can pull a car out of the past without someone raising an eyebrow or conducting some kind of investigation to validate a car.

Their side of the story
Saturday Afternoon, I had the pleasure of actually seeing the Cuda with my own eyes. I was greeted by the owners of the Restoration shop CCR Technologies. Having spoken with them early in the morning I was surprised to learn this was their first Cuda restored at their Montreal Facility. I was very impressed with the fit and finish on this stunning Cuda and it wasn't hard to tell the level of work they do is high end. Of course with any car show there is always critics and someone who would do things differently. The gentlemen were very open minded and receptive to all the constructive critiscm they recieved in addition to the plenty of positive compliments. I know they were invited to view Mauro Brocca's OE Gold winning 70 4404bbl 4 speed Cuda for some tips and pointers. Mauro's Cuda is an incredible OE style car, that won OE gold at last years Mopar Nationals.

I finally had the chance to meet with Mr. Saintin Philippe & Mr. Lahrer Loïc to discuss the history presented by Mr. Francis Groux. Initially, there was an immediate language barrier and all of my questions would be relayed through Jean-Marie Croteau from CCR Technologies. Patiently I asked the questions... I asked him if this was the original body built by Chrysler in 1971 in Michigan and then shipped to France?

Mr. Saintin answered, "No". He confirmed that the car was infact destroyed by fire in the early 80's. I expressed my confusion about the sign that claimed it was 1 of 3 Hemi Cuda's exported to France, he began to explain that he was in fact able to salvage parts off the burned body and assembled on a donor car.

The donor car was in fact the 1971 383 Barracuda that was sacrificed to build the "tribute" car. Everything Mr. Francis Groux has said was true. They were attempting to buy the transmission from him and unfortunately could not agree on a price. According to Mr. Saintin this car was never displayed, built or advertised to mislead the public or the Mopar community. He never said the car was the original car. He wanted me to know that there was in fact a 3rd Hemi Cuda sent to France and it's VIN number was now on the Cuda displayed in Toronto. (Rebodied Car)

He also said he was able to salvage the original dash vin plate from the dead body of the 71 Hemi Cuda along with other items like the brake booster, and pedal assembly.

Upon inspecting the car earlier that morning, it was evident that someone re-stamped the cowl and rad support cradle. When asked about this,

Mr. Saintin said this was performed in France prior to the car arriving in Canada. It appears many of the service providers on this build were unaware of the tragic history of this car and the re-bodied 71 383 donor car.

Mr. Saintin claims the car was never misrepresented and was never on the market. He said he built the car for himself as a piece of history to pay tribute to the 12th Hemi Cuda. He reconfirmed his intentions were not to misslead any of the visitors at the show even though many left assuming it was a real multi-million dollar Cuda.

While standing there photographing the Cuda, several people commented on how valuable this car was. Another person muttered "How do you know it's the real car?"

I watched and listened as everyone pointed to Mr. Saintins signs and video screen which clearly

stated this was the original car. A small debate began and many were left scratching their heads. I am not here to comment on his intentions or pass judgement on his controversial presentation. I can only report what he told me. I know there were a lot of confused people wandering around the show not sure if this was real or not because his display did not say Tribute, recreation, clone or any other word to state the car wasn't the real car.

I would like to thank everyone I interviewed on Saturday about this car. Everyone was polite and more than happy to answer my questions. I am however, sad to learn the demise of the original 12th bajillion dollar Cuda. How awesome would it have been if this car was in fact the real deal?  Unfortunately, I have to report on the sad facts and tell the story the way it is. The 12th car is dead and even though parts of the car like the 4speed transmission, brake booster and, pedal assembly are still alive, it's hardly enough to build a car with and call it original.

This article was not meant to piss anyone off or ruin anyone's day. It's meant to simply report the facts and provide the information for people like you to decide on what's the truth. In a very short period of time this car has engulfed forum boards, emails and telephones. "Is it real?" is the first question people ask. No, It's a tribute car with an original piece of paper and a re-bodied Vin. Obviously because of the fire, everything else has been fabricated in order to complete the illusion.

I would like to thank Mr. Francis Groux for sending the fascinating history and current information about this car. The photo's and story were a real treat to read and share. - RIP #12

Chris Picco
Cudaworld.com
chris@cudaworld.com

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Photo Gallery of the 71 Hemi Cuda 'Tribute" Car


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