In 1970, Plymouth turned up the wick on its performance lineup, launching its Rapid Transit System. The automaker commissioned custom versions of a Plymouth Road Runner, Duster, and Barracuda to showcase its RTS lineup for a traveling roadshow to Plymouth dealerships. Eventually, Plymouth retired the roadshow and the RTS lineup. The cars disappeared and were forgotten by all but a few die-hard Mopar enthusiasts.
Recently, Auto Archaeology discovered the 1970 RTS Barracuda, hidden away in a suburban Detroit garage for 46 years. It only has 967 miles on the odometer and still wears its original, untouched custom paint scheme. The current owner bought it in 1976 and stashed it away. Despite not being washed, the car is in amazing condition. The inside is like a time capsule for 1970, down to the solid-state AM/FM stereo radio.
Under the shaker-style hood, the Barracuda retains its original engine with the "Six-Pack" carburetor setup. A special electric motor is mounted to the firewall, which would shake the shaker scope at car shows. The fender tag indicates the RTS Barracuda was the fifth one produced for the 1970 model year and was equipped with power steering and brakes.
The Auto Archaeologist interviewed Chuck Miller in the video, who customized the 1970 RTS 'Cuda. According to Miller, the designs were done by Harry Bradley, who designed many of the Hot Wheels cars. Miller translated Bradley's drawings to the 1970 'Cuda, built for the Rapid Transit System roadshow.
Seeing Miller talk about the cars he worked on, like the 'Cuda and a Hurst Olds, is a treat for the first-hand account of history. But it's also surreal the way he's so matter-of-fact about how many of the custom cars were used up and discarded like old appliances. It makes you wonder how many other special or one-off cars were truly lost and makes you appreciate it even more when something like the 1970 RTS Cuda or the Bullitt Mustang reappears out of history.
It also makes you a bit envious but appreciative of how people of that era lived their best lives driving these cars. As Miller says, "It was a fun time back then."