1970 Plymouth Cuda ‘King Kong Cuda’ is one of the greatest street machines ever built in Australia.
Behind the scenes, Graeme Cowin is one of the godfathers of the car community; an extremely influential figure in the sports of drag racing and sprint karts. So, it’s no surprise his King Kong Cuda is a big deal… a very big deal.
The Plymouth Barracuda, in all its glory, serves as Rocket Industries’ promotional vehicle, paraded at events around the nation and has won basically everything there is to win.
The original plan was to build a ‘street-able’ Hemi-powered version but as the build unfolded, the car required some serious surgery to achieve the desired finish. So, what was supposed to take a year to complete blew out to five years and six times the budget.
“The car took control and we had to feed it. It consumed people’s lives and we all wanted to quit multiple times. Believe me, if I had known what it was going to take, I would’ve never started. But I guess it was something we had committed to and I like to finish what I start,” Graeme muses. “But in the end, the car surpassed all expectations and we are proud of what a great team of people has achieved.”
The Cuda’s ‘King Kong’ theme harks back to drag racing of yesteryear when the 426 Hemi engine was known as an ‘elephant motor’. When you got bored and stroked one out, though, it was then referred to as a ‘King Kong Hemi’.
The sheet metal was all ironed out, and King Kong’s new custom PPG charcoal grey was laid. The rest of the car is a 528-cube EFI Hemi detailed with acres of chrome, hooked up to a 727 Torqueflite and Strange 9-inch diff.
As a work of automotive art, King Kong Cuda’s got it all – 700 horses, belly-scraping ride, mile-wide rubber, a gazillion gauges, trick this, crazy that, monster the other. Despite the chest-thumping engine, the Barracuda has never been on a race track. Even so, King Kong Cuda is one the most epic street machines ever built – period!
There’s nothing subtle about King Kong Cuda. It’s loud, it’s brawny and it’s downright sexy.