People make decisions to sell their classic cars quite often. Sometimes the car is a mess that needs more work than we care to put into it, and other times that car is so amazingly clean that we wonder why they would want to sell such a beauty, especially when they’re the original owner. We all wish we could be the person on the receiving end of the latter situation, but for most of us it’s only that: wishful thinking.
We have to realize not everyone is an automotive enthusiast, and if their car must change hands hopefully it will end up with someone who appreciates it more than they do. Angel Martel from Indio, Ca., is one of those lucky guys who was in the right place at the right time. While he admits he wasn’t a Mopar fanatic, he said he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to purchase this 1973 Plymouth ‘Cuda from the original owner.
When we first saw his black on black ‘Cuda roll up outside of our offices, it didn’t immediately sink in how significant it was until we realized that his car still had the original paint and interior. Angel says there have been some patches to cover up tears on the inside, but the entire interior is otherwise all original. Not bad at all for an interior and paint that are both coming up on 40 years old.
Angel has done a few exterior modifications to the car but left the paint alone since it was in such decent shape. On the outside, he’s replaced the hockey-stick decals on the side with reflective vinyl, which he says is an interesting sight at night. He added a reproduction deck lid spoiler from an earlier ‘Cuda, and you can’t miss the chrome Foose-design wheels. The staggered wheels are 18 x 8 in the front and 20 x 10 in the rear, with 235/40R 18 and 275/40R 20 tires.
Under the hood, the original 340 had some problems, so it was taken out and replaced with a stroked 360. The 4 inch Mopar stroker crank brings it to 402 cubes, and with a set of TTI headers and exhaust system the ‘Cuda sounds about as healthy as it looks. He’s also had the transmission beefed up with a shift kit, magnesium flywheel and a 3500 stall converter.
Martel contributes the condition of the car to his close friends Victor Figueroa and Joe Herrera, and his son-in-law Mark Hull. All of them helped Angel with the restoration and to keep it maintained. Angel said his grandchildren are pretty fond of the car, too, and with his grand daughter getting close to the age he knows she’s going to be asking for the keys pretty soon.His future plans are to do a complete suspension upgrade and add 4 wheel disc brakes. The engine will get some future upgrades as well, being treated to an aluminum radiator and a billet pulley kit to dress things up.
Angel says that L&L Automotive in Palm Desert, Ca., did all of his engine and service work, and is responsible for keeping it running so well. We’re going to venture a guess that if Angel wasn’t a Mopar fan before he bought this car, he is definitely one now.