Muscle car fetches a scarcely believable $3.5m at auction

| 19 Jun 2014

A 1971 Plymouth Hemi Cuda convertible has become the most expensive muscle car to ever be sold at auction after reaching the dizzying heights of $3.5m at Mecum's Seattle sale on 14 June. In total, $15,125,097 changed hands for 322 classics.

1971 Plymouth Hemi Cuda

The record-breaking Plymouth was one of just 11 convertibles built during 1971, and is reckoned to be the only remaining example still fitted with its factory engine and drive-train. It features a 426cu in Hemi engine that produces 425bhp, while the power is transferred to the road via a four-speed manual gearbox and a Dana 60 4.10 axle.

1971 Plymouth Hemi Cuda

The car had previously been owned by respected cartoonist Russ Meyer, who later passed it on to a buyer from Oregon for just $250,000. Following the sale, the Cuda had a brush with the law when it was confiscated by authorities during a drug investigation, and was later sold at auction for $405,000.

1971 Plymouth Hemi Cuda

Shortly after its run-in with the authorities, the Plymouth was fully restored by marque specialist Julius Steuer, who completed the rebuild in 2000. A few years later the vendor took ownership of the car, swapping it for a number of Corvettes from his collection. While the eight-minute bidding war undoubtedly helped to achieve the car's vast  price, it was not altogether unexpected; a similar example became the first muscle car to sell for more than $1m in 2002.

1971 Plymouth Hemi Cuda

The second-highest result was achieved by a 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 429 Fastback, which made $340,000, while a 1968 Shelby GT500KR Fastback fetched $160,000.