In the world of classic cars, few examples boast the remarkable history and preservation of Paul Sonday Sr.’s 1974 Plymouth ‘Cuda. This original-owner, unrestored vehicle is not just a car; it’s a testament to the vibrant Street Machine era of the 1970s. Purchased new in November 1973 from Superior Motors in Kingston, PA, for $4,500, this ‘Cuda has been meticulously maintained and customized, securing its place as a celebrated piece of automotive history.
This 1974 ‘Cuda, a survivor from the 70s Street Machine era, has garnered significant attention, including being featured on the cover of Speed and Kulture magazine’s Spring 2023 #14 issue. The magazine honored it with a 9-page spread, aptly naming it “The Era ‘Cuda.” This recognition underscores the car’s status as arguably one of the most well-preserved 70s Street Machines on the planet.
Paul Sonday Sr.’s journey with the ‘Cuda began when he was just 19 years old. Over the following 8-10 years, he customized it, drawing inspiration from the prevailing Street Machine trends of the 70s. The ‘Cuda underwent two significant custom paint jobs. The first was in 1975 by Rich Bell, and the second, a more renowned job, was in the late summer of 1981 by legendary metal flake master artist Hank Z. Known for his work since the 1960s, Hank Z employed nitrocellulous lacquer candy-color paints, alpha jewel metal flake, and his clear coatings to create a stunning finish still admired today.
Under the hood, the ‘Cuda boasts a 340-6 pack engine setup, incorporating a 340 ci 4-bolt main block and heads from a wrecked AAR ‘Cuda. Paul acquired these foundational parts for just $50 in the late 70s. The engine setup, connected to a beefed-up 727 torqueflite auto transmission by Sepanak Racing Transmissions, and an 8 3/4 rear fitted with 4:11 gears, ensures the car’s performance matches its striking appearance.
The interior of the ‘Cuda is equally impressive, featuring front and rear seats from a parted-out 1970 ‘Cuda, upholstered in naugahyde diamond tuft with black piping. The custom work extended to the interior door panels, rear wing, and factory vinyl top, all adorned with diamond dust and white pearls by Hank Z. A velour headliner, fuzzy rear deck, Autometer gauges, and a 10RPM Sun tachometer without a redline complete the classic 70s feel.
Externally, the Cragar SS mags have been a staple since 1977, and the car underwent suspension upgrades in the early 80s, with the removal of old school traction bars for re-arced springs and coil-over shocks. Remarkably, this ‘Cuda has clocked only 37k miles and has been shielded from inclement weather and temperatures below 50°F, contributing to its incredible preservation.