- The Washington Times - Friday, September 25, 2009

In 1985 Edwin Der was a University of Maryland student driving what he considered a very pedestrian car. He wanted a car with some pizzazz.

That summer he saw an ad offering a Plymough AAR ‘Cuda for sale. He brought the ad to the attention of his mother, Mee Der. She was not impressed and questioned a university student’s need for two cars.

Mr. Der didn’t get that car but he began an unsuccessful search for a similar one. Finally, he enlisted the aid of a dealer in Arlington who assured him that his dream car could be located.

Mr. Der was unaware, at the time, of the rarity of the car he sought. Now that he has one, he has learned that, “only about 2,700 were built during a six-week period in 1970.”

The car that he bought, with 57,000 miles on the odometerm was manufactured at the Hamtramck factory in Michigan. Mr. Der took delivery of the AAR ‘Cuda at the dealership in Arlington and drove it to his mother’s home in Chevy Chase. “I still didn’t get my mom’s blessing,” Mr. Der says. Three years later he and his Plum crazy-colored Plymouth moved to Gaithersburg.

Since then Mr. Der has kept his rare Plymouth in good condition. His car came equipped with three two-barrel carburetors sitting atop a 340-cubic-inch V-8 engine. The originalengine has been replaced. The four-speed manual transmission is shifted with a pistol grip handle on the floor-mounted Hurst lever.

The AAR ‘Cuda was produced in limited numbers in order to meet production requirements so that it was eligible to race in SCAA road racing. AAR is shorthand for “All American Racers.” All of the AAR ‘Cuda Plymouths were equipped with the aforementioned engine and carburetor set-up.Each one also had a unique stripe the length of the car called a “strobe stripe.”

The scoop on the lightweight fiberglass engine hood is functional and at speed, the “eyebrow” spoiilers on the front fenders and the rear “ducktail” spoiler function to keep the car firmly planted to the pavement.

In order to brake the 290 horsepower Plymouth, behind the 15-inch front wheels shod with E60 tires are disc brakes while braking chores on the G60x15-inch rear tires are handled by 11-inch drum brakes.

A letter from Chrysler in early 1970 to dealers informed them of the limited mid-year production of the AAR ‘Cuda. To encourage orders the letter announced that the AAR ‘Cudas were named after Dan Gurney’s All American Racers team and would campaign in 1970 Trans-Am competition.

Inside the black interior is a complete set of gauges in the optional Rallye dashboard including a factory-installed 8,000 rpm tachometer.

“I sweat easy,” Mr. Der says, “so black is not a good color.” Because of the heat in the cockpit, Mr. Der installed an aftermarket air conditioner to make the car more livable.

Factory-installed air conditioning was not available on AAR ‘Cudas, Mr. Der explains. These cars were made to go and everything else was secondary. The 150 mph speedometer is visible through the two-spoke steering wheel.

After all the years of owning the car the odometer is now approaching 72,000 miles. He reports that his mother still says the car is too loud, too rough and too hard.

“Regardless,” he says, “I’m glad I kept this car.”

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide