In 1970 Chrysler Corporation was determined to get Chrysler Canada some notoriety for its all new Hemi Cuda. That was when a Canadian 1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda NHRA race car was delivered to well known Canadian racer Jim Ronoghan along with a 1970 Dodge Ramp truck with which to campaign it. Ronoghan was a skilled race car builder and Chrysler’s agreement with him was that he would tweak the mph numbers but stay in the high 10 second ET’s. For the 1970 NHRA season Jim would win Western Canada’s Division 6 Championship in order to compete at the Winter Nationals in Pomona, California in Super Stock D as a 4-speed, a very competitive class. Jim called the car Old Trapper, a car many Canadians will remember today. It was an NHRA Division 6 record holder.
In the spring of 1971 Jim’s friend Garry Wolinski of Edmundton, Alberta acquired the car from Jim. He renamed it Tuff-A-Nuff, and for the next 12 years he raced the car in NHRA Super Stock D automatic. The car was originally born with a Hemi 4-speed transmission, but had been converted to a 727 Torqueflite by Jim Ronoghan. Ronoghan had built the Hemi motor (which Garry believes is not the original engine.) He says he ran that same engine from 1971 to 1983. “The only thing I had to do to it was resleeve the block to strengthen the cylinder walls,” he told us. Wolinski’s best time was set at lower elevations on the California coast when he ran 10.20’s at 129.87 miles per hour. With cam and gearing changes he ran 10.90’s at 124.5 miles per hour in Edmunton which is 2,400 feet above sea level.
Wolinski now has offered his Canadian 1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda for sale after showing the car for many years. He says he’ll only sell it to a nostalgia racing collector though. “I want it to go to a collector because this car has a lot of true racing history,” he said. Amazingly, he says his Hemi Cuda has just 1,936 original miles on it. Most of them were put on one quarter-mile at a time. “I would haul it to car shows,” he said, so that he never had to register it to drive it on the street.
“The car was never registered which is very unique,” he told us. That makes it very rare as a collector car, truly a one of one. “It was never cut up or butchered or anything.” In fact, he says the interior is still all original. After 1983 Wolinski said the car just stayed in storage. In 1996 he said he pulled the engine and had it rebuilt while he had the body bead blasted and repainted as original.
Here are some of the things Wolinski pointed out that make his Canadian 1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda so rare. When it was delivered by Chrysler to its first owner it was meant to be a race car so it does not have the Rallye dash that you see in every other Hemi Cuda in existence. It also came radio delete and was outfitted as a bare bones factory car. He says the car still has the original Dana rear end and SS springs.
When Ronoghan owned the car he had special Hooker Competition headers made for the Cuda. Wolinski says they were the first set of headers ever made for an E-body car by Hooker. They are one of a kind and could not be replicated.
See the photo below of the fender tag on this Plymouth Hemi Cuda. Wolinski says he has decoded the fender tag and knows that it matches the radiator support and cowl tag. It also has the Hemi Cuda fog lamps.
Important to its provenance, this 1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda was one of only two such cars to run NHRA in Canada that year. This one is the most famous of the two.
Click here to get the contact information for Garry Wolinski if you are interested in purchasing the car. The ad is currently running on the Cars On Line.com website. To see more historic Chrysler cars click here to see the listings in the Mopar Muscle Car Section.