Tom & Cherylann Favoroso's 1970 Plymouth 'Cuda 440
(from Volume 26, Issue 311)

story by Tom Favoroso, photos by Michael B. Kelly


In the Summer of 1975 I had just graduated high school and was ready to buy my first car. I had always loved cars (especially muscle cars) as far back as I can remember. I was fortunate to grow up during the muscle car era as it was the best childhood I could ask for. My brother, who had served in the Navy during the Vietnam war (1966-1970), had bought a brand new 1970 Dodge Charger 383 Magnum SE/RT the year he returned home. It was a beautiful and fast car. I always had a love of all muscle cars built by the “Big Three”, but there was one in particular that for me was the Holy Grail of muscle cars; the Plymouth `Cuda. So the year I graduated, my brother and I set out to look for a `Cuda. We found that `Cuda on a used car lot on Frankford Avenue in Far Northeast Philly. I still remember it had 2,800 original miles on it and the salesman told us that the middle-aged man that traded it in said it was too much car for him. Although I had wanted a big block, we both knew I had a heavy foot and would have either gotten in trouble or wrapped it around a telephone pole, so I set my sights on a still very powerful 340 cubic inch `Cuda that was yellow with a black interior and vinyl top.

Over the next few years I had customized the car to my taste like most kids did back then. I took off the stock wheels and put a set of Cragars (skinny tires up front with L60’s on the rear w/ air shocks), modified the motor (mild cam, aluminum high rise manifold, 650 Holley double pumper and 4.10:1 rear gears), and I also removed the stock exhaust manifolds and put on a set of Hooker headers that attached to chrome side pipes. My friends and I took our cars to Atco Dragway in New Jersey to race in our class, but once there, they were worried about blowing their motors so I was the only one racing that day. I ran “A” stock modified class, about six consecutive races and won all six with my time tickets all in the 12 seconds, so it was a good ride home.

Most of my teenage years were spent cruising and racing around Northeast Philly with my friends and hanging out with other motor head muscle car guys at places like Burger King on Roosevelt Blvd., Front Street, the Meadows, a place called the Bridge, and the Concord roller skating rink where they had weekend dances, which is where I met and fell in love with a beautiful girl (Cherylann) who I would end up marrying and having 4 beautiful children with.

As life goes, I ended up selling my `Cuda to put a down payment on our first home as well as purchase a newer family car. From that day on I was always looking at the classifieds (no internet) for old cars, thinking one day I would purchase a fixer upper to restore. In my late twenties, after having a set of 2 year old twins and a newborn, I found a 1965 Mustang convertible for sale for $2,000. In 1988 when I brought the Mustang home the first thing my wife said was “ its not a `Cuda”, since the `Cuda has always been our dream car. Around that time we had moved to Delaware for my job. Over the next 20 some years and our 4th and final child, I had restored the convertible and started taking my wife and kids to many car shows and cruises (great family outings). One of the last memories of our Mustang was taking our daughter to the church in it, the day she was married. The priest, believe it or not was a car guy and found a way to work the car into the ceremony. We loved it, our daughter not so much…haha! As our children grew up, married and left the house, my wife and I decided as much as we loved the Mustang that we now had for almost 30 years, we still had that sentimental urge to have another `Cuda like we had when we first met and fell in love.

My search started in 2016, but `Cuda’s (at least real clean and somewhat affordable ones) were hard to find. So my search continued and one day in early February of 2017 I came across the ONE on the internet, a 1970 real “V” code Plymouth `Cuda 440-6. It also has a Hurst pistol grip for the 4-speed transmission, limited slip 9-3/4 inch Dana 60 rear end with 3.54:1 gears, power steering, power brakes with discs up front and drums out back, the correct Rallye Red exterior, and correct white and black interior. One issue I had was that for me to be able to purchase a real nice `Cuda like this one, I would have to sell or trade the Mustang for it. So I contacted the seller and we spent the next few weeks FaceTiming each others cars to ensure that they were in the shape/condition so that we were both satisfied. Then came the price and we both came to an agreement on a trade with me having to add some money to complete the transaction. The following day my wife and I rented a truck and trailer, loaded the Mustang and took the six and a half hour drive from Delaware to New Hampshire to pick up our new baby. On our way home I was overwhelmed with everything we just did and said to my wife, “Did we do the right thing?”….and as I was questioning her she leaned over to put on the radio and the song ‘Barracuda’ (from the group Heart) was playing on the radio; we knew that was a sign.

We have since moved to sunny Florida and our retirement gift to each other is being enjoyed in the great Florida weather. Riding together to car shows and cruise-ins certainly puts a smile on our faces.....and brings back many good old memories. CN