Video: 1971 Hemi ‘Cuda Coupe Star of Mopar Obsession

Mopar Survivor Specialist Frank Badalson’s, infatuation with Mopar Muscle began in 1968 with the Roadrunner. His first car, a yellow ’73 318 cubic inch, 2-barrel ‘Cuda was his second choice after his father shot him down, as he had his heart set on the 1970 Hemi Challenger sitting next to it on the lot. From there his interest in the cars grew the more he saw them, and in 1975, he bought his first Hemi, a silver 1971 Hemi ‘Cuda for $1900; the same car that sold at a Mecum 2016 auction for $1,000,000.

In 1976, while on the police force, Frank took a class taught by the FBI on Harley-Davidson motorcycle fraud. That was there where he learned how to collect and process engine and frame numbers off of Harleys. He immediately took what he had learned and started to apply it to his hobby of collecting and restoring Hemis.

Fast forward to now 40 years later, and he has amassed a thorough collection of information on original part numbers that helps him to authenticate the cars, which is a large part of his work at American Performance. With a 14,000 square foot body shop and engine shop, Badalson’s team handles everything from full, ground up restorations to engine work but his specialty is “survivor cars,” making sure cars like the 1-of-59 made 1,800 original-mile 1971 Hemi Challenger they have in the shop are, and stay all, original.

The car in the video, an all original 7,000-mile 1970 426 Hemi ‘Cuda, has a hydraulic lifter camshaft, automatic transmission and a 4:10 Super Track Pack rear. From the deck to the tires this machine is completely as it came from the factory. It even has the build sheet from Hamtramck still in the original location behind the glovebox.

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