“Riding loud Harleys down Route 66 with no helmet is not the most sensible thing to do, but you will always remember it. This ’Cuda will be about as close as I will get to that with four wheels,” says Russell O’Donoghue. A man with an appreciation for all things American; he worked in the States for more than 20 years and, more pertinently, owns this astonishing 1970 ’Cuda.
He couldn’t have chosen a more desirable base to build from. ’Cuda convertibles are nigh on impossible to find and rank among the most desirable muscle cars on the planet. Of course, that desirability comes at a cost, but after years of working as a superyacht captain, he was ready to own the car of his dreams.
But the ’Cuda dream very nearly turned into a nightmare before the build even started. Though it was a show car in the land of stars and stripes, on its arrival in New Zealand the car was found to be an utter basket-case. Had it been a common vehicle it would have been scrapped, but being one of only 12 1970 Gran Coupe Convertibles built, that was never going to be an option.
It’s a situation that could have put Russell off cars for good, and while he says he will never build another car to this extent, we are extremely glad he saw the project through to completion, because the result is one of the most impressive vehicles ever to featured in NZV8.