A lot of people are wondering where the car is today.
From 1996 to 2001, television audiences were mesmerized by the on-screen adventures of San Francisco cop and his wise-cracking partner in Nash Bridges. However, just as compelling was the beautiful 1971 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda convertible Don Johnson’s character drove in the series. It was featured on many of the posters and other advertisements. Naturally, many have wondered whatever happened to the famous Mopar and we have the answer.
What might shock anyone who watched Nash Bridges and fantasized about driving the Hemi ‘Cuda is that the whole thing was a farce. Several cars were used for filming, which is standard practice for television shows and movies, but none of those were 1971 ‘Cudas. Instead, producers acquired ‘Cudas and Barracudas, then modified them to look like the extremely rare ‘71 Hemi ‘Cuda convertible. Yep, the same people who deceive you with special effects also faked a muscle car.
The story goes that Don Johnson actually wanted to drive a classic Pontiac GTO Judge in the show. However, the star was talked into going with the ‘Cuda convertible instead. That presented a problem since somewhere between 7 and 10 1971 Hemi ‘Cuda convertibles were made, which is why the decision was to use some movie magic to create clones.
To start off filming, producers tracked down three four-speed Plymouth convertibles. One was a 1970 340ci V8 ‘Cuda with the Shaker hood, while the other two were 1970 Barracudas with a 318ci V8. Swapping the front ends, front fenders, rear ends, and rocker panels was part of the transformation.
Then there was the trouble with the color of the cars. Johnson had absolutely fallen in love with a 1971 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda convertible in an ad which was painted Lemon Twist, a High-Impact color which the actor felt accurately represented the pinnacle of the golden age of American muscle. Johnson also elected for a white top and interior.
However, that Lemon Twist paint which looked great in person didn’t look so good on camera. That’s when producers opted for Curious Yellow, a deeper shade with a better on-screen presence.
After a few seasons of the show, producers acquired a fourth car. It was a 1970 Plymouth ‘Cuda convertible with a 440ci Six-Pack. However, after the show was canceled in 2001, that fourth car and the two Barracudas were sold. Don Johnson kept the 340 ‘Cuda for himself and had it completely restored. Johnson had the car auctioned off through Barrett-Jackson back in 2003 and it pulled down a mighty $148,500 thanks to its on-screen fame.
Then in June of 2012 the 440 car, what people lovingly refer to as Nash Bridges #1, appeared on eBay Motors According to the seller, it had been restored again in 2006. There were also a few changes made, namely a 426ci Hemi V8 crate engine dropped in for 425-horsepower on tap. Not everyone will agree that was a wise move, but the famous muscle car was scooped up again, so someone thought it was worth buying.
Whoever owns the car seems to be keeping a fairly low profile, but it’s only a matter of time before it resurfaces, either at a show, through social media, or in another auction whether virtual or in-person. With nostalgia for the show seemingly enduring well enough, we would expect the car to command a pretty hefty price at this point, even with the engine swap. After all, it wasn’t exactly kept in factory condition from the 90s on and that ironically is partly what makes the drop-top so desirable today.
As for the other three cars used in filming, they’ve seemingly disappeared. They’re still out there, but nobody has been advertising them for sale or anything like that. Perhaps they’ll resurface as well one day.