A vivid imagination brought to life.
In 1969, seeking to bring vibrancy and diversity to the muscle car sector, Chrysler unveiled the E-body platform. It was foundational for the third-generation Plymouth Barracuda and the debutant Dodge Challenger. Chrysler also introduced a visually striking High Impact color palette in sync with this innovative release.
The High Impact palette originally featured four vibrant hues, with five more colors being added in 1970, making the Barracuda available in a whopping 25 different shades. Plymouth effectively utilized a brochure depicting a 1970 HEMI 'Cuda, adorned with 25 distinctive stripes on the passenger side, to market this colorful range.
Beyond its kaleidoscopic appearance, the 'Cuda sported a wheelie bar, a roll cage, drag racing slicks at the rear, and side-exiting exhaust pipes. Although it was an illustrated representation alongside a Rapid Transit System ad and never actually constructed by Chrysler, it etched a lasting impression on a young Tim Wellborn.
Fast forward four decades, Tim materialized this vibrant vision, creating the "Paint Chip" 'Cuda, a unique amalgamation of production Barracuda and a homage to Plymouth’s 1970 color array. This vibrant recreation, distinguished by its myriad of colors, roll cage, drag-spec wheels, and other distinctive features from the ad, has become a renowned spectacle at the Wellborn Muscle Car Museum and various car shows, including the 2023 Music City Mopar Show in Nashville, Tennessee.
The "Paint Chip" 'Cuda showcases five out of ten High Impact colors, including FY1 Lemon Twist, EV2 Tor Red, EK2 Vitamin C, FJ5 Limelight, and FC7 In-Violet, each highlighting different segments of the car, creating a visually stimulating masterpiece. Other notable High Impact colors, such as EF6 Rallye Green, EL5 Bahama Yellow, FM3 Moulin Rouge, GY3 Curious Yellow, and FJ6 Sassy Grass, were not included, leaving room for conjecture and artistic interpretation.
But it’s not only about the High Impact colors. Plymouth also offered other eye-catching hues in 1970 like Citron Gold, Scorch Red, Frosted Teal, Burnt Orange, Jamaica Blue, Blue Fire, and the Ivy Green accenting the other half of the 'Cuda, intensifying the car’s overall aesthetic appeal.
Tim Wellborn’s “Paint Chip” 'Cuda, dubbed “the most famous muscle car that never existed,” serves as a tangible manifestation of a vivid imagination and the passion for the timeless and colorful legacy of the Plymouth Barracuda. It stands as a testament to the aesthetic evolution of muscle cars, encapsulating the spirit of innovation and boundless creativity of the automotive industry of yesteryears.