1970 Plymouth Cuda Super Stock
Competition # 3539

Upon the agreement to form a new Super Stock team for the 1975 season, (please see car #3100 for more on this), Leroy Palarchio, former Pro Stock driver for the RAMCHARGERS, set out to pick himself up a car to race in Super Stock. He located a 1970 Cuda. It was Burnt Orange with Black interior. It had a 383 big block with a 4-speed manual trans. This was perfect, as the Cuda that would be driven by Dean Nicopolis was a Hemi with an Automatic. Immediately, upon purchasing the Cuda, the engine was removed and the car was sent to Hatton's House of Krazy Kolor, where legendary painter Paul Hatton would convert the subtle Orange car to a larger than life White and Candy-Red RAMCHARGERS race car. At a quick glance, you could tell Leroy's car apart from the Dean Nicopolis car, as it had painted white bumpers and a pair of really cool, very 70's, Blue headlights.

Back at the shop in Taylor, Palarchio and the crew went to work building a killer Hemi to run in the Cuda. Once installed in the freshly painted car, a Dana 60 was also added. The new Super Stock team set out to battle all comers. Unfortunately, this car was the least successful of the trio. Flack and his Small Block Duster won so often, that NHRA constantly kept sanctioning him into different, more difficult classes. Nicopolis and his SS/DA Cuda would eventually win 37 Wally's throughout its racing tenure as a RAMCHARGERS car. But Leroy was in the most difficult class of the three. Super Stock D. The stick shift class was full of heavy hitters, and though it wasn't slow by any means, the #3539 Cuda struggled to be competitive.

After two seasons of racing in Super Stock, some changes were made. Ted Flack, growing ever frustrated with NHRA rule changes, traded his Duster for a Dodge Dart E/Gas car, and left the Super Stock Class. Dean Nicopolis motored on with his Cuda, having continued success. But responsibilities back at the shop and the grown costs of running a car that wasn't winning a lot became too big of an obstacle for Palarchio. So after two seasons in Super Stock, Leroy sold the Cuda in 1977, to focus more on the shop and retail RAMCHARGERS stores, along with Dick Skoglund, Sam Messina, and Phil Goulet.

A year later in the summer of 1978, the former RAMCHARGERS Super Stocker was spotted and photographed at the Hemi Nationals car show. Having been repainted to a factory FE5 Rallye Red color, complete with stock Hockey Stick stripes, it was unknown to anyone that this car had any kind of racing pedigree. It just looked like a stock red Hemi Cuda with huge rear tires and a roll cage. The all-new "Pro Street" look that began its popularity in the late 70's.

The Cuda was featured in the September 1978 issue of Popular Hot Rodding Magazine as part of that event. But no word about the Cuda's history. Spotting the Cuda in that magazine, an east coast Mopar fan fell in love with it and tracked down the car and its owner, eventually striking a deal and buying the car. Aside of adding rear disc brakes, the car remains untouched since he purchased it in 1979. It comes out to occasional car shows and makes a few passes at local dragstrips in his hometown, but essentially has remained hidden for almost 50 years.

Until 2023. We found out about the car and tracked down the owner. He was invited to our 65th Anniversary Reunion in Michigan, in August of 2023. And to our delight, still wearing that bright red and black disguise, the Cuda showed up... to be reunited with its former driver for the first time in 46 years! Leroy Palarchio was on hand to celebrate with us. Leroy being the wonderful man that he is, autographed the inside trunk lid of the car and took many pictures with it and its current owner. The car was also thoroughly photographed by Tim Costello of Mopar Collectors Guide, for a future issue.



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