HomeCar CultureRapid Transit Caravan ‘Cuda Uncovered!

Rapid Transit Caravan ‘Cuda Uncovered!

The long-MIA Mopar sees light for the first time since 1976


Do you remember Steve Juliano? He’s the collector (RIP) who tracked down all surviving members of the Rapid Transit Caravan minus one. That car, a ‘Cuda, was either missing or the owner didn’t want to sell (Steve tended to be coy, never showing all his cards). However, the car was uncovered last week, seeing light for the first time since 1976.

For you Brand X fans who need a refresher, Plymouth had the Rapid Transit System (RTS) starting in 1970, a team of performance cars that was ready to take all comers: Duster 340, Road Runner, GTX, ‘Cuda and Sport Fury GT.

1970 Rapid Transit Caravan promotional item (Image courtesy of
1970 Rapid Transit Caravan (Image courtesy of

For the auto show circuit and the Performance Clinics that were hosted by dealerships and racetracks, a band of custom RTS vehicles were conceived to tour the U.S. Designed by Harry Bradley (of Hot Wheels fame, among others) and built by Chuck Miller of Styline Customs, the Rapid Transit Caravan consisted of a brown 1970 Hemi Road Runner, red Duster 340 and a green 440-6 ‘Cuda. For 1971, the Road Runner was redesigned so a new Caravan car was commissioned, while the Duster 340 was repainted green and the ‘Cuda was repainted orange.

The 1970 iteration of the Rapid Transit Caravan ‘Cuda. (Image courtesy of Pinterest)

After the ‘Cuda was decommissioned, its whereabouts seem to be unknown. However, a gentleman named Tony (the current owner) happened to stumble upon it at a shop in downtown Detroit in 1976 and bought it. Disturbed by the attention the car was receiving, he put it in the garage and, like many projects, nothing proceeded from there. This famous car was hidden in metropolitan Detroit, right under everyone’s nose. Few knew about, though fewer knew where it was.

Sometime in the mid-1970s.

It wasn’t until last fall that the ‘Cuda saw light for the first time since 1976. It is remarkably preserved considering the circumstances, with the car showing 967 miles on the odometer. It was the 5th vehicle off the line at the Los Angeles plant per the VIN, with the fender tag showing a funky mix of unusual codes more commonly associated with early-production Mopars. As built, the V-code ‘Cuda was originally a red press car with Shaker hood, leather seats, AM/FM radio, and TorqueFlite automatic with console-mounted Slapstick shifter. In some places, you can see the red; you can also see the old green custom paint job poking through one of the side-view mirrors. A funky addition is the little motor in the engine compartment that would shake the Shaker hood scoop at shows.

Ryan Brutt, the roving “Automotive Archeologist,” goes over every inch of this very special ‘Cuda in the below video. Of special note is the interview with Chuck Miller, who also waxes poetic on other cars he worked on during the muscle car era.

Diego Rosenberg
Diego Rosenberg
Lead Writer Diego Rosenberg is a native of Wilmington, Delaware and Princeton, New Jersey, giving him plenty of exposure to the charms of Carlisle and Englishtown. Though his first love is Citroen, he fell for muscle cars after being seduced by 1950s finned flyers—in fact, he’s written two books on American muscle. But please don’t think there is a strong American bias because foreign weirdness is never far from his heart. With a penchant for underground music from the 1960-70s, Diego and his family reside in the Southwest.



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