Chet Biggers’ 1970 Plymouth AAR ‘Cuda
The Plymouth AAR ‘Cuda had many hallmarks of the muscle car era: a scooped fiberglass hood, front and rear spoilers, side-exit exhaust, and bold strobe stripes along the body. Contrary to their big block and Hemi-powered brethren, however, these pony cars had more balanced performance. They were named after Dan Gurney’s All American Racers and built to emulate the race cars of the SCCA Trans Am circuit, with a heavy-duty suspension tuned for cornering and a potent 340c.i. small-block V8 topped with Six Barrel induction – a trio of Holley two-barrel carbs.
When Chet Biggers was first smitten by seeing an AAR ‘Cuda as a kid, it was likely the exciting visual elements and color that drew him in. After all, Chet grew up learning about bodywork in his father’s custom body shop, so flashy paint frequently caught his eye. It’s little wonder the AAR made a lasting impression.
After spending 20 years pursuing a music career in Nashville, Chet rediscovered his interest in cars in his late-40s and soon started looking for an AAR ‘Cuda. A friend in Florida clued him into this one, a two-owner vehicle stored inside since the late-’70s. It was mostly complete and mostly solid, except for some typical trunk pan rust.
Chet handled the rust repair and other bodywork on his own, putting the skills he learned from his father to good use. “Learning the newest technologies associated with bodywork was a challenge at first,” Chet says. “It had been 25 years.” As you can see, the results are top-notch, including the PPG Rallye Red paint and tricky Organosol black hood finish, both applied with help from his father, Paul.
The 340 engine was rebuilt by Chuck Vaughn to factory specifications, including the hi-po heads, exhaust manifolds, dual-point distributor, and of course, that Six Pack induction setup. It’s backed by an A833 four-speed and an 8¾-inch rearend with a Sure Grip and 3.55:1 gears. The 15-inch Rallye wheels were wrapped in correct Goodyear Polyglas E60 and G60 tires.
Things are equally factory correct inside, where there’s reproduction black vinyl upholstery from Legendary Interiors, Rallye gauges, a pistol-grip shifter, and a three-spoke woodgrain steering wheel, all as Plymouth intended.
Chet is rightfully happy with the finished product and excited that the car has helped introduce he and his wife, Tracy, to the world of old car enthusiasts. Even better is that Chet’s grandson, Jayden, spent a lot of time in the garage during the restoration, allowing that spark of enthusiasm to ignite in yet another generation.
Photos by John Jackson & Damon Lee