Matching-numbers 383/auto with Gear Vendors overdrive. Fresh restoration of an unusual and rare Gran Coupe convertible. Leather seats, factory A/C, power windows, power top, killer 17-inch Rallyes. What a car!
The Gran Coupe was the top-of-the-line Plymouth pony car, a package designed for guys (or girls) who wanted their performance to also be luxurious. The Gran Coupe added leather upholstery to the front buckets, a center console (with a matching overhead console on hardtops), woodgrained trim on the dash and door panels, and a padded top with a special rear window. Which brings us to this rather awkwardly named Gran Coupe convertible, which obviously features all the upgrades it can, sans the overhead console and padded roof. How many were built? Surely no more than a handful, making this a very special car.
The Rallye Red paint is beautifully done over some very straight bodywork, and it appears to be wearing all its original sheetmetal, including quarters. There’s just the right amount of aggression with the body-colored bumpers and twin nostrils on the hood, but graphics are limited to the ‘383’ hockey sticks on the quarters, which is how it should be. You’ll note that most of the badges have been deleted and we like the ultra-clean shape on this fish and the silver insert on the tail is a great touch. Nobody can argue that this isn’t a great-looking car and that is certainly confirmed by the way it stops traffic in our showroom.
You can see why the Gran Coupe was an upgrade inside, where the front bucket seats are wrapped in black leather upholstery. Most of the stuff inside the car is new, including seat covers, carpets, door panels, and the wood appliques on the center console. The gauges are bright and clear and they all work as they should and the factory A/C controls now manage a modern Vintage Air system that’s effective and reliable. There’s also a modern Sony AM/FM/CD stereo with USB input, but it’s not an over-done system and other than the head unit itself, it’s invisible. There’s a switch under the dash that activates the Gear Vendors overdrive unit, which is a fantastic addition that makes this ‘Cuda a legitimate cross-country cruiser. You’ll also find factory power windows that are fully operational at all four corners. Overhead there’s a correct long-grain vinyl top, which was exclusive to Chrysler’s ragtops, and it powers out of sight and stows under a matching black boot. In back, the trunk is neatly finished with a reproduction mat, and you’ll note that the sheetmetal back there is in fine shape.
In the hardware department, this ‘Cuda delivers on its intimidating look with its original, numbers-matching 383 cubic inch V8. Originally topped with a 2-barrel carb (which still delivered an impressive 290 horsepower), it now sports an Edelbrock 4-barrel carb on a matching intake manifold, all of which were painted Hemi Orange with the rest of the engine when it was rebuilt two years ago. Internally, it’s still stock, so it has mountainous torque at any speed and that silky smoothness that defines Chrysler big block V8s. It’s correctly detailed with a factory air cleaner (the pie tin says ‘340’ due to a mix-up at the shop but a correct lid will be installed for delivery), hoses, clamps, and a fresh wiring harness. As I mentioned, the A/C system is entirely new from Vintage Air and uses R134a refrigerant so it’s easy to service. There’s also a giant electric fan up front to keep everything cool and a serpentine belt setup that improves reliability. And the way it runs will make you forget taking it back to stock. It barks to life easily, snarls at idle, and pulls like a freight train.
The TorqueFlite 3-speed automatic is virtually indestructible and seems to fit with the Gran Coupe convertible’s luxury mission, although the 3.73 gears out back make it punchy as hell around town—you’ll need a new Corvette to beat this car on the roll. To offset those somewhat tall gears, it has been fitted with a Gear Vendors overdrive, which is neatly integrated into the TorqueFlite’s tailshaft so the rest of the drivetrain remains stock. The suspension and brakes are fully rebuilt, the floor pans are in fantastic condition with just a light dusting of undercoating, and all the lines and hoses are new. There’s also a beautiful reproduction exhaust system that must have been very expensive, as it includes both mufflers and resonators to give it the proper factory tone. It’s been lowered a bit with custom springs and new shocks, and those spectacular 17-inch Rallye replicas are works of art and look killer with fat 245/45/17 front and 275/40/17 rear BFG radials.
This is a seriously cool car. You can take your Hemi car, but I’ll enjoy the performance of this smooth, torquey big block that’s also bulletproof reliable. Plus I get A/C, power windows, and leather seats to go with it. Unusual, attractive, fast, and with a great pedigree and matching-numbers, this is a great way to enjoy Chrysler’s best performance car of the period. Call today!
For more details and photos, please visit www.HarwoodMotors.com