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'It’s an amazing car': Windsor man revving into Detroit Autorama with one-of-a-kind Barracuda

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A Windsor car enthusiast is gearing up to enter his rare 1970 AAR Plymouth ‘Cuda into Detroit’s Autorama this weekend, after having it restored back to its original assembly line glory.

Tony Romeo said he purchased the vehicle about three years ago after discovering it in rough shape in a neighbour’s barn on Central Avenue.

“I couldn’t believe it when I [saw] it,” Romeo recalled. “It was his dad's car, it was parked. His dad died, passed away. The son had nothing to do with cars and he parked in the garage and it sat for 22 years.”

Romeo said he had most of the restoration work done by AGAR in Georgetown, Ont. while still working on other elements at home in Windsor.

The AAR was only in production for one year in Hamtramck, MI. with just 2,724 'Cudas built in 1970.

Of those, only 150 were sold in Canada, with Romeo noting his car was bought in Windsor and is the only AAR ‘Cuda known to exist painted FF4 (lime green metallic), with a bench seat and automatic transmission.

Tony Romeo is seen with his rare 1970 AAR Plymouth ‘Cuda on Feb. 28, 2024. (Chris Campbell/CTV News Windsor)

“I’ve seen ‘Cudas, but not in this stage with the green interiors, with the counter shifter, with the bucket seats.”

“This car was ordered by executives from Chrysler's, the original owner,” Romeo explained. “It's one out of one because the way it's built. If you look at this car, it has green seats, column shifter, green interior, green buckets, green everything. I got all the paperwork from the guy that signed it. It's one out of one out of 2,700.”

He continued, “When we found the right paperwork, we did it all original with the factory specs and I got the build sheet for this car. When we bought the car we pulled the back seat out and we found the actual build seat and they went by the bill sheets step by step on this car.”

“It's a 340-6 pack 3 carburetors dual exhaust out the side legally,” he said.

Tony Romeo is seen with his rare 1970 AAR Plymouth ‘Cuda on Feb. 28, 2024. (Chris Campbell/CTV News Windsor)

Romeo told CTV News he applied to show the car at this year’s Detroit Autorama hot rod custom car show, knowing how difficult it is for a vehicle to qualify. Romeo said he was elated when he received his acceptance notice for this weekend.

“My whole life I wanted to get to Autorama and I finally got a car and I get to go to Autorama,” Romeo exclaimed. “It’s the top of the cars, the best shows. They’ve got to accept you. If you don't get accepted, they just deny you and that's the bottom line. It's the top of the top cars.”

“It's an amazing car!” he added. “We'll see what it does. I hope it brings back a trophy.”

The Detroit Autorama runs March 1-3 at Huntington Place in Detroit.

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