As time has allowed for more and more Vipers (and Viper-powered Ram SRT10s) to be parted out, there’s been a steady influx of snake-powered restomod classic Mopars hitting the pavement. Simply scan through a cursory search on Google Images for “Viper-powered Charger” and your eyes will glaze over in V10-motivated B-bodies, but few have the gall, the stones to dig into a true ’71 Plymouth ‘Cuda like the skilled craftsmen at Sainz Auto. The Phoenix, Arizona paint, body, upholstery and performance shop was tasked with the job of creating a truly one-of-none machine that today stands the testament to dedication to a build.
While much of this E-body remains recognizable as being pure Plymouth, there are enough fine touches, custom nods and slight tweaks to make this ‘Cuda unmistakably unique. The crew at Sainz stripped the coupe down to nothing, as so much of the pony car was slated to be replaced, modified or restored. Rather than tying the unibody together with a set of subframe connectors, the ‘Cuda received a complete custom tube chassis, heavily fortifying and tying together the factory subframes. The new frame also allowed for better mounting of the chromoly independent rear suspension.
The front suspension was equally updated with a Magnum Force tubular K-member and engine cradle, heavy-duty sway bars, and all balanced on new QA1 adjustable coilover shocks at all four corners. The body rolls on massive 18×8 (front) and 20×16 (rear) one-off three-piece wheels doing little to hide the 6-piston Baer disc brakes clamping down on drilled and slotted 14- (front) and 15-inch (rear) rotors. The body too received a great deal of work, extending the rearmost lip of the decklid and quarters into a faux-Viper GTS spoiler, and a new vented and opened rear valance panel exposing the modern 3.73 rear.
Inside of the cabin, Sainz engineered an all-new custom steel dashboard, going so far as to design and develop their own instrument panel, gauges and gauge bezels and CNC their own billet shifter arm and ball while using a Hurst shifter kit (but more on that later). New late model high-backed seats were installed and a custom center console fabricated. All of which was wrapped in creamy buffalo leather. And we mean everything. While the cabin enjoys niceties like a Pioneer stereo JL speakers and amps, air conditioning and power rack-and-pinion steering, this nasty ‘Cuda is really all about what’s under its customized AAR-style hood.
The original client who hired Sainz Auto nearly 8 years ago to create this monster demanded the meanest, nastiest Viper-powered package imaginable. True to form, an aluminum Viper GTS V10 and Tremec TR6060 6-speed manual gearbox were procured. While the manual was fitted with the aforementioned short-throw shifter kit, the powerplant underwent far more extensive modifications: A pair of Garret turbos force-feed the V10, with a duet of TurboSmart waste gates and blow-off valves whistling, as the Viper plant spun the dyno rollers at 700 horsepower with a scant 7psi. The whole package is controlled by a standalone AEM computer and harness.
As hinted earlier, the AAR hood bulges with matching humps to clearance the turbos with mesh vents to keep temperatures at a minimum. Painted in a trio of mile-deep gloss black, Viper Red and glittering charcoal gray metallic, the finished product rolled out of Sainz’s shop six years after work first began. With over 6,000 man hours poured into the machine, the ‘Cuda had never been driven – only shown – and eventually auctioned, where Peter Fink, owner and operator of Certified Transmission, purchased the ‘Cuda to be part of his collection.
For those unfamiliar, Fink’s Certified Transmission is one of the industry’s largest suppliers of remanufactured transmissions, servicing nearly 200 transmissions a day and maintaining an inventory of 3,500 units (ready to ship), with an additional 7,000 units available through its distributors, ranging from certified service shops to monster trucks and blown tractor pull rigs. His passion for muscle cars never waned ever since starting Certified Transmission in 1979 out of a two bay garage.
“This thing gets more looks than anything else in my collection, even more than my Ring Brothers’ cars,” Fink told Mopar Connection, motioning to two very customized pony cars, a Camaro and first generation Mutang. “I’ve shown it a few times. People just love it.” He admitted to a few bits that he’d like to have revisited in the near future, looking to dial down some of its more ostentatious parts. “The name is pretty cool [CudaVenom] and gets lots of looks. Kids like it because it looks like a ‘Hot Wheels’ toy.”