EDITOR’S NOTE: The following blog was written by John Gunnell, owner of Gunner's Great Garage Restoration Shop in Manawa, Wisconsin. Gunnell regularly contributes articles and industry-driven observations for THE SHOP magazine and eNewsletter.
Chicago’s Muscle Car & Corvette Nationals (MCACN) lines up lots of dream machines. Last year’s dream car was a 1970 Barracuda with four doors. It was built to draw attention to the restoration products marketed by ECS Automotive Concepts.
ECS Automotive Concepts makes restoration parts, including decals, glass and exhaust systems. In this case, ECS made an entire car.
Walking around the ‘Cuda, one is tempted to wonder if it isn’t a factory-built car. But Dave Walden of ECS Automotive Concepts doesn’t claim his four-door ‘Cuda is genuine. Actually, it’s better than any four-door ‘Cuda Plymouth might have built years ago. Walden is a perfectionist. He proved this a while back when he did an incredible restoration of a 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T.
There are lots of restored Challengers, so Walden also did a meticulous restoration of a 1970 Plymouth Valiant four-door sedan. That moved the needle a little bit off the pole, so he went even further with his bright red 1970 ‘Cuda.
“What Dave and his team did was create an absolute work of art, love it or hate it,” said Bob Ashton, MCACN’s managing member. “You simply can’t ignore the amount of research and craftsmanship that went into this build. Literally built from the ground up, there is virtually no piece of sheet metal on this car that hasn’t been stretched, cut or modified in some way. And the quality is OEM throughout, inside and out.”
The entire ‘Cuda project was documented by Walden and his crew in order to explain what exactly they did to make this one-of-a-kind car. When the project was completed, Walden reproduced the original 1970 ‘Cuda sales brochure with one change: He added a red four-door model complete with photos and specifications. ECS Automotive Concepts used all of its manufacturing knowhow to create something that never was . . . or was it?