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Nash Bridges 70-71 Hemi ‘Cuda Convertible

Funny how things look good on TV but, NOT so good in Real Life
Restoring America's Mopar Memories

Reprinted with permission

The Nash Bridges television series, well known in Mopar circles for the yellow '71 Hemicuda convertible driven by Don Johnson has gone into the history books, but not without leaving its mark on the hobby. The star (to us) was not Don himself, it was the car and yes, this is the Nash Bridges 'Cuda you saw on TV. Not the car sold at auction in 2003, that was Don Johnson's personal car. It sold at Barrett-Jackson for 148,500,00. This is the actual car you saw most in action, on the show! This is what they call the "close-up" car.

Named by Mopar Collectors Guide as "The Reigning King of the surviving Nash Bridges converts," this one has gone through an extensive nut-and-bolt restoration by one of the nations finest Mopar restoration shops; Totally Auto Inc. Known for their outlandish eye for detail, Nash was no exception. Yes, this is the same shop that produced that B-5 Hemi ’Cuda that sold at Barrett-Jackson for a pro ported 216,000.00 in 2010! Nash’s entire restoration was handled in-house and here you can see just how much work went into preserving this historical musclecar. They even powdercoated and detailed all the camera mounts, supports and associated wiring that goes along with it, and it’s all in this car! Like Cheech said at Barrett Jackson, “If this car could talk”.

The original VIN presents the authenticity of the car. VIN # BS27HOB163146 documents this car as #4 of 4, the closeup car. Interestingly enough, this car may have been the only REAL 'Cuda used in the show! Of the four built for the show only one was a '71. That car (#3) was originally a 318 which was swapped to a 440 for the show. Funny, that car was an automatic which may be the reason you never heard a gear change during the driving scenes. Makes sense considering that was the car used for the sound bites! Another tidbit? It also had a pistol grip shifted automatic. This one is a true 4-speed car. Ironically, #3 was sold on Ebay years ago and as this is written it is on Ebay again after a recent repaint. We wonder if they dug as deep as Totally Auto did, and what they found.

Loyal Mopar fans know; this Nash Bridges 'Cuda started life as a blue '70 340 4-speed convertible and was transformed into a '71 for the show. But, Team Totally Auto put a Hemi in it. Yes, the owner of this drop-top has the historical right to owning the first Nash Bridges Hemi ‘Cuda Convertible that actually has a HEMI powering it, and with a four-speed to boot! Yup; pistol grip and all. Although the Shaker said HEMI on the show, this is the first real Nash Bridges ‘Cuda; HEMI car! It's hard to believe but of the 4-cars used in the show; none had a HEMI. The one that sold for 148,500.00 was a 440! This one has a real “brand new” 465 horsepower 426 fire-breathing HEMI!

After being beat-up on the show, this 'Cuda was needing a little TLC. First shot at the revamp went to a so-called restoration shop in Oklahoma, mistake one. It got worse fast. Lots of folks seem to brag that they were the ones who built the Nash Bridges' cars for TV. Frankly, we don't see much reason to brag. Once Totally Auto dug into the car, they found areas such as the decklid with almost an inch of Bondo! There was no less than 4 layers of paint and…OOOPS…a big gaping hole from a previous wing! Don't believe everything you see on TV. The car was originally going to be Curious Yellow for the show. Word is; Curious Yellow simply glowed in the lens of Hollywood causing a halo of Greenello around the car. In fact, the more subdued "correct" Bahama Yellow was used and these ace restorers were not about to rewrite history. The car now wears a beautiful, show quality basecoat clearcoat finish in “Bahama Yellow”.

In typical Totally Auto fashion, they primped, powdered and plated everything to BETTER THEN NEW. Drive this one anywhere, (and who wouldn't want to) and everyone seems to yell, “There goes the Nash Bridges ‘Cuda”. And drive it does, with a 426 Hemi and the 4-speed, this was not just some cosmetic restoration. This one runs and drives better than new. Your choice; listen to the in dash CD or the coated 3-inch exhaust, both sound great. We are talking a “New” Hemi ‘Cuda convertible here, a clone yes, but one with a pedigree of a TV star.

This is the finest example of its kind and it has all the goodies to back it up. Paperwork? How about the original registration listing “Nash Bridges Productions," or Business cards with Nash and Casidy's name on them. How about the actual license tag from the prop department? It is still on the car! This one was shown to a massive amount of enthusiasts at the Carlisle All-Chrysler Nationals and the crowd went wild. At that time there were less than 50 miles on it since it left Totally Auto.

Funny how good things look on TV but not-so-good in REAL LIFE. Totally Auto deals in REAL LIFE even when restoring a REAL piece of FICTIONAL history. X



















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