Acme is pleased to present The Winningest European Chrysler: Chrysler of France's famous #42 1970 Plymouth Hemicuda that was driven by Henri Chemin!
This Hemicuda was imported directly to Paris by Chrysler’s French Competition Group (Ecurie Chrysler) in early 1970 and went on to become the most decorated muscle car of its era winning in excess of 45 FIA sanctioned circuit and hillclimb races from 1970 to 1973. It was a three time French Group 1 (Touring Class International Category) Circuit Champion (71, 72 and 73) and a one time Hillclimb Champion (72). This was the car personally attended to by Henri Chemin, renowned pilot and Director of Chrysler Competition Group’s official French race efforts from 1968 to 1973. This Hemicuda remained the standard bearer for the official Ecurie Chrysler racing stable as it expanded throughout the early 70’s. Chemin personally enlisted the assistance of Matra’s (Ecurie Chrysler’s Joint Venture Partner) Lemans winning team of race engineers in setting up this car in order to ultimately master the hairpin turns of France’s famous circuit tracks as well as the rigors and treachery of France’s top hillclimb venues. Unlike other “Hemis” that in the United States only saw success on the quarter mile drags and the sweeping turns of the oval tracks, this Hemicuda became a more complete race car, capable of not just acceleration and top end speed but also of competent and consistent braking, nimble turning and controlled sliding. This Hemicuda scored multiple victories at each of renowned circuit tracks Montlhery, Paul Ricard, Magny Cours, Dijon, Nogaro and Croix en Ternoix and hillclimb venues Mont Dore, Brides Meribel, Chamrousse, Poilly sur Surein, Autun, Pertuis and Les Andelys. Over time the car became famous amongst French racing enthusiasts and, in Chemin’s words, wherever it went always elicited a loud response, be it cheers or jeers, but also, always respect.
Shortly after its race career ended its race identity and badging were painted over and the car was stored and occasionally driven in the French countryside by its new owner, a gypsy. In the early 2000’s a group of French race enthusiasts purchased the car and stored it in a barn outside Toulouse. In 2012 the car was shipped by its new owner to the United States and underwent an extensive fifteen month restoration after which it was reunited with Henri Chemin for the first time since their champion racing days. In late 2013 the Hemicuda was shipped back to France where at Circuit Paul Ricard the track was cleared and this Hemicuda and its old friend Chemin ran 15 laps alone around that same circuit the pair had won twice previously over forty years prior. On that sunny October day an eighty year old Chemin described the car as “maybe even better now than then.” This Hemicuda was the Chief Judge’s Award Winner at both the 2013 Greenwich Concours D’elegance and The Elegance at Hershey in 2014