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This site is about the tv cop show Nash Bridges, starring Don Johnson, which aired on CBS with 122 episodes in 6 seasons. The series is currently syndicated in many television markets and is available on DVD.

 [The Original Unofficial NASH BRIDGES]


The Origin of the NASH BRIDGES 'Cudas

October 3, 1998

Be fore-warned - this one is for the hardcore 'Cuda and MOPAR fans, so read on...

What Ed Briggs, the author of this 'Cuda article, settles, for once and for all, is the how and the why the NASH BRIDGES production ended up using 1970 'Cudas made to look like the rarer 1971 'Cuda. It wasn't done to be deceptive, but rather a series of decisions made on availability of 'Cudas. Ed can be contacted at ebodyman@earthlink.net   —  Gordon

by Ed Briggs

In Mid-April 1995, I received a call late on a Friday nite from a Frank Benito requesting three 1971 Cuda convertibles. He apparently had heard about me since I had a large collection of Cudas and original parts all in Orange County.

I thought it might be some kind of joke at first since he wanted all four speed cars and had to have them in his body and paint shop by eight o'clock the following Monday morning! I knew immediately that he did not know much about these cars since at that time the current registry of 71 Cuda converts indicated only 158 known out of a total production of about 294 cars (all engine sizes). After talking to him awhile and judging from the seriousness in his voice, I decided he was on the level. He then told me that he owned Same Day Body and Paint (on San Fernando Road out by Santa Clarita, north of the San Fernando Valley) and that he had signed a contract with a production company that was shooting a pilot the following weekend in San Francisco. The star of the show was to be Don Johnson. He obviously did not know how difficult it was going to be to get three cars and make them all identical in one week!!

Based on this information, I got on the phone the next morning calling my local contacts to find these cars. I owned one of them and agreed to sell it to them. To my knowledge, there was only three others in southern Calif. that I knew of at the time and I was not able to get ahold of those owners. I told Frank that the only way I could see meeting the deadline was for him to purchase 1970 models which they made alot more of and I would supply all the parts to turn them into looking like 1971 models. Since he was under immense pressure, he agreed and I connected him with an acquaintance of mine in Redondo Beach named Rick. Rick had a 1970 model in premium condition that was a 340/4 speed, blue on blue, white top, power windows, and already had the shaker hood and rubber bumper on it. Frank and Rick got together that Saturday afternoon and Frank bought the car. Rick's car ended up being used as the main car in the shooting of the pilot since it already had many high-performance options installed on it.

Frank on his own located another 1970 model that needed alot of work. I met Frank at the annual Spring Fling Mopar show which was coincidentally being held that Sunday in Van Nuys at Woodley Park. He came up to me and asked where my convertible was that he was going to buy. I told him I did not bring it with me to the show and apparently his right-hand man forgot to tell me to bring it to the show. I was planning on delivering it to him the following day. He panicked because of the short fuse he was on and ended up buying the third car from Alan Foxx. It was also a 1970 but it was only an original 318 low performance Barracuda convert. In summary, all original cars are 1970 models made to look like 1971's.

Anyway, all that week I made trips from my storage to Frank's business supplying all the shaker hoods and assemblies, 71 grilles, mirrors, lower valences and inserts and the much coveted 71 gilled fenders that make that model standout. All cars were mechanically put together by Jeff Bobst of Waverly, Iowa, who became Frank's in-house expert. I was invited to the shooting of the pilot in San Francisco that following Saturday and Sunday (April 27 & 28) but could not attend due to the wedding of my niece. By that following Friday and just in time for shipping to the Bay area, all three cars sat in Frank's shop looking beautiful and identical and Jeff Bobst and I just had big smiles on our faces. Jeff did attend the shooting of the pilot and had the time of his life!

A few interesting facts about the cars. It was Don Johnson who decided to use the 1971 Cuda convert on his show. He was the one who chose to have the cars painted yellow with white interiors. Actually that color is a 1970 color known as "lemon twist". After shooting the pilot they were not sure if it would show up well enough in filming. According to Frank, if they decided to change colors, they were going to have an episode where the Cuda was crashed and Nash would end up with a different one in purple or red. In addition, in the shooting of the pilot, Don Johnson blew up the 340 engine in Rick's car driving one of the stunts. Don apparently does about 95% of the driving. Alan Foxx who I previously mentioned started a company in El Paso, Texas by the name of Ultimate Rides (915)859-5155. Alan now supplies the Cudas for the show and just a few weeks ago told me they were finishing another for the show that has a high-performance 440. It will be way faster than any of the cars that have been on the show.


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