Origins

                                                              

It is not fully known what Ozzie Olson had in mind when he obtained this AAR ‘Cuda, nor why Olsonite proceeded to modify it by adding Olsonite and Gurney race logos. It is known, however, that Ozzie and one of his sons looked across a parking area of new ‘Cudas at the Plymouth Hamtramck plant (just up the street from the Olsonite World Headquarters) and together determined the car would be B5 Blue.

 

There were probably a variety of motivations contributing to the existence of this Corporate car. Taking all things into account, its procurement was most likely done:

 

-to honor and recognize Dan Gurney and All-American Racers during the 1970 Trans Am series. They were his team.

-to complement Olsonite’s business relationship with Chrysler Plymouth. They were Olsonite Customers and were now re-entering Corporate Trans Am racing with Gurney and AAR leading their program.

-out of the exuberance and personal flare with which Ozzie Olson did things, and the pride taken in his race sponsorship. That sponsorship would now, in a smaller way, included Trans Am. Chrysler Plymouth in this case was the primary.

           

Since the Olsonite AAR ‘Cuda was a Corporately owned car and highly imaged, some speculate the Cuda was intended to be a high-profile promotional unit. If that were the plan, that certainly was not how things unfolded. In reality, the car was used locally on the streets of Detroit to visit Chrysler Customers and as corporate transportation. Later it was requisitioned for private Olson family use and became a frequent sight along Lake St Clair travelling Lake Shore Road.

 

Although the damage to the ‘Cuda in the Olsonite fire (which occurred almost immediately after the car was built) lends to speculation that grander plans may have been scuttled, there are no records or recollections to indicate that was the case. The car’s miraculous survival of the devastating fire simply adds another dramatic twist to the ‘Cuda’s already unique history, but probably nothing more.

©2020 by Eldon Meyers