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A vehicle described as the 'Holy Grail' of American muscle cars sold for a record-breaking $3.5million (£2million) at an auction in Seattle recently, solidifying itself as the world's most expensive Mopar model sold to date.

The classic 1971 Plymouth Hemi Barracuda convertible cost just $5,000 (£3,000) when new but has recently found renewed fame when similar models starred in 'Fast and Furious' and 'Gone in 60 Seconds'.

The stunning machine, finished in blue, sent pulses racing at the Mecum Auctions sale; its top-to-toe refurbishment ensuring it is one of the most glorious examples of the original 11 manufactured still in existence.

Boasting a rough-and-ready 7.0-litre V8 engine, the 'Cuda was capable of easily hitting the 150mph mark in its day and with the correct suspension set-up, it was considered one of the best handling muscle cars ever made.

This particular example boasts a sought-after, floor-mounted four-speed gearbox and was once owned by American cartoonist Russell Meyers, famous for his 1970s strip Broom-Hilda.

In 2000 the vehicle underwent a full restoration to its original specification down to its white-lettered tyres and bucket seats.

A spokesman for Mecum auctioneers said: "We are simply delighted that such a special automobile reached a record price - it is the crown jewel of muscle cars and reflects the growing interest in and appreciation of some of the best cars that ever came out of Detroit."