Have you dreamed of reliving the glory days of match racing? Do you want to go on a barnstorming road trip of America’s drag strips in a Poly-powered time capsule? If so, this 1965 C500 Dodge ramp truck and 1966 Plymouth Barracuda Gasser offer one-stop shopping for an instant race team. Minus the crew chief, of course.
The matching pair is up for sale by Ashley Gilbert, from Ozark, Missouri, and offers Mopar fans or drag racing buffs the opportunity to drive away in a crowd-pleasing combo of V-8s.
Gilbert doesn’t have a whole lot of history on the hauler, but as best he can tell, it was used when new to tote around a Hemi-powered A/FX Plymouth in the Missouri or Arkansas area. Those ramp trucks usually went to factory-backed teams and would then be sold to other racers as the newest ramp trucks came out. Although some previous owners have contacted him, Gilbert can’t pin down its origin.
Gilbert and his friend Jim Mezel flew out to Aromas, California, and purchased the pair from a man named Joe Hickenbottom, who paired the truck with the perfectly appropriate 1966 Barracuda Gasser.
The truck had made its way to California in the 1990s, when Hickenbottom bought the car as a consolation after the bubbletop Chevy he was after had been sold before he arrived at the location to score it himself. With no drivetrain and no axles, the ‘Cuda was in sad shape, but the seller offered Hickenbottom a 383 big-block and a 727 trans to get the project underway and sweeten the deal. Sold!
The ramp truck already had quite the paint job, complete with stars and stripes. It also had a bit of a mismatch going on with the length of the body and the length of the chassis. An additional three feet or so of wheelbase sorted that out, and some stars and stripes to the ‘Cuda made a matching pair that traveled nicely on the highway. They were a big hit at the nostalgic Eagle Field drags and any strip where the two turned up.
The ‘Cuda has been known as “Leggin it” since the ‘60s, and several former owners have been in touch with Hickenbottom and Gilbert since it’s been rehabilitated and put back on the strip. Hickenbottom sold it to spend more time on some of his quicker cars, and now Gilbert is selling it to concentrate on his own race car and hauler combo, a Ford cab-over and the Mustang that used to belong to his father, the car that Gilbert rode in on his first trip home from the hospital.
The truck did quite well on its return to Missouri, making the drive from California with little more than a new power steering hose, an expedient fix for the two-speed rear axle, and just over $1000 on gas. The 318 Poly V-8 and four-speed had no problem crossing the Continental Divide, but it was thirsty. You can read more about that trip here.
Gilbert is hoping to sell the truck and ‘Cuda this winter or spring, but has toyed with the thought of bringing it to a Mecum or Barrett-Jackson auction. That would mean one last road trip for the heavy hauler.
“I hope someone takes it and races it,” Gilbert told us. According to him, the car’s not too quick and only runs high 11s, but we’ve got an idea that the fans that loved seeing it on the strip weren’t slaves to the clock. This pair just makes people smile.