Greg A 1966 Plymouth Barracuda 2dr Fastback Coupe

Junk to Jewel

Back in 1978, a friend of the family stopped by to visit. He was driving a 1965 Plymouth Barracuda. It was competition orange with a black 3" racing stripe along the side, Just under the upper body line. Once I laid my eyes on that machine, it was for me, love at first sight. I fell in love with the Cuda. It was a fairly short wheelbase, mid-sized body and that rear window gave the car a "fast-back" look. However, I did notice things about the Cuda that would need some attention. The rear end was sagging almost to the ground, which indicated to me that the leaf springs had lost their temper and the car also leaned heavily to one side. I also noticed that it had 4 different sized tires on it. The tail-light lenses were dirty and cracked, and the chrome left a lot to be desired. The dash was in tact but the rest of the interior was pretty messed up, due to the fact that this (believe it or not) was my friend's 'family' car, and he had 3 little kids at the time.

Looking beyond all the problems with the Cuda, I saw great potential for a super street machine.

So I asked my friend if he wanted to sell it, and I was blown away when he said yes. So the next obvious question was :"how much?" He was an older guy, and to him it was "just a car" and he gave me a price of $100.00 cash. I told him I had to wait til I got my next patcheck and I would buy the car from him. Meanwhile, my father buys the car for my little sister whom at the time had just gotten her drivers license and, like most other little girls, didn't know squat about a car. (Oh, I forgot to mention that the engine smoked like a chimney, too). Needless to say, I was pretty upset at my dad for doing that, but I was happy that the Cuda was still within reach, within the family.

One night my sister was cruising the streets and the Cuda finally broke down. My sister called my father and now he had to deal with calling a wrecker, towing the car and paying that expense. Kmowing my dad like I did, I knew this was the perfect time to make him an offer, which I did. I gave him the same thing he paid for it, and he was happy to take it.

Nights after work and sometimes on week-ends, and many trips to the bone yard, another friend, who lived across the street and me wrenched on the Cuda. The 273 was baked so we put another engine in it, a stock 360 from a '71 Chrysler New Yorker Custom. We also installed the 727 tranny from said car. Eight moths later, the Cuda was up and running, with dual exhaust and straight glass packs, she had a roar that would rival anything on the street. One night, after leaving a visit with same sister that had the car before me and her new husband, My girlfriend (who now has been my wife over 30 years, were en route home, when I asked her if she'd like to go sit by the ocean for a while...and she said yes. So my destination changed from heading home to the ocean front, and thats when disaster struck. A drunk driver ran a stop-sign right in front of me and I had nowhere to go, so I slammed into the back of the car and sadly to say, that was the end of the short-lived Cuda saga. This was in 1979.

I salvaged what I could from my Cuda and made a vow to find another one. Ten years later, and after having been through about six or seven Cudas, looking for one worthy of a rebuild, I found one, thanks to another friend that stopped by my house one day and said, "Hey, remember that old Cuda you used to have?" He said, "I know where there's another one just like it." After he left, I jumped in my truck and zoomed over to where he told me the Cuda was...and sure enough. ..sitting in a line with about fifteen other cars, destined for the bone yard, I saw the Cuda. With field grass up to its door handles and the quarter panels flopping in the wind. The sale price for the car was $100.00, and add twenty-five dollars to the guy to tow it to my yard. The rest, as they say, is history.

25 years later, I now own one of the hottest cars on the street. Plum crazy with a special mix in the paint, all new interior, new cragar S/S Wheels, it's got a '75 Chrysler 360 engine stroked out to 408, with about 365 H.P. She's won numerous awards at New England car shows This truly is a labor of love and my "Baby" makes me very happy.

P.S. Since it's not a '65 Cuda, I took the nose from my '65 Cuda parts car, had it restored to perfection and installed it on my Cuda.

0 Reader Comments

Join the Discussion