Ah, the late 1970s. It was a time of Disco balls, the start of punk rock, and platform shoes and mirrored sunglasses were everywhere. It was a wild and crazy time, and the cruisers in their muscle cars knew it. By this time, a lot of the hot iron was in the hands of used-car owners. Thrush Hush-equipped survivors were cranking out side-by-side runs to a cassette-driven backdrop of Boston, Journey, Zep or Sabbath, depending on your outlook, your in-crowd, and your current girlfriend.
Our predecessor company, Petersen Publishing, had a crew of hipsters who were sorting it all out, and part of that included a special edition magazine called Street Freaks & Cruisin' USA. These came out a couple of times a year, but featured the hottest cars and places, mainly in SoCal, but sometimes everywhere else. If you catch them at the right moment, today those staffers will tell you it was more than just show-n-tell; this was street auto culture in the raw, with buddies, girls, cops, hot spots, street racing, and the nastiest iron in the region showing up all at once. Yeah, it was the 1970s.
The vintage Pro Stock-style scoop is easily removed to make sure any onlookers are aware o
The South had its share of these guys, and one was a man named Marvin Cregger, who became the second owner of the 1969 Barracuda seen here. This was actually a fairly rare car from that year. This was one of just 166 examples built that year with the A56 "Cuda" package. It was a TorqueFlite/floor shift combo, and the 340 was the year-old 10.5:1 compression version of the LA-series small-block. The sport trim package also got you the lower black-out accent paint with stripe, and the fastback Plymouth became part of the local car scene around Frederick, Maryland. Marvin ended up with the car in 1973, and it returned with him to South Carolina, soon after.
First, a 340 replacement block was purchased and filled with hot goodies like a Direct Connection cam, and low-compression forged pistons. Yes, we said low compression. That's, because Gary Dyer, former pilot of the Mr. Norm funny car, was now turning out street supercharger combinations for a living, and one of his chromed V671 models ended up on the new engine, topped with a couple of 600-cfm Carter four-barrel carbs. Behind this was the 727 TorqueFlite, with a Sure Grip 3.55 gear out back.
The exterior did not get the crazy colors so appreciated on Van Nuys Boulevard. The factory F3 Frost Green Metallic was simply augmented by a Pro Stock–type ramp scoop that could be removed if you wanted the eye candy front and center. A group of Appliance slotted mags ended up on the four corners, the rear pair hosting fat ProTrac 50-seeries rubber. A little chrome emblem stating 'Blown' was screwed into the rear valance. Little else was needed; the factory original motor was tucked into a corner, and the boulevard got the rumble.
After a couple of seasons of the street beat, the car was carefully stored in a garage for almost the next three decades. Mopar parts collector Darrell Crum of Ft.Pierce, Florida, who knew about the 'Cuda from back in its glory days, finally got a chance to buy it in 2006, just as it had been built in 1976.
Interior: Bone stock, and even ’70s correct with the Audiovox FM-converter, and vintage Au
"Marvin only drove this car for about two years before he parked it," says Darrell today. "I knew about it and had always thought it was cool, so after I bought it from him. I went through and freshened the engine with new seals and bearings, replaced the fuel and brake lines, and added an MSD ignition and aluminum radiator so I could drive it. I also built a new transmission with some better parts to live behind that."
As a person familiar with vintage Mopar parts, Darrell liked the idea that the original stuff, including the numbers-matching driveline, was all there; he liked the idea the car's modified condition was also original to the era. With so many once-modified cars brought into the new millennia as restored factory-build cars, true survivor modified rides have become important in their own right. To have one that had remained in its street freak trim after all of these years made it a time capsule par excellence.
The 'Cuda only gets taken out and driven once in a while, and it still has 1970s air in the old tires. Darrel has a couple of other projects he can focus on when he wants to go out and drive for fun. However, before we were finished, he offered to show us that the Dyer's Street Blower combo could still get it done, and obliged us with a couple of smokies that would have made those old 'so seventies' magazine editors proud.
1969 Plymouth Barracuda 340
Car Owner: Darrell Crum, Ft. Pierce, Florida
In the days of excess, a blower on a small-block fits the bill.
Engine: Second owner Marvin Cregger, chose to start with a factory 340 warranty block, using the stock forged crankshaft, low-compression pistons, and X-code heads with stock adjustable rockers. Into this went a cam recommended by Gary Dyer, plus Dyer's 6-71 GMC supercharger outfit. A pair of AFBs feed fuel to this, while Hedman Hustler headers and blow-through mufflers finish it off. A custom-made oil pan was added at this time as well, and Marvin street-stomped in this trim. Darrell Crum freshened up the engine with new bearings and seals, a fresh Mopar Performance hydraulic cam, new fuel lines, and an MSD ignition system to keep the fire burning. A final adaptation was swapping the OEM radiator for a big volume aluminum version.
Transmission: Like the original engine, the factory 727 is now tucked safely away, as Darrell built a new one as part of the rebuild, using a manual valvebody and a 3,500-stall Turbo Action converter.
Differential: An 83⁄4 package has a street-balance 3.55 Sure Grip.
Horsepower and Performance: This is a street car; line up, shut up, and pay up to find out...
Suspension: Nothing serious, rear air shocks get the back end up where it needs to be—stuck in the 1970s...
Brakes: The factory package remains in place, but Darrell put fresh lines to make sure they work!
Wheels: The Appliance slotted mags were a mainstay of the era, adding Pro Trac N50-15 rear rubber makes it look the part, even if they do hang from the wheels slightly. It's period-correct.
Body: Garage kept and a summer night-life meant the body was still solid. Only change is the Pro Stock ramp-style scoop that can be bolted on the hood or kept under the fastback rear glass for display and safekeeping (with a spare—an extra blower belt).
Paint: Courtesy Chrysler 1969, the OEM F3 paint is still on it.
Interior: Legendary recovered the seats, a vintage AutoMeter tach is mounted to the steering column, and the Sun gauges in the dash still monitor vital signs. Shifting is via the console-mounted OEM chrome handle, with an FM converter mounted under the dash.