One of Tom's objectives was to keep as much of the original components on the 'Cuda as possible. "I didn't want this car to turn into an N.O.S. buggy," Tom said. "I wanted to refurbish and reuse as many parts as I could." Indeed, except for the left rear quarter-panel, rear floor sections, miscellaneous trim pieces, and fresh upholstery from Legendary Auto interiors, this car still has most of its original factory-installed parts.
The original 383 was removed and sent to Bob Repyne of Bob's Automotive in Eldred, Pennsylvania. It was bored .030-inch over and was rebuilt completely stock, except for some mild port work in the bowl areas. The transmission and rearend were refurbished and detailed (along with the engine) by Tom and Sara in their home shop.
Though Tom did all of the paint work on the underbody and inner body panels, he chose to hand off the exterior painting chores to Les Mahnke at Carriage Stop Restorations in Palmyra, New York. Les expertly resprayed the 'Cuda in its original Q5 Seafoam Turquoise, this time using the Sikkens basecoat/clearcoat system for added durability, as this car was built to be driven. Tom then added a set of reproduction stripes to finish off the job and voila-the 'Cuda looks exactly like the day it was originally built, right down to the correct Red Line tires and dog dish caps.
After over 5,000 hours of work over eight and a half years, the 'Cuda was finished in the late summer of 2000, too late for most of the shows that season. But the Pikes managed to drive the 'Cuda to the Adirondack Nationals in Lake George, New York, where out of 1,530 cars entered, it was chosen as one of the event's "Favorite 50." A couple of weeks later at the annual Sage-Ruddy Car Show in Mendon, New York, Tom and Sara won a First in class trophy and one for the best restoration at the event.
Now that the 'Cuda is finished, Tom is looking to drive the car as much as possible. Sara is also getting behind the wheel, no need for power steering or brakes here. No doubt about it, she certainly earned her stripes with its restoration.
The cabin's factory-fresh...
The cabin's factory-fresh appearance is courtesy of a Legendary Auto Interiors kit and an immense amount of detail work.
The fold-down rear seat is...
The fold-down rear seat is one of the few options ordered on this A-body. It gave the 'Cuda the practicality of a station wagon without sacrificing its sleek look.
The 'Cuda's fastback bodystyle...
The 'Cuda's fastback bodystyle still looks great after 30-plus years and is a direct styling link to the original-generation Barracuda.