Nothing says classic like...
Nothing says classic like '60s race Hemi like a pair of shiny Cragars.
The access panel in the back...
The access panel in the back is just another detail that makes this pristine Barracuda as much go as it is show.
Tucked in behind the Auto...
Tucked in behind the Auto Meter tach is the original, rare-optioned factory tachometer. Ed Faath knew it would be a crime to mess with it, so he mounted the tach on the steering column.
Long before Ed Faath ever moved to the Sunshine State in the early '80s, he would never miss a chance to watch his twin brother Bob and best friend Joe Drescher race their '33 Willys. The straight-axle gasser was everything a '60s nostalgia racer was supposed to be. its most prominent feature was a fuel-injected 392 Hemi proudly flaunting its tall stacks up through the hood. The Willys became a mainstay in the social circles of street and drag racers in the Cleveland, Ohio, area, making Ed's younger twin a pseudo celebrity. But it wasn't the popularity that Ed wanted; he craved to be behind the wheel of his own Hemi-powered vehicle.
Ed's lust for speed would be reapplied during the Vietnam conflict where he served as a helicopter pilot. After returning home, Ed enrolled in school, then progressed into a career, and later took on the mantle of husband and father, which all pushed his desires for a fun, fast Hemi car onto the back burner.
Ed would eventually move his family to St. Cloud, Florida, a small town south of Orlando. shortly after Ed and his family settled in, he began to notice something peculiar--St. Cloud's streets were filled with classic Mopars. every time he would venture downtown to pick up some necessities or to scope out the city scene, he would see another pristine musclecar cruise by. Ecstatic, he knew it was his kind of town.
Ed made short work of befriending as many of these Mopar owners as he could. his networking efforts led him to John "Coach" Wallauer. John was pretty renowned around town as being something of a renaissance man of Mopars. John was an adamant enthusiast, amateur collector, and apt fabricator, as well as the football coach at the local high school.
Ed first called upon John's fabrication abilities while tooling on his first Mopar purchase--a '69 Dart Swinger. The Swinger was mini-tubbed and fitted with a stout 440 plant and an overdrive transmission. it was during one of these long nights at John's shop that the topic of Ed's cravings for Hemi power came up. Recalling the memories of his brother's gasser, John and Ed's conversation, unsurprisingly, gravitated toward the peak of Mopar's factory performance--the Hemi Super Stock Darts and Barracudas. Ed's curiosity was piqued, could he really own one of these cars? the price tag on an original factory race car was way out of range for Ed, as for most of us. The only solution--build their own '68 Hemi lightweight A-Body.
The challenge was in play. Ed and John were going to clone one of the most infamous Mopars in history. Chasing down all of his leads, John discovered a '68 Barracuda in Las Vegas, Nevada. The owner was motivated to sell, and the car was half-way in the stages of being converted into a Super Stock car when the owner decided to pull out of the project. It might have taken over 25 years to finally get one, but in July 2004, Ed flew out to the Nevada desert and purchased his first Hemi car. Two weeks later, the Barracuda was off-loaded into John's shop in Florida.
Either this engine compartment...
Either this engine compartment is insanely clean or exceptionally all-business. We like to think both. But nothing is more telling of a Mopar's true intentions than a motor plate. This one just screams performance!
With a hungry Hemi you're...
With a hungry Hemi you're going to need to feed it enough to keep it happy. The big rear cell and electric pump fill the large-diameter lines up to the dual carbs.
It took only three days for John and Ed to shred the A-Body down to little bitty piles of nuts and bolts. Everything on the project car was taken off, sorted, labeled, and stored. "It was a fantastic one-of-a-kind experience," Ed recalled. "There are not a lot of people who've had this kind of opportunity. After all, how many people get to assemble and fabricate a car from the ground up?" Ed worked alongside John throughout the entire build, learning what every clip, pin, and bolt was for. The goal was to retain the Barracuda's original appearance, but upgrade and improve every aspect of the car's behavior--the suspension, drivetrain, and interior amenities--with better materials and technology.
John has a policy of working on only one car at a time, so he was able to focus all his skills on this car. Once the cage and subframes were installed, and the rear hubs were cut and spread into massive barrel-sized mini-tubs, the pair turned their attention to the suspension. With wheelwells this large, Ed chose to run some pretty meaty tires. to keep those shoes planted to the asphalt, John chose to install Mopar Performance Super Stock leaf springs to the rear, mounted to the hefty Dana 60. The differential was filled with a Power Lock Center with 4.10 gears and Strange 35-spline axles. The front was more than a little modern with RMS coilover shocks and a Flaming River rack-and-pinion all attached to an AlerKation K-frame.
Many will testify that the hardest part of a Hemi build is finding the Hemi. With Ed's purchase, he was lucky enough not to have to look at all. The cost of a disassembled 426 elephant was part of the final tab. Vic Fera of Merritt Island, Florida, was consigned to the powerplant build. The block was bored .030-over and filled with classic 440-6 Pack connecting rods, a STD chrome Hemi crank, and J&38;E 11:1 pistons. Mopar Performance aluminum heads were gasket matched and had some bowl work done. A hydraulic roller cam was chosen because a roller setup is considered the safest thing to handle the Hemi's high revolutions. An aluminum cross-ram with Hemi-correct dual Holley 770 carbs pump in the air and gas. JW Performance out of Rockledge, Florida, rebuilt the 727 TorqueFlite with a B&38;M shift kit and a Turbo Action 10-inch 3,300-stall torque converter. A Hurst Quarter-Stick with a handmade cover delegates the shifts, while the tall gears and high stall snap off the hard launches.
John and Ed tackled the interior work with all Legendary materials. New seat covers, door panels, and carpet were all dark blue and easily installed. Out-of-the-box, silver-faced Auto meter gauges were mounted to the steering column and under the dash to read off the vitals. Interestingly enough, this Barracuda came from the factory floor with a rare-optioned tachometer, which still resides next to the stock speedometer. In Super Stock fashion, Ed opted to go without the radio or climate control since this was, after all, a race car.
With everything all but complete within a neck-snapping six months, the Barracuda was wheeled off for paint and body work. Bill Haskell at Rick Perry's Body Shop in St. Cloud straightened every inch of the little A-Body to better-than-factory proportions. Rick mixed a custom concoction of basecoat/clearcoat, aptly labeled Billet Silver.
Two short months later, the Barracuda was brought home. Amazed at the final product, Ed drove the Hemi 'Cuda to the nearest Florida event, where the A-Body was awarded Best of Show. A First Place award at the "Big Daddy" Garlits show in Ocala, Florida, quickly followed.
Sure, the car might be noticed for its amazing craftsmanship and clean appearance, but the Barracuda was meant to do only one thing: turn those tires into inky black smears. And it does that well. -MM
|Fast Facts |
|Owner:||Ed Faath, Orlando, FL|
|Car:||’68 Plymouth Barracuda|
|Color:||Billet Silver (custom-mixed), B5 Dark Blue interior|
|Engine:||426 Hemi, bored .030-over, Six-Pack connecting rods, J&E 11:1 pistons, STD chrome crank, hydraulic roller cam from Cam Motion, aluminum MP heads,Ferrea valves, Dick Landy rockers, aluminum cross-ram intake, dual 770 Holley carburetors, built by Vic Fera of Merritt Island, FL |
|Transmission:||727 TorqueFlite automatic, 10-inch Turbo Action 3,300-stall torque converter; B&H shift kit, assembled by JW Performance in Rockledge, FL|
|Rearend:||Dana 60, Power Lock Sure Grip, Strange 35-spline axles|
|Suspension:||Front: RMS coilover shocks, Flaming River rack-and-pinion, disc brakes;|
|Rear:||Super Stock leaf springs, stock drum brakes|
|Wheels/Tires:||15-inch Cragars, American Racer L-60 rear slicks|
We just had to show you more photos of this 'Cuda. Words aren't enough to describe this beauty!