If you hadn't read the title of this article, when would you guess this '67 Plymouth Barracuda was restored? Last week? It looks the part, but not by a long shot. Last month? You're still cold. Last year? You're getting a little warmer. Try 24 years ago. At the time, this was a one-owner car sold new in the Pacific Northwest, and restored there in 1985.
You may have heard of the shop that turned back the clock on this A-Body. "The restoration was done in 1985 for the original owner, Ron Langsford, by a gentleman named Steve Frisbie at Steve's Auto Restorations in Portland, Oregon," says Sal Frasca, the '67's former owner, when we met up with him. "He is the first person to win Best of Show in the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance twice. That's why this car is spectacular."
One reason why is that this Fish stayed dry. "It wasn't a rusty car," Sal says about the intact unibody that Steve's started with. "Ron claimed that he never had it out in the rain in the next fifteen years that he had it, before I bought it. I haven't gotten it out in the rain either."
Unlike many eye-grabbing restorations, this Barracuda wasn't loaded with options like the Formula S package, but it still received a good dose of standard equipment and factory options. That includes the standard 180hp 273-inch LA-series small-block, combined with a 904 TorqueFlite and 8 1/4-inch rearend. Also added on at the Hamtramck Assembly plant were a Rallye gauge-cluster, a white interior with front bucket seats and fold-down rear seat, AM radio, and a center console with shifter. A set of full wheel covers went in the trunk for dealer installation.
That's it. No Airtemp air conditioning, "Commando" 273, power brakes, or other options. Power steering went on at Hamtramck, but Sal says that was taken off by the original selling dealer, per a steering-wheel-mounted tag that he still has. "I have tons of paperwork from the day the original owner bought the car," Sal adds. That includes the buildsheet, Certicard, owner's manual, window sticker, and sales agreement.
He also has the air cleaner, intake manifold, and two-barrel carburetor that came off the engine. "When Steve Frisbie restored it, he made it into a four-barrel car," Sal says of the engine upgrade that didn't include the Commando 273's 10.5 compression ratio or solid-lifter camshaft. "He didn't upgrade it into a 'full' Commando 273. I do have Commando valve covers, but I never put them on the car."
Steve's Auto Restorations...
Steve's Auto Restorations put a four-barrel and iron intake under the "unsilenced" Commando air cleaner when it redid the original two-barrel-equipped 273.
What's it like to drive? "The car runs perfect," says Sal. "It has no power steering, but it stays on the road perfectly. It has no power brakes-four drums. You can't believe how good the car is [to drive]."
Like the 62,533 other fish built that year, this EE1 Dark Blue gem has plenty of style. Hot Rod Magazine's Eric Dahlquist said this when the '67 Barracuda hit the streets: "It's one of the toughest looking cars this year, probably the best composite of lines and curves ever issued from Chrysler. Why in the world didn't they let these designers loose a lot of years ago?" Dahlquist added, " 'If they'd only put a 383 in it,' the auto editors chorused when we first saw the car. It would fit, too; the body's two inches wider than they were in 1966, but they probably won't. You know Chrysler." (But we also know "Mr. Norm" Kraus was spurring Ma Mopar to put the 383 in the A-Body on the assembly line around the time this story hit the streets in late 1966.)
Back in 2000, Sal found this Barracuda, plus an immaculate 383-powered '68 Formula S, through magazine ads. After an appraiser's thorough inspection of each car, both were shipped to his Brooklyn, New York, home. Just as in 1967, this Plymouth was in full "win-you-over" mode. So much so that it won over Sal's nephew Ron. "When he got married last year, my wife Kelly and I gave it to him and his wife Dana as a wedding present. He was in love with it because it's so outstandingly beautiful. Even though it's a plain-Jane car, it's just gorgeous."