Good things come in small packages." That rings true about a lot of things-especially Plymouth's 1966 lineup.

Sure, the B-Body (Belvedere/Satellite) was newly styled and Hemi-optioned for '66, and the C-Body added the plush "VIP" series at its top end that year. But the compact A-Body platform had its own "star": The Barracuda Formula S, Plymouth's "sporty compact."

Go back several years from '66, and you'll see the beginnings of the "sporty compact" segment of the new-car market, when the Big 3 saw that they needed to offer more than a basic car if they wanted their compacts to keep selling. At Plymouth, that meant a bucket-seat-equipped Valiant Signet two-door hardtop for '62, joined by a convertible for the mid-level V-200 series and Signet for '63, the LA-series 273 small-block in mid-'64, and the first Barracuda joining the lineup on April 1st of that year.

The "Formula S" package joined the Barracuda option list for '65, and it had a full serving of higher-performance gear under its glass-fastbacked Valiant sheetmetal. The 273 gained a solid-lifter camshaft, 10.5:1 compression, a Carter AFB four-barrel carburetor under an "unsilenced" chrome air cleaner, and a dual exhaust-into-a-single-resonator exhaust system. Buyers had the choice of a Hurst-shifted A-833 four-speed, or a console-shifted TorqueFlite automatic. For the chassis, Ma Mopar spec'd heavy-duty torsion bars and an anti-sway bar in front, heavy-duty rear leaf springs, plus heavy-duty shocks and wide-tread (for '65, at least) Goodyear "Blue Streak" tires on 14-inch wheels on all four corners. In the big sales year of 1965, with Plymouth's numbers buoyed by its all-new C-Body Furys, some 9,389 Formula S Barracudas were built and sold.

For 1966, Barracuda got a front-end facelift like its Valiant siblings, but with egg-crate pattern outer grilles. The only noticeable change in the Formula S package that year was the substitution of an Inland Steel-built shifter for the A-833 instead of Hurst. Unfortunately, Barracuda's sales numbers took a tumble that year, with just 5,316 Formula S Barracudas built and sold-part of a Barracuda-wide sales drop (of about 40 percent) attributed to competition from the Blue Oval's "pony car," and the upcoming new '67 Barracuda.

Still, in both 1965 and 1966, more Formula S buyers chose the four-speed over the automatic. That included a buyer that optioned a '66 Formula S with a four-speed, Airtemp air conditioning, and Bright Red colors inside and out, with a white longitudinal "racing stripe." That original owner only kept it for a few months before selling it to another owner, who lived in the Bronx. He kept it in his garage, except for occasional good-weather cruises, for the next few decades-plus.

That's where Daniel Lyon comes in. "That car was in my neighborhood my whole life," he says. "It was a 'legend'-you'd only see it maybe once every year, or every five years." One day about five years ago, Daniel happened to see it near a neighborhood mom-and-pop breakfast place. "I pull around the block, and out of the corner of my eye, I see this Barracuda pushed out of a garage with a big 'For Sale' sign in the back window." To make a long story short, Daniel called the '66's owner and left a message. "I even called in sick to work that day, because I was waiting for him to call me back. I was scared that somebody [else] was going to grab the car." Fortunately for Daniel, the owner returned his call, and in short order, the Formula S was his.