Heirloom is defined as something valuable that has been in the possession of a family for a long time, and has been passed on from one generation to the next."
Interior: The 273 Commando...
Interior: The 273 Commando V-8 was rebuilt to stock specs and produces 210 hp and 248 ft-lb of torque at the back wheels.
Most often, a family heirloom is a piece of antique furniture or jewelry, or perhaps a valuable piece of art. We'd like to suggest that Pat Cobb's '66 Barracuda qualifies on all counts. It's great to sit in, it certainly sparkles in the sun, and it sure beats looking at what some call metal sculpture. And it even has some interesting history.
Pat was first introduced to the Barracuda when his father brought home a Slant Six version after Pat and his brother got their driver's licenses. Pat got to drive it all through high school, and, as you could imagine, Pat and his friends had some pretty great times with it. But when Pat left for college, his dad gave it away.
By this time, Pat had gained a passion for Mopars, and mid-way through college, he just had to have another one. It just so happened that he managed to find another '66 Barracuda. This time it had a V-8 and a four-speed. He drove it regularly until he got married and he and his wife needed to move for graduate school.
Engine: Bucket seats were...
Engine: Bucket seats were standard on all early Barracudas, while the console (and shifter for the 904 TorqueFlite) was a factory option on A-Bodies through 1976. Both add to the sporty feel of the interior.
Jump ahead to the late 1980s, when the first of Pat's three sons was about eight years old. Pat took the boy with him to get a hair cut. On the way, Pat suggested to his son that they should have a car to work on as a father/son project. Being the smart kid that he was, he looked through the for sale ads while his father was in the chair. Lo and behold, he found a '66 Barracuda. (Pat had, of course, offered that suggestion.) The seller was called that week.
The car in the ad was yet another '66 Barracuda, but this one was a 273 motivated fish with a TorqueFlite. The owner had relocated the car to Oklahoma, from California, where he bought it new. Before long, it was the Cobbs'.
As years passed, it wasn't driven much, that is until his eldest son turned 16 and needed transportation for school. Pat suggested that he could use the Barracuda while he was in high school. Not surprisingly, the son agreed and drove it until he went off to college. Over time, all three of Pat's sons got their hands on the '66. The youngest got his start as an auto tech helping his dad out with it. Talk of restoring it began when Pat signed the title over to his eldest son as a gift when he turned 21.
Skip ahead to 2007, when Pat met the owner of Muscle Car Restorations, John Balow, at the Barrett-Jackson auction. While there, they discussed restoring the Barracuda. Later, Pat attended an MCR open house, which convinced him to move forward with the full restoration in 2009. Considering its 43 years of life experience, the glass-back fish was in fair shape. Nevertheless, the decision was made to do a complete teardown, dip the body, and rebuild everything to like-new condition.
The goal was to do a stock restoration but add a couple of improvements along the way. One weak link was the A-Body's stock
7-1/4-inch rear, which had already been torn up and replaced once. So it was decided that a narrowed 8-3/4-incher would take its place.
Another needed improvement involved the brakes. Cruise around in a car with drum brakes (like this early A-Body's 9-inch ones) for a while, and you'll know why Pat upgraded to Wilwood four-wheel discs. The brake swap meant that the wheels needed to be upsized to 15 inches for caliper clearance. That also meant a new set of wheel covers was needed. To keep a stock look, MCR found a set of period-correct ones that came from '66-'69 B- and C-Bodies that were factory-equipped with disc brakes--and look like they were a factory option on the early Barracuda.
Any Antiques Roadshow fan will tell you that restoring most family heirlooms significantly reduces the value of the piece. But, in this case, nothing could be further from the truth with a piece of classic Mopar sculpture, which can now be enjoyed for generations to come.
'66 Plymouth Barracuda
Owner: Patrick Cobb, Tulsa, Oklahoma
- Engine: The Barracuda's 235-horsepower 273 Commando V-8 was restored completely back to as close to stock as possible and looks just like it did the day it was new.
- Transmission: The original 904 TorqueFlite that came with the car was also restored.
- Rearend: Originally equipped with a weak 7-1/4, MCR installed a narrowed, 3.55-geared 8-3/4rear left over from an earlier C-Body build.
- Horsepower And Performance: This one doesn't see any track time--just a lot of cruising, and ordinary daily use. It did manage to dyno 210 horsepower at 5,000 rpm, and 248 lb/ft of torque during the break-in, which will have no problem moving its 3,100-pounds of body weight around town.
- Suspension: The OEM front torsion bar/rear leaf spring suspension (with tubular shocks) was put back to original specs, which means that it rides like a new one
- Brakes: The nicest thing you can say about factory drum brakes is that they will stop the car. (Sooner or later.) MCR departed from stock here with Wilwood four-wheel discs and dual-circuit manual master cylinder.
- Wheels And Tires: BF Goodrich P205/65R15 red stripe Radial TAs. (This car is driven, and bias-plies just don't cut it.) 15-inch wheels were required to clear the disc brake calipers, and MCR added a set of '66-'69 B/C-Body disc brake wheel covers as a finishing touch. .
- Body: The original '66 Barracuda unibody was in pretty good shape, but was completely disassembled and dipped, so no hidden rust would go undetected.
- Paint: Resprayed with the original '66 Plymouth Yellow, and topped with a new vinyl top.
- Interior: Factory-equipped with black bucket seats, a console and a floor shifter, MCR restored it all to showroom-new condition.