When it comes to how each of us eventually turn out in regards to life, our parents have a direct influence. For Gayle and Gregg Orr, they grew up with Mopar fanatics for parents. This allowed the brother-sister duo to live the "Mopar Or No Car" lifestyle with a driveway filled with Mopars on their farm in Hamlet, Indiana. Both Gregg and Gayle have taken home Young Gun titles at the Mopar Nationals, and we're sure their younger brother, Jimmie, isn't too far off with his own.
Gregg Sr. and his wife, Becky, went to high school together in Indiana. "My mom was working for my grandfather changing oil at their family-owned gas station and doing airbrush work on the side," says Gayle, "Dad was a hard-working-farmer-could-weld-anything type of guy and they got married." The two joke that they spent many dates in junkyards looking for parts. The match made in heaven never grew old, and pair continued to build cars together, even after kids arrived. Gayle and Gregg Jr. were quick to catch on and both fell into the hobby when their parents brought home a '70 AAR 'Cuda. "I remember helping them take the car apart and pulling off the fake fur that someone put on the doors in the '70s," recalls Gayle. She was in the seventh grade, but knew she loved cars.
As the restoration progressed, it was time to bring the car in for bodywork. Gregg Jr. accompanied them to the bodyshop as the Orr family took a look around before releasing their AAR to them. "The owner said he also had a few Mopars and showed us around. A red Barracuda sitting in the corner under some crates and bicycles caught my eye," Gregg Jr. says. Upon further investigation, 15-year-old Gregg discovered that it was a '68 340 four-speed Formula S fastback. "I knew I wanted that car, and asked him if he was selling it. He said he wasn't interested at the time, but would let us know as soon as he was ready. I didn't know if he took me seriously because of my age." Young Gregg immediately had visions of the possibilities of a 340 four-speed Barracuda being his first car.
Gregg had now tunnel vision for the Formula S. But, when the Orr family took their yearly trip out to the 2000 Mopar Nationals in Columbus, Ohio, young Gregg was looking at other Barracudas for ideas. "I found a Dart that was in my budget, but my parents talked me out of it. They stressed that the Formula S was what I should focus on, and try and get that." Once they returned home, he hit the phones hard, trying to get the guy to budge on the numbers-matching A-Body. They finally came to an agreement on the price and he fueled it up, added brake fluid, aired up the tires and drove it home. He finally had a car he could bring with his family to the Mopar Nationals.
Gregg began to slowly restore his Barracuda, fixing preexisting problems such as a damaged grille and hundreds of dings from hail damage. Around this time, his mother found out about a new class at the NATS-the Young Guns Class, which was focused on young enthusiasts under the age of 25. "I was excited about this and now I had a goal and a deadline: win the Mopar NATS 2001 Young Guns class!"
He worked hard everyday after school in their barn behind their house to get the car on the right track. Every piece and part was removed, tagged and bagged, with the help of his family. They removed the drivetrain, and then stripped the car for paint and bodywork. Mark Shell of Mark's Body Shop in Knox, Indiana, had a great reputation and was chosen to fix the Formula S. While it was away for paint, Gregg focused on the engine, which, at the time, had over 85,000 miles on it. He tracked down the original owner and discovered that the car spent most of its adolescence at the dragstrip and was driven equally spirited on the street. A refresh to the entire drivetrain was in order, and the Orr family and friends were up to the task.