Not too many of us have had the chance to own, let alone drive our dream car. Gerald Frost is one of the select few that has the privilege of owning that car. For him, it's this '73 'Cuda. They've been through a lot together and he continues to thrive off the feeling the car gives him every time he takes it out for a spin. The restoration was done as budget allowed and it grew into this extremely clean 'Cuda.
"I always wanted a '73 'Cuda because my friend in high school had one when I was 15 years old and it was the fastest car in school." He spent most of his life obsessing over Barracudas and involved in the car hobby. He eventually made the career choice to be involved with cars. He owns Pro-Tech Automotive in his hometown of Aurora, Colorado, an automotive repair shop that he turns wrenches at.
Before he found the '73, he already owned a '74 that was in worse shape than he cares to remember. "It was in bad shape and I could only use it for parts." When he tracked down this '73, it was in Lakewood, Colorado. It was pretty straight but was sprayed in primer and had no interior or engine. Not much of a 'Cuda was left, other than the body. It was even stripped of its Sure-Grip differential. He performed a heart transplant on the E-Body with a 340 out of his friend's '70 Duster and used his '74 for some of the remaining parts to get it back in the road.
Not too long after his acquisition, a man in Boulder, Colorado, had Gerald part out a couple Challengers and Barracudas for him. In exchange for his services, he received a Ralleye dash, an 8 3/4-inch Sure-Grip rearend with 3.55 gears, a grille, and a bunch of additional parts for his 'Cuda. With all the pieces in place, he drove it around dressed in primer for 10 years.
"I think I had the most fun with the car when it was in primer because I didn't have to worry about it getting messed up," he jests. "I remember burning off my BFGs and not caring at all." Gerald even remembers making a high-speed run in the car, knocking on the door of 140 mph. He got a lot of enjoyment out of the simple setup.
Once all the shenanigans were out of his system, he began to restore the 'Cuda from the inside out.
Carlos Bohena in Aurora performed the work on the inside. The interior was gutted and all the parts were replaced where they could be, Year One providing the lion's share of the parts. All-new black carpeting, leather seat covers, and custom floor mats dress up the interior. New door panels, dash pad, windows, and weatherstripping were needed as well. The factory radio was replaced with a Kenwood head unit CD player that's supported by JVC speakers.
The suspension was freshened up with new bushings from Moog and new rear leaf springs. A set of 17x8-inch American Racing Torque Thrust II wheels were added to give the 'Cuda a convincing Pro Touring look.
This fish was about to shed the primer and put on something a little cleaner. G&S Autobody in Aurora was assigned the task of bringing the beauty back to the 'Cuda. PPG O2C paint was used, a Subaru hue known as WRC Rally Blue Pearl. The bright paint is accented by AAR stripes, a look that really appealed to Gerald. No panels needed to be replaced and the original hood is still in place.
Under the hood, the 340 was moderately worked over to increase the power output since being swapped in. It was bored .040-over, bringing displacement to roughly 350 cubic inches. Inside the engine is an all Mopar rotating assembly and a healthy custom Comp Cam that gives it an intimidating idle. It sounds especially good through its TTi 2 1/2-inch exhaust and Flowmaster mufflers. "I have to say my favorite thing about the car is the way it sounds. It's incredible. My best friend, Dale Nekon, has a '65 Mustang convertible and he always would rather drive my car because it sounds like a NASCAR Stock Car when you punch it."
The restoration took about two years to complete, and it hasn't seen a garage very much. "I take it on cruises to Sonic and to different car shows throughout town." His three daughters all want the car, too, but Gerald jokes that he'll be buried in the car. It really means that much to him. "It's hard for me to explain just how much the car has affected me, but it has helped me through some tough times." Gerald can rest assured that every time he fires the small-block to life and hits the Colorado streets that he's in for a good time as he leaves his troubles behind. That's the definition of a dream car.
'73 Plymouth 'Cuda
Owned by: Gerald & Sheree Frost, Aurora, Colorado
- Engine: The 340 came from a '70 Duster. It was then disassembled at his shop where it was bored .040-over and filled with all new Mopar Performance internals. The pistons are cast, the rods are original, and the crankshaft is forged. Compression is 10.5:1. Final displacement is approximately 350 cubic inches. To ensure that the 'Cuda had a proper idle, a 230/236 .488/.491 Comp Cam was installed. It commands the Comp roller rockers and Chrysler X heads' stainless valves. Drew at DZ Air Heads ported the heads. The ignition was converted over to a DUI setup. Performance-inspired AAR-style manifolds mated to a 2 1/2-inch TTi exhaust with Flowmaster mufflers control the exhaust.
- Transmission: Gerald rebuilt the factory torqueflite to handle the additional power. It features a factory slap-stick shifter, and a 3,800-stall Turbo-Action torque converter.
- Rearend: Chrysler 8 3/4-inch rearend with 3.55 rear gears and a sure grip posi.
- Suspension: The front suspension was rebuilt using Moog parts and the rear suspension received new leaf springs.
- Brakes: Factory disc front and drum rear.
- Wheels and Tires: American Racing Torque Thrust II wheels wearing Akuret Ultra HP tires.
- Paint and Body: Well when Gerald purchased the car, there wasn't much paint on it. It was sprayed in all primer. Its original color was an "ugly brown" but it now wears Subaru WRC Rally Blue Pearl, picked out by his wife, Sheree. G & S Auto body (Now called Admiration Auto Body) in Aurora painted it and performed the bodywork.
- Interior: Inside, the 'Cuda was treated to new door panels, dash pad, floor mats with color-matched stitching, windows, and weather stripping. Everything was sourced from Year One. Carlos Bohena performed all the work. The stereo was also upgraded to a Kenwood CD player with JVC speakers.