For subtlety, Mark swapped out the 'Cuda Rally-type hood for a stock flat version, and did a heads-up trade with a buddy for the Rally wheels that were on the car for a set of more non-descript 14-inch factory Magnum 500 wheels. After the trans swap, the console was left off the car, but a new carpet went in as did a new sound system. Mark has left rest of the black replacement interior in place. The only other body change was adding the dual exhaust-opening rear valance for the 'cool' factor; the paint match was easy enough.

When we ran into Mark, he had already driven the car from its San Francisco, lair for major events in the western U.S. since completing the changes. For this weekend, he had clocked nearly a thousand miles when we hooked up with him at Moparty at the Strip) in the Las Vegas desert last spring; he had first driven south to Los Angeles to hang with the crew leaving en masse from Glendora Dodge, cruised out to Vegas, and was planning on going back to SoCal for the Spring Fling show the following weekend before heading back to San Francisco.

Shades of the past have disappeared over the years since this Barracuda 'vert was new; seeing one on the street in unrestored shape is something that makes all of us think, What if... Instead, Mark gets to chuckle and say quietly, "Yeah, I did..."

Fast Facts:
1970 Plymouth Barracuda convertible
Car Owner: Mark Ray, Avalon, California

Mopar Power

  • Engine: This is an old-school swap - the OEM 318 was taken out and replaced by a 440 out of '70 Imperial; the engine was rebuilt for durability by Common's Auto Parts in South San Francisco. The prepped block and reconditioned bottom end was stuffed full of solid OEM-equivalents from Sealed Pro (pistons), Hastings (rings), and Melling (valvetrain and cam), while the top of the engine (intake, heads, exhaust) were left basically stock for the sake of appearance and ease of maintenance.
  • Transmission: For durability, an overdrive five-speed TKO 600 PerfectFit kit by Keisler Engineering was added, complete with OEM-location short-throw shifter mount and extras. The hydraulic clutch option, for ease of shifting and steep parking on Bay area hills, was the big plus for the swap.
  • Differential: 8-3/4 with 3.55 gearing

Sure Grip

  • Suspension: Stock with no major changes
  • Brakes: Front disc conversion by The Right Stuff
  • Wheels and Rubber: Factory 14-inch Magnum 500 wheels

High Impact

  • Body: Rough in some ways; most people would decide to rebuild it. Mark is keeping it as-is for now since he enjoys the response it gets as an apparent 'barn find' on the street.
  • Paint: like the plate says TX9 (which is the factory black code; the 20-footer pigment is probably pretty close). Original was FJ5 Limelight, still visible in door jams and on the original elastomeric bumper, covered during prior owner's repaint.
  • Interior: Semi-patina black vinyl for that lived-in look; factory A/C unit means its stays comfortable from the Mohave Desert to Donner Pass. Console was left out and new carpet was installed when the new five-speed was installed. Oh, and the original color was white top, white interior.