There's just nothing like top-down cruising in a big-block powered muscle car. The wind in your hair, the rumble of a healthy cam, knowing that you own the boulevard. After all, 440 inches and six venturii pretty much guarantee street supremacy, from a brute force standpoint.
From a profiling standpoint, what could be better than making the scene in a red convertible with black billboards and a Shaker vibrating in the center of the hood?
Those were Rich Detert's thoughts when he initially purchased this '71 Barracuda several years ago. "I found the car for sale on the internet and bought it as a nice 340 replica 318 car with chrome bumpers, Rallye hood, standard dash, 14-inch Rallye wheels, and argent grille," said Rich. A nice car, to be sure, but it wasn't exactly what Rich wanted. "I modified the car by adding the Shaker hood, rubber bumpers, Rallye dash, 15-inch wheels and tires, louvered fenders, a color-keyed grille, wheelwell trim and other assorted 'Cuda trim to make the car the way I wanted it." Other additions include a factory chin spoiler, Go-Wing, and billboards.
The way Rich wanted it also included a built 440 with Chrysler's legendary Six Pack induction. Starting with a 440 block, it was punched .030 over and filled with forged TRW pistons, yielding a true 10:1 compression ratio. A Mopar Performance .484-inch/284-degree hydraulic Hemi grind cam was installed to actuate the stainless valves in the 906 heads. A Hemi seven-quart oil pan with 11/42-inch pick-up tube buttons up the bottom end, and Mopar's electronic ignition lights it all. Stock manifolds route the spent fumes back through 211/42-inch exhaust and turbo mufflers, while a trio of new Holley carbs sits proudly atop an original aluminum intake. Hearing the package rumble to life and watching that famous scoop twitch and jerk is an experience that just can't adequately be described. Even during the broad daylight, you find yourself transported to a perfect summer evening, cruising down the street with the wind blowing through your hair. For us it's fantasy, for Rich it's commonplace.
Intelligent parts selection plays a big role in making those drives care free and enjoyable. Power steering makes wheeling into and out of the parking spaces at the local cruises almost effortless. Naturally, an 831/44 Sure Grip rearend is called for, but while 4.10 gears may make you the ultimate stoplight star, the 3.23 gear set Rich selected makes long cruises much more pleasurable, both for him and the engine. For around-town driving, it's hard to beat an automatic, so a 727 is found in the middle of the driveline, actuated by a Slap Stick (after all, you can't let the trans have all the fun selecting gears!).
The interior was brought back to spec with reproduction door panels, a Rallye Dash and tach, Tuff wheel, and the retention of the original power windows. "It was a blast cruising Brice Road at the '99 Mopar Nats with the top down," Rich told us. We can't think of a better way to spend an August evening.