Father Knows Best was a classic television show filled with interesting stories and lessons dealing with the family environment. For me, as a kid growing up in Middle America during the '60s, Father knows best was all about cars and what was the best type of vehicle to own. Ever since I was a kid my father has been a staunch Chrysler-products man. I remember him talking about Chrysler engineering, Chrysler's great warranty, and their powerful engines.
While I was growing up, the family garage housed a '59 Plymouth Fury, a '66 Dodge Coronet 440, a '68 Polara, and a '73 Dart Swinger-all 2-door hardtops. Even my Grandpa had a Pentastar product, a '60 Chrysler Windsor 2-door hardtop with some serious fins, and a stylish speedometer that looked like something you'd see on the Batmobile!
When I turned 16 and it was time for me to buy my first car, the question was simple: Should it be a Dodge or a Plymouth? I didn't even consider a Ford or a GM product, as I was a loyal Mopar follower! In addition to what I had learned from my dad about cars, I also read Hot Rod, Car Craft, Super Stock, Stock Car Racing, and every other car magazine I could find at the local drug store. All these publications were filled with stories and photos of high-performance and full-competition Chrysler vehicles and their champion drivers, Ronnie Sox, Dick Landy, Richard Petty, and loads of others that were winning on the nation's racetracks.
I wanted to get involved in this Mopar frenzy, so I turned to my older sister and she sold me her '67 Belvedere II 2-door hardtop, equipped with a Commando 383 four-barrel engine and four-speed. It was the first of several B-Body cars I would own and was a great car. A few years later, I bought the pictured E-Body Plymouth Barracuda, and kept it for the next 25 years.
This FJ5 Limelight Green 'Cuda, factory-fitted with the E87 440 6-barrel engine, was a real catch for me since I was seeking an unmodified muscle Mopar suitable for a complete and proper restoration. Because this car had the N96 shaker hood fresh-air option, D21 Hemi four-speed with "Strip Grip" Hurst Shifter (AKA Pistol Grip) and an A34 Super Track Pack, which specified a 4.10 Dana 60 rear axle, I quickly purchased it. I knew it was a special car with unique appointments. This performance equipment was very desirable to me and that "HIP" (High Impact Paint) color really made it stand out in a crowd. I found out later the car was also originally equipped with the A21 Elastomeric Front Bumper Group.
Luckily, this '70 'Cuda had never been hot-rodded, and it was completely original when I bought it back in the mid-'70s. It had its original paint job, and it was apparent it had never been in any major collision, except for a replacement steel front-bumper and cracked grille. All this helps when obtaining a good base car to restore, but most important is to choose a car that has sought-after options. this particular "Fish" was equipped with a fantastic assortment of factory equipment. The total retail-selling price was listed at $4,735.85.