If there was one word that could be used to describe Rick Phillips' '70 Plymouth Barracuda, it would have to be stunning. Rick spent many hours prepping the car before the Dupont Chroma-base green paint and four coats of clear were applied. The preparatory work certainly shows. The richness of the paint is absolutely phenomenal. It is not surprising Rick has a number of "Best Paint" and "Best of Show" awards.
Rick purchased the car in 1994 after finding it in the classifieds. The ad read "1970 440 'Cuda." Since few 440 'Cudas were made in 1970, Rick was excited about the potential the car might hold. After speaking with the owner, Rick was disappointed to find the car did not originally come with the 440. However, the price was right, the Limelight green paint job was cool, and the fact there seemed to be nothing major wrong with the car was enough to convince him to buy it. He went to the local parts store and bought new belts, hoses, and a battery for the 'Cuda. He changed these at the previous owner's home before he could drive the car. Once home, Rick's wife was not as happy as he was about the purchase. The fact that the muffler fell off a few miles from home, and the car sounded like a dump truck when it pulled in the driveway probably had a lot to do with that. Rick began to wonder about the purchase himself since the transmission started fading fast, and it almost didn't make it to the house. Even Rick's son said, "Daddy, that car is broke." However, the family grew to appreciate the 'Cuda after it was completed.
The process to completion didn't happen over night. It took Rick a number of years to complete the car, doing a little bit at a time as funds allowed. This was Rick's first restoration and he credits friends, like Lindsey Duhs, for the help and inspiration needed to get the car in its current state.
The interior is vintage 1970 with an Autometer tachometer, and mechanical oil and water gauges. The black vinyl interior has been reupholstered, and new carpet has been laid, giving the car a showroom fresh look and smell. Did you notice the console? Rick did custom work to the console to get the Hurst Pro-matic shifter to fit. He laid hand-cut and varnished inserts to match the stock wood-grain dash inserts. It's done so nicely most would not notice it as a modification, and that was Rick's intent.
Even though the car is show quality, it has more than a little go to back up the good looks. A look under the hood is as visually rewarding as the outside of the car. Rick and friend, Mike Fuller, freshened up the potent 440, that has replaced the original 383, and added a few high-performance parts. The 906 heads received a three-angle valve job and mild pocket port. Rick added an Edelbrock Performer RPM intake and a 750 Holley, giving the 440 more air and fuel. A .284/.484 Mopar Performance cam opens and closes the valves providing the car with a solid bump. The old rusted headers were replaced with a new set of Hooker ceramic-coated units, and three-inch aluminized dual pipes were run to Flowtech mufflers. Rick has the exhaust exiting the car via the stock openings in the rear valance. The rear exit helps refine the exhaust tone, and gives one less of an indication that the car packs a punch. Acceleration is aided by an 831/44-inch Auburn unit and 3.23 gears. The Torqueflite transmission was rebuilt with B&M clutches, including a Cheetah manual-reverse pattern valvebody, while the Coan 10-inch 3,500-stall converter gives the car the motivation to get moving. A quick stab from a 20-mph roll lights up the tires with ease. Rick has yet to take the car to the track, but does not rule that out as a possibility. In fact, he has slicks mounted on another set of stock 15x7 rally wheels and hopes to get some track time soon.