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.
While many would not consider driving a car like this, Rick built the 'Cuda to enjoy with his family. Rick does just that by driving the car to local shows and cruise-ins. The 'Cuda always draws a number of admirers anywhere it goes, and it's easy to see why. It's one cool smooth ride.
A Work Of R/TA '70 Charger Goes From Wreck To Respected"I'm amazed by people who will put vintage iron out in a field or behind a barn to rust away," said Lindsey Duhs of Brandon, Mississippi. Such was the case with his '70 Dodge Charger R/T, that was found in a nearby community cornfield. Lindsey had been looking for such a vehicle for more than three years. The old Dodge was in dire need of repair, and Lindsey almost didn't get the car home. He had borrowed a car dolly, but halfway home the rearend locked up on the Charger. The truck, with the car on the dolly, came to a screeching stop in the middle of one of the area's most traveled two-lane highways. Thankfully, no one was hurt in the ordeal. Well, maybe Lindsey's pride was a little, as people yelled rather rude things about him and his new-found project during the time it took to get the car out of the middle of the road.
The trouble encountered while getting the car home was the first of a number of events that made Lindsey think twice about this project. That's not to say Lindsey ever thought it was going to be an easy task to bring the Charger back to a like-new condition. Lindsey says the aid of close friends was the main reason he was able to complete the project. Lavon Pilgram, a salvage yard owner, wanted to see the Charger restored so badly he practically gave Lindsey the parts he needed. All that Lavon asked in return was the promise nothing would be resold, and that Lindsey would bring the car by once it was completed. That was not a problem for Lindsey.
Lindsey's theme for the Charger was to keep the interior and exterior as close to 1970 standards as possible, while adding a personal touch to the engine compartment. Hugh Langley, a close friend and neighbor, spent many nights into the wee hours of the morning helping Lindsey work on the car. He and Lindsey restored the white vinyl interior and laid new black carpet after Charlie Ford applied the finishing touches to the paint job. Charlie, another close friend and retired body shop owner, helped Lindsey after work and on weekends to get the car straight and painted. The paint and body process took over six months to complete in a small garage behind Lindsey's home.
With the interior and exterior completed, attention was directed to the engine compartment. The original 440 received a .030-inch overbore, and a .275 duration Streetmaster bumpstick by Lunati. The stock heads were shaved .010 inch, hardened seats were installed for today's unleaded gas, and a three-angle valve job was performed. An Edelbrock Performer RPM intake and 750 Holley delivers the much needed air and fuel, while a Mallory Unilite distributor, MSD Digital 6, MSD H.V.C coil, and MSD wires supply fire to the mixture. Dual 2.5-inch Flowtech mufflers finish off the exhaust system and give the car a nice rumble at idle.
Even with the Sure Grip 831/44-inch rear and 3.23 gears, traction is limited with the 245/60/R14 Kelly tires on the stock 14x7-inch Rallye wheels. An 11-inch, 2,400 stall Mopar Performance torque converter and B&M shift kit in the Torqueflite transmission helps compound the traction problem. However, they all make the car a blast to drive. When asked if he had any intentions of racing the car Lindsey said, "I didn't build a race car. I just wanted the car to look and run good." He is quick to point out while he doesn't race the car, it is not a trailer queen, either. Both he and his wife Kim equally enjoy driving the car to local shows and events. Anyone that has finished a home project can appreciate the three years Lindsey and his friends spent on this major restoration.