Product Focus: A-Body Sheetmetal from Year OneThe lineup of sheetmetal available from Year One for '67-'69 Barracudas is far more extensive than you might believe. Here's a list of the sheetmetal available from Year One for the A-Body Barracudas.

The original 273 2-bbl engine ran and drove great, but John wanted the Barracuda to deliver exceptional performance-something that the original V8 could not offer without undue expense. Thanks to the Mopar Performance Parts 360ci/380hp Magnum crate engine, the Barracuda would transform from a modest pony car to a street bruiser. Backing up the crate engine would be a TCI-built Street Fighter 727 TorqueFlite with a 2,800-rpm stall converter that links the rearend to a custom driveshaft provided by Denny's Driveshafts. While we may be pushing the limits with 3.55 gears, especially since this car was built for the Hot Rod Power Tour, we did opt for an 831/44 housing provided by Stephens Performance. The housing was fitted with a National Drivetrain-built center section and rounded out with big-bolt pattern axles supplied by Moser Engineering, which will accommodate our Wheel Vintiques "Comet" design five-spoke wheels.

As the process began for the Barracuda, Muscle Car Restorations found that the original, non-A/C A-Body was everything they had expected. No rust was found, and that was John's primary goal. "Take the time to find the best car possible," says John, "for the time necessary to complete the restoration will be made up if you buy the first wreck that comes along." Like most projects, however, the focus on the final product did take further effort, including the body-off restoration of the car. We didn't say the process of building a top-notch driver is any less work than a concours show car-it's just that the final results are often more enjoyable.

The project took on a grander scope when our eventual owner decided that the 'Cuda needed air conditioning. That required an air conditioned Barracuda front clip from Freman Auto in Whitehall, Montana. While that may seem excessive, consider that a complete direct-fit A/C system was simply not available as an exact fit replacement. In addition to providing the underhood A/C components including the compressor, dryer, condenser, expansion valve, and hoses with compression fittings, Classic Auto Air Manufacturing rebuilt the water control valve from the factory setup that Muscle Car Restorations removed from the donor clip and restored. Classic Auto Air, as a result of this program, will offer their Perfect Fit series A/C for not only A-Bodies, but B- and E-Bodies as well, in 2003. Stay tuned for an installation on that system.

Chassis parts and the 8 3/4 A-Body rearend housing supplied by Stephens Performance were media-blasted and coated with PPG DP90 epoxy. The black is John Balow's own special blend of chassis black, which he was more than willing to share. John notes, "The chassis black consists of four parts [one gallon] of PPG Delstar 9000 factory black paint, one part [one quart] of PPG DX265 flattening agent, and finally, 3.5 parts [311/42 quarts] of PPG DTR 602 reducer." This produces two gallons of sprayable chassis paint. John applies two medium wet coats over DP90 black epoxy and achieves the desired finish.

"If you are going to keep the paint on hand," says John, "you'll need to vigorously stir the mixture before using it the next time, as the flattener will sink to the bottom." John also notes that the mixture does not use hardener.