Remember when the Mopars that won the best of show awards were driven on and off trailers more often than on the open highway?

It wasn't that long ago. Even the pages of this magazine were focusing on chalk marks and correct finishes, spending less time on the subject of enhancing and delivering rear-wheel drive performance and, perhaps more importantly, reliability. Maybe we forgot that it was performance that made muscle Mopars so revered and, as a result, so valuable today.

What we've learned through our travels to see exquisitely restored concours Mopars is how to take that uncompromised aesthetic appearance and apply it to the cars that we prefer to drive every day. Impossible? Not anymore!

The truth of the matter is, there are no fewer trailered show cars now than in previous years, but there are many more well driven Mopars attending shows, competing for awards, and blasting down the quarter-mile. Some call what we are experiencing in Mopar circles the Muscle Car Renaissance. We'd prefer to call it natural selection. Certainly you'd rather enjoy every facet of your Mopar-not just what it looks like. The best Mopars run, race, and rule the show field all at the same time.

Natural selection surmises that we're building cars we want to show, drive, and race. Today's Mopar enthusiasts want to drive their show car not simply to prove that it's a driver, but rather to enjoy everything available from four wheels, a four-speed, and gobs of V8 power. They not only can win Best of Show and drive home, but the enjoyment of getting behind the wheel makes the experience multi-dimensional. It's our natural selection as Mopar enthusiasts to choose cars that run, drive, and look good all in equal, yet exceptional, balance.

That's the impetus behind our latest project with Muscle Car Restorations of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. As a follow-up to the no-holds-barred Holley Road Runner, it was determined that we needed a "real-world head-turner." The Road Runner was a great magazine project car, yet it was nearly a blank check project. We needed to build a musclecar for the masses-delivered in a manner that is far more realistic to duplicate, yet offers so much curb appeal that you simply cannot give it just a casual glance.

John Balow recommended the convertible '67 Barracuda as a popular platform still available for a reasonable sum. There's certainly no better car to drive than a convertible for pure "on the road" pleasure, and with our intentions of invading events like the Hot Rod Power Tour with exciting and well-accomplished Mopars, the jaded world of Camaros and Mustangs would soon realize that the Mopars may have an advantage to reach new enthusiasts.

In our first installment, we offer a photo essay of the car that John chose, and what the preliminary steps in building a show-winning street driver would require from a body and paint perspective.

In the coming months, we'll bring you additional installments, including the Mopar Performance Parts crate engine drivetrain, the best of the performance aftermarket by providing both creature comforts such as the Classic Auto Air R-134a air conditioning, as well as the bulletproof TCI 727 TorqueFlite and National Drivetrain-equipped 831/44 rearend. We'll show just how much coverage there is from Year One right from their A- and C-Body catalog, as well as conduct an interior color change, replace the convertible top, and assemble a Barracuda that has so much panache that you'd swear it came in on the trailer. But trust us, it didn't.

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.

Part DescriptionPart No.
1967 LH Quarterpanel SkinKQ167LH
1967 RH Quarterpanel SkinKQ167RH
1967 Quarterpanel Skins (Pair)KQ167LHRH
1968 LH Quarterpanel SkinKQ168LH
1968 RH Quarterpanel SkinKQ168RH
1968 Quarterpanel Skins (Pair)KQ168LHRH
1969 LH Quarterpanel SkinBN51LH
1969 RH Quarterpanel SkinBN51RH
1969 Quarterpanel Skins (Pair)BN51LHRH
1967-'69 Outer Wheelhouse Panel (LH)BN35LH
1967-'69 Outer Wheelhouse Panel (RH)BN35RH
1967-'69 Outer Wheelhouse Panel (Pair)BN35LHRH
1967-'74 A-Body Trunk Floor (LH)M217LH
1967-'74 A-Body Trunk Floor (RH)M217RH
1967-'74 A-Body Trunk Floor (Pair)M217LHRH
1967-'74 A-Body One Piece Trunk FloorM216
1967-'76 A-Body Front Floor Pan (LH)JS6002LH
1967-'76 A-Body Front Floor Pan (RH)JS6002RH
1967-'76 A-Body Front Floor Pan (Pair)JS6002LHRH
1967-'76 A-Body Front Floor Pan (LH, Hi-Quality)M224LH
1967-'76 A-Body Front Floor Pan (RH, Hi-Quality)M224RH
1967-'76 A-Body Front Floor Pan (Pair, Hi-Quality)M224LHRH
1967-'76 A-Body Rear Floor Pan (LH)JS6001LH
1967-'76 A-Body Front Floor Pan (RH)JS6001RH
1967-'76 A-Body Front Floor Pan (Pair)JS6001LHRH

Year One
P.O. Box 129
Dept. MM1202
Tucker, GA 30085-0129
800/YEAR-ONE
www.yearone.com

Service Focus: Freman Auto
Rust free. The automotive gamble of all time. Unfortunately, you've discovered that your rare Mopar is not as rust free as you would have preferred. Where will you turn? If it is a part that is commercially available in reproduction, there really isn't a big issue, but what if you need a firewall, a front clip, or another hard-to-find structural item?

Look no further than Freman Auto. This large wrecking yard specializes in American-made cars from 1940-1980. The biggest percentage of their inventory is from 1950-1975.

Did we mention that Neil Freman has over 30,000 cars in several locations? Plus, Freman Auto's Web site offers a detailed inventory for specific cars that covers approximately 70 percent of the inventory.

Freman Auto adds cars to the inventory daily, and if they don't have the car or parts you need, they may be able to help you locate them elsewhere.

If you need parts for your car or if you are looking for a complete car, just call, write, fax, or e-mail Freman Auto with your needs. A price quote on the items you requested will be provided.

Freman Auto, 406/287-5436, fremansauto.com

Product Focus: PPG CONCEPT(r) DCC Acrylic UrethaneSingle-stage. Two-stage. Flash time. If the terms of the paint professional are not your first vocabulary, perhaps PPG Concept DCC Acrylic Urethane is the topcoat for your next Mopar project.

Concept DCC Acrylic Urethane is a premium quality, single-stage, two-component refinish product designed to offer exceptional gloss and color match. It is available in conventional single-stage solid and metallic colors, and can be used over all properly prepared OEM finishes, as well as cured air-dried finishes.

For more information on Concept DCC Acrylic Urethane, download Product Information Bulletin P-168 at www.ppg.com/refinishftpsite/docs/p-168.pdf.

PPG Auto Refinish
One PPG Place
Pittsburgh, PA 15272
412/434-3131
www.ppg.com/cr-refinish/phase1/frmHome.asp

SOURCE
Auto Meter Products
413 W. Elm St.
Sycamore
IL  60178
815-899-0800
www.autometer.com
Muscle Car Restorations
7-15/-834-2223
musclecarrestorations.com
BFGoodrich Tires
877-788-8899
www.bfgoodrichtires.com
National Drivetrain
8-00/-507-4327
nationaldrivetrain.com
Classic Auto Air Manufacturing
8-13/-251-2356
8-13/-251-4994
PPG Auto Refinish
4-12/-434-3131
http://www.ppg.com/cr-refinish/p
hase1/frmHome.asp
Custom Autosound
1030 W. Williamson Ave.
Fullerton
CA  92883
800-888-8637
www.customautosound.com
Paul's Chrome Plating
8-00/-245-8679
paulschrome.com
Denny's Driveshafts
7-16/-875-6640
8-00/-955-1872
dennysdriveshaft.com
Performance Suspension Technology
8-00/-247-2288
p-s-t.com
Fine Lines
800-SST-UBES
finelinesinc.com
Restomotive Labs (POR-15)
8-00/-457-6715
por15.com
Freman Auto
4-06/-287-5436
fremansauto.com
Road Scholar Transport
8-00/-542-5029
www.roadscholar.com
Holley Performance Products
1801 Russellville Rd.
Bowling Green, KY 42101
KY  42101
270-782-2900
www.holley.com
Stainless Steel Brakes Corp.
11470 Main St.
Clarence
NY  14031
800-448-7722
www.stainlesssteelbrakes.com
Iverson Automotive
8-00/-325-0480
9-52/-932-9026
Steer & Gear
6-14/-231-4064
Keystone Automotive
8-00/-328-1145
Stephens Performance
2-56/-247-1332
Layson's Restorations
8-77/-930-4088
laysons.com
TCI
Ashland
MS
662-224-8972
www.tciauto.com
Lokar Performance
8-65/-966-2269
lokar.com
Titan Air Corporation
7-15/-597-2050
titanair.com
March Performance
5820 Hix Rd.
Westland
MI  48185
734-729-9070
www.marchperformance.com
Tube Technologies, Inc.
9-09/-371-4878
ttiexhaust.com
Mopar Performance Parts
2-48/-969-1690
mopar.com
Wheel Vintiques
5-59/-251-6957
wheelvintiques.com
Moser Engineering
2-60/-726-6689
moserengineering.com
Year One
PO Box 129
Tucker
GA  30085
800-932-7663
770-496-1949
www.nextgenparts.com/mustang
Mr. Lugnut
3-10/-324-1111
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