Here's the donor engine for our bracket car. Using this mid-'70s 400 block combined with a
We're leaning toward a set of Edelbrock Performer RPM cylinder heads like these to top thi
We'll stiffen up our Barracudas unibody frame by installing torque boxes and framerail con
These upgrades are mandatory for a hard-launching car to live through the hundreds of pass
We'll strip all the unnecessary items from the car to lighten it up and replace the heavy
There are several things to consider when you're contemplating a project such as ours. Building a car that you find appealing is the first step. If you don't like '79 Aspens, then don't build one. You'll quickly lose interest in a project that doesn't appeal to you. The next consideration when building a drag car is power-to-weight ratio. If you want to go fast cheap, it will be a lot easier to accomplish it in a light car than a heavier one. Be careful here, however, as you can quickly negate your savings by trying to shoehorn a 440 into a Dodge Colt, which requires expensive fabrication. We've found second-generation A-bodies to be the most economical platform on which to build a race car because it's fairly easy to get a big motor into one.
Amy's taste in cars led us to a fastback '67 Barracuda, which is an ideal car for this build. The second-generation Barracuda has a larger engine bay than earlier models, making a big-block swap a breeze. Also, the Barracuda fastback has a higher percentage of weight over the back wheels than other A-bodies, which helps with traction and weight transfer. Once you've chosen a body style or model, finding an ideal race car candidate can be a long hard battle that usually involves lots of footwork and looking through the classifieds. We got lucky and found this '67 Barracuda within a month of beginning our search.
Amy gave us some latitude in our search for an A-Body. She preferred early Darts or fastback Barracudas, but would have been satisfied with a '70 or '71 Duster as well. Having a variety of cars to choose from gave us more opportunities to find the right car for her.
We actually stumbled on this car when looking at a '66 Dart that was for sale in a neighboring town. After stopping to look at the Dart and deciding it wasn't what we needed, the owner said, "if it changes anything, this car comes with a '67 Barracuda parts car." He had our interest. Telling us that the Barracuda was missing parts and too rusty to fix, he showed us the gem hidden behind his garage. At first glance, the car did look bad. The passenger compartment floors were rusted away; the firewall and cowl were rusty; the windshield was broken; and the front fenders were completely beat up. The interior was all but missing, along with most of the exterior trim, hood, and rear bumper. Upon closer inspection, however, we discovered this Barracuda could be the ideal platform for a race car project. The missing parts were items that we would strip from the car or replace with fiberglass anyway. The broken windshield would be replaced with Lexan, along with the other windows. While the floorboards were rusty, the frame of the car was intact and rust-free, so the floors would be an easy fix. Even better, someone had converted the front brakes to late-model A-body discs, which is ideal for a race car. Also ideal-this car is equipped with manual brakes and steering. Looking closely at the roof, quarters, and rocker panels, we discovered they were almost rust-free.
Also working to our advantage was the fact that both cars came as a package deal for $600. We bought both, and then sold the Dart on ebay for $375, which left us with our project Barracuda costing the whopping sum of $225.