Monday, June 11, 2018

Out With The Old - In With The...... Old? 1966 Plymouth Barracuda

I thought I came up with a pretty clever title. I don't want to look on the ol' Interweb to see how prevalent it is. I want to think I'm just that clever to make up something like that. Um, yeah...

Anyhoo, I've written a bit about my 1966 Plymouth Sport Fury with its 325-horsepower high-compression 383 V-8, AFB 4-barrel carburetor, and 4-speed manual transmission. This photo was taken last week at a county park on Indian Island, WA.

Here's a little rundown of the Sport Fury's optional equipment. Oh, wait, there is none (almost). For a full-size car, it has manual steering (5.8 turns lock to lock), manual drum brakes, and a manual gearbox. It's no speed demon but it can get out of its own way pretty good and is fun. And as my brother has called it, a "MUSCLE" car in the true sense of the word.

Alas, as fun as the Sport Fury is, something else caught my eye. My brother had bought a 1966 Plymouth Barracuda Formula S back in 2006 and has been slowly fixing and upgrading different things on the car. You just may be smart enough to see where this is going.

A month ago dear old brother broke the news to me that he was ready to move on to other things and that his beloved car of 12 years was being put up for sale. "WHAT???" After the shock wore off, I secretly thought in my mind about figuring out if I could buy it. Well, you know what happens when you start thinking about buying a car. The thought festers inside you until something gives. I finally broke the news to my dear bride what evil thought I had been thinking. "How about we sell the Sport Fury and buy the Formula S...." She said, "Sure". Wow, that was easy. Soooooo, here is my new acquisition as of a few days ago. Ain't it cool?

This Barracuda is very similar to my Sport Fury in many ways. Manual steering, manual drum brakes, manual gearbox (yes, it's a 4-speed, like the SF). Somehow the 'Cuda looks just a wee bit sportier than the Sport Fury though.

For those not familiar with the Barracuda's Formula S package in 1966, it included a 235-horsepower high-compression 273 V-8, AFB 4-barrel carburetor, solid lifter cam, dual point distributor, stiff front and rear suspension, front anti-sway bar, wide 14-inch wheels and special tires, fast-ratio manual steering (3.6 turns lock to lock), center console, and an in-dash tachometer.

My brother had made a reproduction of the car's window sticker.

While many may not care for the first generation Barracuda, I've had a soft spot for them ever since I bought a 1965 Barracuda back in 1979 (for $550 to boot, such a deal). It had the same engine and transmission combo as this car but it didn't have the rest of the Formula S goodies, like tach, 14-inch wheels, or console. Dad took the photo below of me and my car at the Golden Gate Bridge in 1981, and as you can see, I'd put on 14-inch Cragars. I'd driven from Poulsbo, Washington down to Whittier, California to visit my aunt on my dad's side and Dad rode down with me (he took the train home, as I spent a couple months down there). Now that I think back on that trip, Dad was quite the glutton for punishment to ride 1,200 miles in a '65 Barracuda, especially with no air conditioning, or with any other creature comforts to speak of other than heat. I'd rebuilt the engine in that car so it was up for the nearly 3,000 mile round-trip.

Back to the subject at hand. I presume the title of this blog now makes sense. Both the Sport Fury and new Barracuda are from the 1966 model year. So now to go about the process of selling my Sport Fury. Craigslist here I come. The joy. The agony.

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