Catchin’ Cuda Fever
Sometimes a hot rodder’s original ideas change as time goes by, often changing for the better as more information and opinions get absorbed. What started out as a search for a daily driver, parts-chaser station wagon, well, it just got derailed. One of our photographers here at Mopar Max and Drag Racing Online, Zak Hawthorne, had one of those, “I just gotta have it!” moments and the long-roof wagon he set out to buy was broomed in favor of a pretty clean, virtually rust-free, primered Southern California ’65 Plymouth Barracuda found at the monthly Long Beach (CA) Hot Rod & Performance Swap Meet.
We ran a photo of the Cuda when Zak brought it back to his shop a couple of months ago. It already sported BF Goodrich radials mounted on red steel wheels, a transplanted ’74 Mopar 360 engine with a Comp Cam and kit and a 650 Holley on an Edelbrock hi-rise. There was a badly leaking and slipping automatic tranny of unknown origin, but 99 percent of the car was there, minus one rear chrome trim piece. The body was very straight, which would minimize future bodywork.
This originally was going to be a daily driver, but as Zak got into cleaning up his Cuda the first change he made for comfort was to replace the re-upholstered original bucket front seats with a pair of Torino 2 sport seats from SPARCO USA to better fit and support his 6’5” frame.
While Zak is a dedicated drag racer at heart, in the last year he’s been driving the wheels off of a dirt sprint car on Saturday nights up the coast at Ventura Raceway, working his way up through the ranks. So, instead of a straight line drag car, this Plymouth was starting to take on a road race feel.