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Well it’s been sitting or maybe that’s perching on the rotisserie for the better part of a year, but without much fanfare Project Fighting Fish will be coming out from under the submerged rock very soon.
With project vehicles, a larger bite is sometimes taken than had been originally planned; such was the case the Project Fighting Fish ’65 Barracuda. We had never anticipated a full frame-in-the-air rebuild for this A-body, however the original intent of the project is still very much in focus, build a cool, sleek, vintage Mopar road racer. Since starting this project some things have changed, owner Zak Hawthorne has parked his dirt sprint car effort for now, to concentrate on his business.
Along the way we built a bitchen stroker 410 cubic inch Mopar small block with an Isky cam and lifters, sporting Edelbrock port-matched and massaged aluminum heads with Eagle rods and crank and JE pistons, a deep sump Milodon pan and pump, all zapped by a Pertronix Igniter. On the Westech Dyno the results were bitchen too, when the 410 netted 470.7 pound feet of torque and 442.1 peak horsepower at 5400 RPM with a 750 Holley and polished Weiand high-rise and Mancini sheet metal valve covers.
We’ll be mating all this to one of Jaime Passion’s cool, reworked A-833 four speeds, an old Mopar friend sold us a period OEM Hurst Competition Plus shifter that’s currently being re-worked, re-plated and rebuilt by Hurst. Hooking it up the engine to the rear, we used a McLeod clutch and flywheel assembly.
On the inside we still need to install a full S&W Racecars 10-point roll cage, with the safety harness from Taylor Motorsports Products, we’ll sit on Sparco Seats and get instrumentation from an MSD Digital Dash. Underneath we’ve already shown you the 8 ¾ Mopar rear end build from Sutton Engineering with Moser axles and Wilwood disc brakes. We’ll also be replacing the stock torsion bars with beefier ones from Mancini Racing. In the trunk we’ll be adding a recessed, fire-safe fuel cell.
While Project Fighting Fish is still on the rotisserie, it’s time to change out the rusted rear quarter panels behind the wheel wells, installing really nice stamped steel patch panels we bought from Layson’s. Under the front wheel wells goes the full Firm Feel tubular front suspension and quick ratio steering box, we’ve already welded up the K-member and had it covered with black powder coating.
Still on the to-do list is finishing the “smoothing” of the Cuda, the long chrome strips along the top of the rear fenders have been removed and filled in, the old drip rails are gone so some welding will make it look smoother. No worries, the door handles will remain since we wouldn’t pass tech inspection at most racing venues if that was smoothed.