My 1966 Plymouth Barracuda
My 1966 Plymouth Barracuda
I love my 66 Barracuda. The interior is trashed and it has a puny, weak 7-1/4" differential but the body is straight and rust free and the paint looks pretty good. When I bought it, it came with a 273 2-bbl and 904 auto. I replaced the engine with a hopped up 318 and the trans with a Tremec 5 speed manual. Unfortunately the shop (I use the term loosely) that did the work failed to drain the gas tank before they fired it up, so the 5 year old rotten fuel gummed up the valve guides and it's been sitting ever since. This year I'm finally going to get it fixed and back on the road - it's been too long...
Building a 1966 Barracuda
Of all the early Mopar A bodies, I like the 1966 Plymouth Barracuda the best. It's a lot sportier looking than the Dart or Valiant, and the large rear window gives the car a very unique look (this is where all the Mustang and Camaro fans say "Yeah, but not in a good way"). The back seat folds down, creating a huge cargo space which I like for hauling model airplanes, beer, etc. It's probably big enough to sleep in, though I haven't tried that yet. The 1966 Barracuda is my favorite of the first generation 'Cudas.
The Barracuda can give great performance with a 318, especially when it's backed by a 5-speed manual transmission. It's also light enough to give decent performance with a smaller engine if a 273 or Slant Six is your thing. In fact, I'd like to find another one of these specifically to build with a Hyper Pack Slant Six. In Formula S trim, the Barracuda also provides excellent handling. It's also fairly unique and gets me lots of smiles and "thumbs up" when I drive it.
Mopar Performance - Mopar and Barracuda History
First Things First
Things to Consider When Buying a 1964 - 1966 Barracuda
Condition is very important
The 1964 - 1966 Barracudas aren't as popular as other vintage pony cars so there aren't as many reproduction parts available. Interior kits, lenses, and misc. small parts are available for the early Barracudas, but things like quarter panels (and other body parts), patch panels, and trim pieces generally aren't. Unless you're a good metal fabricator or have a lot of money to spend, "rust free" is more important for an early Barracuda than it is for other vintage cars. The other consideration is the rear window - unless you want to spend a lot of time and money tracking down a new (used) rear window, make sure your Barracuda has one.
What engine do you want to run?
The early Barracudas had 2 engine options - a Slant Six or a small block V8. It's easy enough to put a Slant Six into a V8 car or vice versa except that Mopar in their infinite wisdom decided to use a different steering drag link for the 2 different engines. On a V8 Barracuda, the drag link drops about 2" across the center to clear the oil pan. On a Slant Six Barracuda it doesn't. If you're trying to put a V8 nto a Barracuda that originally cam with a Slant Six it won't work unless you can find the correct drag link. Of course putting a Slant Six into a Barracuda that originally came with a V8 shouldn't be a problem...
Finding a 1964 - 1966 Barracuda
You probably won't find one of these in the Used Car lot at your local dealership. The best places to find a 1964 - 1966 Barracuda are probably Craig's List or EBay. You might find one sitting in a back yard or garage. They sometimes turn up at wrecking yards, especially ones catering to older vehicles. "Deals on Wheels" type publications can also be a good source. Those listed in Hemmings are probably over priced. Don't pay too much for one of these cars. With the exception of a Formula S, the 1964 - 1966 Barracudas are worth around $15000 tops when restored to Number 1 collectible condition. Most of the ones you find will be in condition 5 (restorable) or 4 (good). Get a copy of Old Cars Price Guide and study it. Don't pay too much for one of these cars - I know I already said it but it's worth repeating.
Reproduction Parts for a 64 - 66 Barracuda
Early Barracudas weren't exactly popular in the past, so it was difficult to find reproduction parts for them. That seems to be changing though because more and more parts for the early (1964-66) Barracudas are becoming available.
Mopar - The Perfomance Years
Thanks for checking out my 1966 Barracuda lens. I hope the info is useful and entertaining. If you have any questions on first gen Barracudas or other Mopar A Bodies post them and I'll answer the best I can. I just finished a late model 318/Kiesler 5 speed installation in my 1966 Barracuda and there is a lot of things to look out for...