Race Car Build: 1970 Plymouth Barracuda

The Barracuda was all-new for 1970 and would have its best year. Its sporty E-body styling was a vast improvement over its predecessors and the Barracuda would finally shed its heritage with the Valiant. This 1970 convertible has been built as a race car with a 440 V8 said to put out a whopping 700 hp. Put together for a specific purpose, just the right person will want to take over ownership because going back to stock would not be economically viable. Located in Everett, Washington, this go-fast drop-top is available here on craigslist for $70,000. Thanks, Chuck Foster, for sending this one our way!

Barracuda production for 1970 would be 48,867 units, up 50 percent from the prior year and a number that the car would not see again. 2,501 of these machines would be convertibles and – if this car were a ‘Cuda model to start with – it would have been only 1 of 548 built. The seller doesn’t give us any history on the Plymouth, so you must take it at face value that it’s a car modified for racing, no doubt drag racing. The decked-out big-block engine that produces 1.6 horses per cube should be rather potent – in a straight line.

We don’t know if the car has been raced and if it was, how well it did. The indicated mileage is just 10, but that could be since the transformation. But we’re told the odometer is broken, so it likely doesn’t matter. The 440 is paired with an automatic transmission and we see racing seats (2!) and apparatus where a back seat used to be. For a dragster, you’d think a hardtop would be a better choice because the roof acts as something of a rollbar. We can’t tell if one was added to this convertible or not.

The engine sits at least a foot above the bottom of the windshield, so the hood in place with its huge riser makes it difficult to see where you’re going. But it’s only a quarter-mile, I guess you can aim and point for a few seconds and you’re there. There are no power assists with the steering or brakes, so be sure those arm and leg muscles are all beefed up! We’re told the color of the car is blue, so that’s perhaps what it wore when it left the factory, as all white now with a black convertible top that looks in good condition.

A conversation with the seller should prove to be interesting, finding out how this car came to be and has it already lived up to expectations and retired. I’m betting the opposite – that it’s yet to be raced because if it had been, where are all the sponsor logos on the side of the car?


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  1. J_Paul Member

    I know, I know…every car has it’s story, and no too people have the same taste. And convertible Barracudas are both rare and cool.

    But—for me—$70,000 for what looks like a 1980s drag build is the hardest of hard nos. Driving this on the street would be ridiculous. Driving it on a track would be worthy of a Darwin Award (as far as I can see, there’s no rollbar or cage. Yikes!). The entire rear floor/structure has been removed to fit the tires and suspension. Even if it could be returned to a more stock-looking appearance, the costs involved would be far too much to bother.

    Like 19
    • J_Paul Member

      Er…”No TWO people.” Where did the edit button go?

      Like 5
    • DayDreamBeliever Member

      Agree on all points, except this is more of a “Pro Street” build in my eyes. Crazy, scary to drive at real speed… Not a race car, for sure.

      I think the builder’s vision on what was to be the end point was muddled between track and highway. Cool show car perhaps, but ultimately unsuitable for either side of the track/street fence.

      Like 9
      • Steve R

        You are right. It’s has all if the earmarks of a stalled Pro Street car rather than a real race car. When I worked at the track it would have taken me, or anyone else doing tech, about 2 seconds to decide to fail this car. As it sits, it’s so far from being legal the owner wouldn’t even have needed to shut the car off and get out before you found several reasons to send them home. It may sound unfair, but doing that is better than dealing with the aftermath of the driver being hurt or killed.

        Steve R

        Like 16
      • Dave

        So, now Tesla turns its Plaid loose, a car capable of 2 second 0-60 times and low 9 second quarters at over 150 mph. Like the Challenger Demon, not NHRA legal, but in the hands of an untrained driver, able to kill you and others before you realize what’s happening.

        Like 5
  2. Troy s

    Outlaw ‘Cuda, they claim its a race car…maybe somewhere late at night.

    Like 3
  3. KC John

    And the award for best hood scoop ever goes to…..

    Like 8
    • MrBZ

      …at least the biggest!

      Like 10
    • Don Eladio

      Certainly NOT to this atrocity.

      Like 4
  4. Skorzeny

    I know the owner was free to do as he pleased, but what a way to ruin a car… Sad.

    Like 23
  5. Motorhead440

    Criminal to do that to a 1970 Convertible Barracuda or Cuda’. If it was once a real big block Cuda’ it would be worth a long patient resto. Likely need a Barracuda donor and it would definitely be a labor of love because there would be no money in it.

    Like 9
    • Rick Rothermel

      Coupla years ago a friend on SoCal asked me to find a home for his buddy’s pro-street ’71 hemiCuda.
      Decent car, built from a real hemi car but tubbed and hacked up too far to save. Worth more as parts than as a whole car, sale-proof as is… Like this mess.

  6. Paolo

    The stupidest thing I’ve seen today.

    Like 9
  7. Keith

    I like it, 4 things would need to happen if i got it . not that i can.
    1) finish whatever sheetmetal work is unfinished
    2) cage it, nothing over the top. 80s Prostreet style
    3) lose the hood and get a flat hood with a big hole.
    4) flashy 80’s prostreet paint job
    5) enjoy on the road.

    Like 10
  8. A.G.

    A claimed 700 hp in a convertible with manual steering, manual brakes, and reduced structural rigidity is a scary thought. Forget tech inspection, in some municipalities the ridiculous hood might not even be street legal (obstructed vision).

    Like 4
    • DayDreamBeliever Member

      Without much to go on, I am not sure that the structural rigidity is too bad. Missing the rear sheet metal flooring, yes… But it appears that a substantial box-channel frame has been added in order to work with the narrowed rear axle and tubbed body.

      No photos to show how extensive it might be through the middle and front of the car, but it is possible that the ‘Cuda sits entirely on a custom frame.

      Like 1
      • Steve R

        It’s referred to as “back halved”, Google the term “back half kit” and you will see that these kits consist of. Most Pro Street cars were built along these lines.

        Steve R

        Like 1
  9. KC John

    Ok, quick correction. And the winner for WORST hood scoop ever is…….. Sorry, I forgot to proof read. Lol

    Like 6
  10. Don Eladio

    This car is a joke…but some Mopar hillbilly will pay too much for it. Please note, I am a Mopar non-hillbilly. Yes, I know, we seem to be in the the minority.

    Like 3
  11. Craigo

    The Dumbass who built this atrocity obviously didn’t take into account visibility

    Like 3
  12. mgreene

    That air cleaner would never pull enough air for 700hp.

  13. Chuck Foster Chuck Foster

    I see a yellow Nash Bridges Hemi clone in this car’s future, at a much lower price.

  14. Shawn Fox Firth

    Well, it does attract pussy .. .

    Like 1
  15. Mark

    By far the worst looking hood I’ve ever seen.

    Like 2
  16. djjerme

    This is very much an unfinished project.

    700 hp? Not with that intake setup. Even with the biggest cam you could imagine and fully ported heads, it’s probably 500 on a good day.

    The interior is half finished and needs a lot of tin work to make it even somewhat track legal. As well, the only safety device is the cutoff switch; it’s missing EVERYTHING else.

    With all that being said, for the right price, it could be finished up and turned in to a capable street beast. For the right price.

    I’d say 10K max and move along.

    Like 2

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