Rust-Free Project: 1966 Plymouth Barracuda

The Plymouth Barracuda broke cover for the first time on April 1st, 1964. However, this car was no April Fool. This marked the beginning of a badge that grew in both performance and legend status until the last Barracuda rolled off the production line exactly 10-years to the day after the first car appeared. This 1966 model has been hidden away in a barn since 1982, and it has only recently emerged from hiding. It is a complete and original example that is just begging to be restored. The Plymouth is located in Douglasville, Georgia, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. The auction is set to open at $6,000, but there have been no bids to this point. However, 37 people are watching the listing.

The Barracuda originally wore White paint, but it has undergone a color change at some point. It is now tired and faded, so a repaint is going to be on the cards. There is some surface corrosion visible around the vehicle, but a life spent in Orlando, Florida, means that this is as bad as it gets. The owner claims that the Plymouth is rust-free, and there are no problems visible in the photos. The panels are nice and straight, with a single dent in the roof’s rear section as the only problem. This was courtesy of something falling on the vehicle while it was in storage, but fixing it shouldn’t be a problem. All of the chrome is present and looks to be restorable, while there are no issues with the tinted glass.

The 225ci slant-six was the standard engine in the Barracuda range for 1966. However, a couple of variants of the 273ci V8 were available for anyone willing to tick the right box on the Order Sheet. This 273 is the 180hp version, which is backed by a 3-speed TorqueFlite transmission. The Plymouth also features power steering. Performance figures for this car would have been respectable but not dazzling. The trip down the ¼ mile would have taken 17.6 seconds, and it would have eventually wound its way to 113mph. It is no surprise that after sitting for 38-years, this V8 doesn’t run. However, it does turn freely, which is good news. There is the chance that it might be coaxed back to life after some basic maintenance and a fuel-system flush. The vehicle has a claimed 45,800 genuine miles showing on the clock. The owner doesn’t indicate whether he holds evidence to verify this. There are no interior photos, but we know that the Barracuda still features its original green vinyl trim. What can be seen of it looks promising, so it might be able to be saved with some careful cleaning. This isn’t a car loaded with luxury extras, but given its life in Florida, air conditioning was a wise choice that the original owner made. It also appears that the Barracuda features the optional center console.

Given the sorts of values that later Barracuda models can command, the 1st Generation vehicles tend to remain surprisingly affordable. Good original examples fitted with the 273/TorqueFlite combination can be found around the $23,000 mark, although pristine cars can still top $30,000 on a good day. This one isn’t pristine, but it looks like it could be a great project car. The lack of rust or significant body issues means that the new owner could undertake most of the restoration work in a home workshop. I’m a bit surprised that there have been no bids, but with 37 people watching the listing, maybe they are all waiting to see if someone else will blink first. I hope that one of them does because this is a classic that deserves to be returned to the road once again.


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  1. angliagt angliagt Member

    I drove a ’66 Barracuda (6 cylinder/3 on the tree) when I had
    a job working & delivering for a neighborhood pharmacy.It was about
    the dullest thing I’ve ever driven.
    I cringe every time I see another ’66.

    Like 3
  2. Arthur

    This Barracuda would make a perfect basis for a pro-touring build involving the new Hellcat Redeye crate engine. And it’s rust-free, so there would be no need for fabricating new sheetmetal beyond what would be needed for a custom chassis installation.

    Like 4
    • Will Irby

      I intended to take a similar path with my ’65 Barracuda, which I have owned since ’78, when I dropped the 340 from a previous car in it. However, after ordering a Hellcat engine in May 2015 and waiting for several months before being told that it might be a year before I could get it, I changed to an aluminum 433 c.i. 3rd gen hemi with Hilborn stack injection and dry sump oil system. I’m not complaining; now I have the same horsepower as the Hellcat engine with about 200 pounds less weight on the front end. I would classify my car as slightly beyond “pro-touring”, with a full frame with cage, independent rear suspension with Hammerhead center section and differential cooler, Detroit Speed front suspension, Alcon brakes, Tremec 6-speed with PPG sequential shift conversion, Viking active shock control, and some other fun stuff. It’s set up for road racing, but will see frequent street duty, with Vintage A/C, stereo, etc. The first-gen Barracudas don’t get much love; mine was the only one at SEMA 2019:

      Like 13
      • Neal in Boston

        Schwing! Holy red cow! That is a beautiful car. Congrats, good job, and ENJOY!

        Like 4
      • Dave

        Road racing? Like New York to L.A., right? Maximum warp!

      • Will Irby

        Thanks, Neal. It has been a long road!

        Like 1
      • Will Irby

        Dave, officially, like Road America, Road Atlanta, COTA, etc.
        New York to L.A.? Well,of course not; that would be illegal.

  3. William

    A buddy had one of these in HS. That folded down rear seat with “7 feet of anything space” (as per the advertising) was really popular with him on date nights. Jimmy always had a way with the ladies that I never did.

    Like 6
    • Steve Clinton

      It was always entertaining to park behind one of these at the drive-in and enjoy the view.

      Like 5
  4. Steve Clinton

    A half-azzed attempt by Chrysler to compete with the Mustang.
    Was that an aftermarket vinyl roof? I don’t recall a Barracuda of this vintage with one.

    Like 2

      Wasn’t the barracuda released before the mustang by a couple of weeks?

      Like 11
      • Major Thom

        The Mustang was introduced about two weeks later, on April 17.
        Coincidentally, another car that was introduced on April Fool’s Day? The AMC Gremlin in 1970.

        Like 3
      • Steve Clinton

        Chrysler knew the Mustang was coming and wanted to grab as many sales as possible before that happened. Hence the ‘bubble’ rear window pasted on a Valiant.

        Like 2
    • karl

      Since it takes several years and countless man hours for a car to go from an idea to the actual building of a car, I highly doubt Chrysler built the car to compete with a car that no one knew at the time was going to be a huge sales success.
      Going by your thoughts maybe it was Ford who somehow saw the fastback Valiant designs and figured they would build a competitor for it using their Falcon ?
      Both companies knew that the younger car owners wanted something sporty , so they took their cheapest platform, ( which is what the younger car owners could afford and bought the most of) and came up with the Barracuda and Mustang .

      Like 2
      • Will Irby

        Exactly! Ford was developing the Mustang from the Falcon at the same time Chrysler was developing the Barracuda from the Valiant. The Baracuda beat the Mustang to the showrooms by a couple of weeks. Chevrolet was a little late to the party in developing the Camaro; although a model based on the Chevy II had been developed in ’62, and the “Super Nova” concept car was shown at the New York Auto Show in ’64 (2 weeks before the Mustang’s debut at the World’s Fair, also in NY), Chevy’s ongoing efforts on the Corvair, Corvette, and Malibu left little time to add another line in time to compete with the Barracuda and Mustang. Obviously, the Camaro did pretty well once it arrived at the party.

        Like 2
    • DON

      The roof is the original color ; the bottom of the car was repainted at one time

  5. Robert Thomas

    When I walked to grade school in 1966, I used to see one of these parked in front of a house along the way. At age 7, the car looked so different from others, with that large glass back.

  6. Solosolo ken tilly UK Member

    Lucky whatever it was that dented the roof while it was hibernating didn’t fall on the rear window!

    Like 5

    Yes they did come with vinyl roofs. Also back in the muscle car days, and when the funny cars would tour the country, there was one labeled the:
    Hemi Under Glass. A hemi engine was put in the back under the glass and would lighten the front end and it would pull a wheelie almost half way down the 1/4 mile track. That car alone would draw the crowds. I think another one was the Missouri Mule with a modified jet engine in the back and it would ignite & roar making you plug your ears. How they gonna provide the rush like that today for car aficionados, with electric cars? Ahh the good old days

    Like 5
    • Robert Thomas

      I remember that “hemi under glass” car, I haven’t thought of it in years. Thanks for bringing it up.

      Like 1
      • 1-MAC

        Hemi under Glass is still around. And so is the original driver,I believe

      • Will Irby

        Wild Bill Shrewsberry was the driver of the original ’65 car. Bob Riggle took over for the ’66 season, and drove the various later versions until ’75, when he was injured in a funny car crash.

  8. David Brassfield

    I had a 65 with a 273 commando 4bbl dual point distributer. It was a real sleeper. I out ran mustangs and camaro’s with some mild modifications.

    Like 4
  9. Neal in Boston

    These are cool cars, and this seems like a neat example. Always been a favorite of mine in different forms (convertibles, etc). I wonder what the original wheel treatments were. Have I seen some with painted steelies and dog-dish hubcaps? That’s a good look. As would be maybe some Torque-Thrusts, if I’m getting the name right.
    And a note about April Fool’s Day: My parents were married at 18 and 19 years old on April 1st, 1967. Still together and mostly happy all these years later. Kind of like that Barracuda: a bit dented and worn but going strong. (As I write that I remember that the car isn’t actually running, but you get the idea…)

    Like 2
  10. David N

    My 2nd car ever and first 4-spd was also a 66 Barracuda, but the HiPo 273 v8 Formula ‘S’!! A blast to drive and it was near new in 1968 when I spied it with a sign in the parking lot of the closest grocery. Light gold with white and gold interior. Had learned to drive a stick on a friend’s 68 Corvette so I was ready to shift!!! Only complaint was the dull Valiant front end styling compared to the 64/65!

  11. Solosolo ken tilly UK Member

    Isn’t the “Hemi under Glass” the same car that was being demonstrated by the owner to Jay Leno and something went wrong and it rolled a couple of times?

    Like 2
    • Neal in Boston

      I was thinking the same thing.

    • Will Irby

      I think that was the ’69 version that was built in the early ’90s when Bob Riggle decided to re-live some of the good old days.

  12. Solosolo ken tilly UK Member

    Just in case anybody is interested in buying South African, rust free cars, cheap considering the exchange rate is heavily in US favour, check out this auction happening tomorrow at Lots of American cars on offer.

  13. chrlsful

    Growin up we hada guy around who was older. Old enuff to have a car. He gave some of the other kids rides around. I didn;t know the details but it looked fishy. He had one of these. I stayed away. A few yrs into highschool he showed up w/the open gaudy shirt, exposed gold chains and drivin the ’67. He was hip now. Still never caught a ride from him.

    my worse nightmare was the initiation of the car auction. We pretty much bought a worn out, wreck, or hi mileage vehicle, did alota wrenchin after hours and offered it up when done. Then came the auction’n our deeper pocketed competition. Even later the internet, eventually the ‘flippers’. I heard friends say “It can’t get any worse” but it did through that time. Example:

    Y pay top dollar? Put some time and effort in and turn a buck…if U can (see above).

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