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1969 Plymouth Hemi Barracuda - Stitch In Time

Rod Arndt's '69 Hemi Barracuda.

Photography by Geoff Stunkard

Tech Notes
What: '69 Plymouth Barracuda Formula S

Owner: Rod Arndt

Hometown: Antigo, Wisconsin, almost in the center of the Badger State

Engine: Rod's Barracuda left the factory with a 383 and has since been fortified with a 478-inch Hemi. The Hemi block was machined and balanced by Muscle Motors, which used an Eagle stroker, the stock rods, and Venolia 10.5 pistons for the bottom end. Charlie's did the oil pan for this project. Rod assembled the engine and keeps the rpm at a reasonable 6,100 while pegging the dyno near 700 ponies using an MSD ignition.

Heads: Why mess with a good thing? These are the cast OEM units, which Muscle Motors treated to a port job and then stuffed with fresh stock-size valves and the OEM rockers-and-shaft layout.

Camshaft: The bumpstick came from Comp cams as a mechanical roller with 285/295 degrees duration at 0.050 and 0.822/0.793 lift.Muscle Motors custom pushrods and a Cloyes timing outfit keep the bottom and top ends together at speed.

Induction: Thanks to Indy Cylinder Heads, it has never been easier to put a single-four on a Hemi mill; this Indy intake was also prepped by Muscle Motors and port-matched to the heads. On top went a fat 1090 King Demon carb fed by Barry Grant lines and a pump outfit from a 16-gallon trunk-mounted fuel cell.

Exhaust: One of the most unique features of Rod's car is the side-mount exhaust. Barely muffled, the engine lopes the note through a set of homemade custom-tube headers and mufflers, all of which were Jet-Hot-coated before Rod did the final weld job to get the pipes on the car.

Transmission: Geared up to stock specs, it's a he-man factory A833 four-speed crash box with a Lakewood bellhousing and Hayes clutch outfit connecting to the engine. A pretty cool Hurst Super Shifter is used for grabbing gears.

Rearend: Big meat requires big mods. This Dana 60 housing was narrowed and stuffed full of Moser axles, a 4.88 Richmond ring, and a Sure Grip, of course.

Suspension: Rod treated the frontend to a Magnum Force conversion, including a tubular K-frame and rack-and-pinion. Out back is an Art Morrison four-link, and QA1 shocks round it out. Again, Rod put in the hours himself in his home garage to do all of this, plus wheeltubs and subframe connectors and the Art Morrison four-link keep the rear on the straight and narrow.

Brakes: Wilwood discs up front and drums in the rear, plus a Deist parachute for good measure.

Wheels/Tires: The odd combo includes Boyd's wheels with BFGoodrich 205/ 50R17s in the front and monstrous 15x15 Convo Pros with 21.5x33 Mickey Thompson Sportsmans out back.

Body: The Barracuda was treated to some A1 fiberglass parts. The rear wheelwells were stretched for tire room, and Tony's Hot Rod Shop carefully fit everything before it sprayed the car with DuPont Chromabase black basecoat/clearcoat. It crosses the scales at 3,280 pounds.

S-logo: This Barracuda was an original Formula S 383 notchback--pretty scarce stuff even back in the day. Rod admits that if these things follow the E-bodies into the musclecar stratosphere, it would be hard to bring the car back to stock!

Interior: It's still in basic black, with RCI seats, Deist harnesses, and Auto Meter gauges, and all the accessories in case Wisconsin weather is problematic are there, including the defroster.

Transmission: The New Process Chrysler A833 box works with a Hayes clutch-and-flywheel outfit in a Lakewood housing.

Performance: It ran 9.98 during a test session at Rock Falls, Wisconsin.

Special thanks: Tim Keen, John Meede, Tony and the guys at the Hot Rod Shop, and Ron Schroepfer, plus sons Christian and Nate, and Marla.

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