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Collection of 1966-1969 Hemi Plymouth Barracudas Head to Auction

The iconic Hemi Under Glass wheelie machines will seek the biggest fan in Chicago

By , Photography by Mecum Auctions

The iconic wheelie machines known as the Hemi Under Glass Collection, built by Hurst, will cross the auction block Saturday, October 12, 2013, in Schaumburg, Illinois, at the Mecum Chicago Auction. These 4 Plymouth Barracudas, ranging from 1966-69, were built to race in the A/FX class of the late ‘60s. Each Barracuda helped to promote the Hurst brand, while also advertising aftermarket shifters and wheels.

The cars were conceived in 1964 as George Hurst looked for a car to enter the 1965 drag racing season that would help advertise his brand. At the time Hot Rod Magazine Tech Editor, Ray Brock, gave Hurst the idea for putting a Hemi in the back of a Barracuda for better weight transfer. He nicknamed the project “Hurst Hemi Under Glass” and it stuck.

It’s not what Hurst had in mind, but they went with it and it became a huge success. Hurst quickly realized the mid-engine location of the HEMI made it impossible to launch off the line without doing a wheel-stand. It looked like a problem, until crowds got in on the action. With the hype surrounding the original 1965 Hurst Under Glass, all new trim and sheetmetal was added to the 1965 model to reflect the 1966 version. The car survived the next season, gaining even more tracking with the fans, but sadly it was destroyed during the offseason.

“Each time out we tried to improve the car, Paul Phelps and I, working in what we called ‘The Aquarium’ up there in Madison Heights (Hurst’s headquarters in Michigan),” Bob Riggle, the first driver and mechanic of the Hurst, said. “We switched to fuel injection and then from gasoline to alcohol to make it run cooler, and with that and the 4-speed it ran great all through ’67.”

The next year, a band-new 1967 version was built to please crowds with its magnificent wheelies; following it, a 1968 and 1969 version was built to continue traveling the country. Each year the Hurst Under Glass Barracudas would showcase wheels and shifters at major events across North America from. The spectacle continued from 1965 thru 1975, and was brought back in 1992.

In the early ‘90s, Riggle was convinced by the famous Hurst “Shifter Girl,” Linda Vaughn, to rebuild the lost 1966 version of the Hurst Under Glass. After completing the 1966 Barracuda, it went on tour from 1992 to 2009. The car made it to the world famous Goodwood Festival of Speed in England in 2005. Soon after, he sold it to collector Bill Sefton who also owned the 1968, 1969, and eventually bought the 1967 after Riggle restored it for him. The 1967 Hemi went on public display at the NHRA Motorsports Museum in Pomona, California, from 2011 to 2013 while Sefton has owned it.

“I put new quarters in, a new floor… built a new firewall, did everything new to make it like it is now,” Riggle said, talking about the 1967 version he restored. “There is a lot of work in this car. Everything that was bad was replaced. I’m real proud of the work we did on that and how we got it done.”

The 1969 version of the Hurst Under Glass has significant improvements in safety, which allow the driver to operate the car in a wheelie with little experience. A window through the firewall, added braking and steering controls help make the stunt easier to navigate. If you interested in seeing this car, along with the other 3 versions, be sure to check out the Mecum auction Saturday, October 12, 2013, in Schaumburg, Illinois, at the Schaumburg Convention Center. All 4 cars will be sold as one lot and are sure to grab a lot of attention.

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86 comments
Jonny Seed
Jonny Seed

its the fact that its a mid mounted motor that allows the front end to be light..... thus hemi under glass when it wheel stood youi could see the motor thru the back window!!!!!

Stephen Arsenault
Stephen Arsenault

Anybody that is a true muscle car lover like me knows Thera a real hemi motor under that hood

Edward Lewis
Edward Lewis

Saw this one run little red wagon, at US 30.WHAT A THRILL.

Wilf Beckert
Wilf Beckert

Used to see this in Nappierville QC. in the 70ties.

Charles Walker
Charles Walker

They didn't sell. Will be at next auction in FL...

Kenneth Robbins
Kenneth Robbins

Thats in England Goodwood Festival of Speed out side Goodwoood House.

Michael Niemi
Michael Niemi

I always thought it was neat how they were steered. Look through the hole in the floor and apply the appropriate brake. Gutsy!

John Walters
John Walters

and they went to auction WITH all rights to the name..AND ONLY WERE BID TO $750,000 LAKELAND here they come 1 at a time WITH owner keeping ALL NAME AND RIGHTS TO CARS.........

Dan R. Shumway
Dan R. Shumway

Yes I do. . . . . .the gold 'ole days. . . . . .

Brian Scarbs
Brian Scarbs

an amazing car. those wheels seem slightly out of place to me tho.

Randall Sjuts
Randall Sjuts

What is the big deal" CHEVYS DO IT WITH THE ENGINE IN FRONT" it's called RAW TORQUE & HP no engine movement needed. ....

Michael Blanche
Michael Blanche

There were only about 30 wheelstanding NHRA licenses issued. Do you have any photos of Weelstang?

Roger Emory
Roger Emory

Ye , was four of them , tried to sell together , had to sell desperate .

Don Hardy
Don Hardy

Saw the original a few times.

Happy Luthe
Happy Luthe

N H R A needs to bring back classic, for show, like the little red truck, blue max, the cars that made NHRA, the way it is today :)

Tim Parshall
Tim Parshall

not quite...not that I wouldn't mind..:)

Jamey Campbell
Jamey Campbell

hey Chevy lovers look at this I don't see to many bowties doing this

Beverly Foley
Beverly Foley

got the pleasure of watching this car race n Bristol and indy, nice guy, got his autograph and posters !!!

Timothy Gleason
Timothy Gleason

I saw this car in stanton mi n have a shirt. Think the guys name was Bob wriggle he signd my shirt. Awesome car n show.

Andrew Rumble
Andrew Rumble

Hey Tim, is this going to be what your Cuda will look like?

Douglas Ammeter
Douglas Ammeter

The "66" frame is what I worked on in Mansfield, Ohio for Wild Bill Shrewsberry.... Does the same thing my "63" Nova Wagon does ... Hauls Ass , and does Wheelies!!!!!

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