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1970 Plymouth Barracuda - The Dark Lord

We Wouldn't Pick A Fight With Jody Holdren's '70 Barracuda.

By , Photography by Greg Smith

There's a reason villains wear black. Picture Darth Vader in a hunter green suit and mask. They'd have laughed him right out of the rebel base on Hoth. Or how about Lee Van Cleef's character in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly? Which one was he? The Bad. What color did he wear? Black.

And so it is with Jody Holdren's Barracuda. Look at it parked on the side of the road in the lead image. Sitting on huge ET Streets and dressed in black enamel, this Barracuda is pure badass, and it's just looking for a fight.

This is a car Jody has owned for more than half his life. He traded the owner a Kawasaki KZ 500 for this car. And this was a Kaw he traded some other guy a Ventura for. Jody's good at making things happen.

Even though this Barracuda was originally a 318 car, it had a 340 under the hood when Jody acquired it. He immediately yanked that engine and traded it for a 440, complete with headers and a transmission. "It was a fairly basic, 11.0:1 engine, and I had it in the car till about 2002," Jody says. It's fairly basic, but also fairly quick, and Jody's been racing this car for years.

Looking for more speed, Jody eventually bought a stroker kit from440source.com, and that bumped his displacement up to 496. It also propelled the car solidly into the 10s. His best pass so far is a 10.41 at 131 mph.

In addition to building horsepower, Jody's continued to improve the exterior, slowly transforming it from a ratty, primered street-racer special he describes as "high school rough," into the clean but menacing ride you see today. Along the way, he's replaced a previous owner's flared rear wheel openings with stock replacement quarter-panels and put the heavy Plymouth on a bit of a composite diet, installing a fiberglass hood, front valance, and fenders. That and gutting his door beams shaved a couple hundred pounds from the car and certainly helped his e.t.'s.

So what does the future hold for Jody's Plymouth? He tells us he'd love a supercharger or the 572 stroker kit or both, but he needs some time to save up. Whatever happens, we know this black Plymouth will show no mercy to its competition.

Tech Notes
Who: Jody Holdren
What: '70 Plymouth Barracuda
Where: Woodland Hills, CA

Engine: As if 440 ci weren't enough, Jody ponied up for a stroker package from 440source.com. It consists of a forged 4.15-inch crank, forged rods, and Ross flat-top pistons. At zero deck height, these pistons yield a tight 12.5:1 compression ratio. We're guessing Jody has to add a splash or two of race gas at each fill-up. The block itself has a 1972 date code and was machined and clearanced for the stroker crank by Mike Landy. Moving up the block, you'll find a pair of Edelbrock Victor cylinder heads that were custom-ported by Porter Racing Heads in South Burlington, Vermont. The company also opened up the intake ports to Max Wedge dimensions. Owner Dwayne Porter matched a custom-ground Comp cam to Jody's combination. It's a single-pattern solid-roller type that measures 276 degrees at 0.050 and 0.680-inch lift. Smith Bros. pushrods lean on a set of T&D 1.5:1 shaft mount rocker arms that open up 2.20/1.810 valves. The springs are also from Comp, while the fasteners are from ARP and the gasket kit is from Cometic.

Induction: That's an Edelbrock Super Victor Max Wedge intake manifold that draws air in through a 1,050-cfm Carb Shop-prepped Dominator.

Power: Jody listed his power figures as 720 hp at 6,300 and 656 lb-ft at 5,500. Based on his 10.41-at-131-mph dragstrip pass, we have no reason to doubt him.

Exhaust: Two-inch TTI headers route the exhaust into a 3 1/2-inch exhaust system bent up by Morse Muffler in Burbank, California.

Transmission: There's a beefed-up 727 TorqueFlite behind Jody's oversized RB. It's been built with a billet front drum and an A&A reverse-manual valvebody. He ratchets through the gears with a B&M Pro Stick shifter.

Rearend: That's a Dana 60 in back, but it's actually out of a '68 Chevrolet 3/4-ton pickup and had to be narrowed to fit the car. It houses Richmond 4.56:1 gears on a Power Lock differential and 35-spline Moser axles.

Suspension: The front suspension is stock and still has the car's original 318-spec torsion bars. Lakewood drag shocks allow the front to rise on hard launches, and a 20:1 Mopar steering box allows Jody some looseness at the steering wheel so he doesn't actually send the car into the wall if he hiccups while making a pass. The rear suspension is basically stock. Jody widened the rear wheeltubs to fit bigger tires, added a set of CalTracs bars, and uses Rancho five-way adjustable shocks.

Body: The Barracuda's chassis is mostly stock. Jody added homemade subframe connectors and welded in a Chris Alston eight-point rollbar to increase rigidity and up the safety factor, too. The body is all steel with the exception of the fiberglass hood, fenders, and front valance. It tips the scales at about 3,400 pounds.

Brakes: Aerospace Components drag race brake kits are mounted front and rear. The front rotors measure 11 3/4 inches and the rears measure 11 3/8.

Wheels/Tires: Simple but effective, Jody's car rolls on Weld Draglite wheels. Up front, BFGoodrich 225/70R15 tires are mounted on 15x5 wheels, and out back, 31x16.5-15 Mickey Thompson ET Street tires are mounted on 15x12 wheels.

Paint/Body: Jody did a lot of the bodywork himself, replacing the clapped-out quarter-panels a few years ago. He recently had the car painted at Dura Glow in Van Nuys, California, for the paltry sum of $1,200. He squeaked by with this deal of the century by doing most of the prep work himself. He even provided the shop with a gallon of primer.

Interior: Aside from the rollbar, the interior is mostly stock with a smattering of Auto Meter gauges and RCI five-point harnesses. The front seats were from a Mazda RX-7 Jody's company provided for a movie.

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