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Ken Maisano's 1970 Plymouth Barracuda - The Softer Side Of 9s

Ken Maisano's stroker small-block Barracuda

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Tech Notes
Who: Ken Maisano

What: '70 Plymouth Barracuda

Where: Costa Mesa, CA

Engine: This was originally a 340 car, but seeking more cubic inches, Ken removed that engine and replaced it with a 340X block bored to 4.125 inches. It houses a 4.00-inch Mopar Performance crankshaft, Eagle 6.125-inch rods, and CP 13.0:1 pistons. The cam is custom ground from Comp with 278/282 duration and 0.640/0.620 lift on a 108-degree lobe-separation angle. Indy oval-port aluminum cylinder heads are on top. Ken ported and assembled them himself with Ferrea 2.08/1.65-inch valves, K-Motion valvesprings, and T&D rocker arms. Comp solid roller lifters and Smith Bros. pushrods bridge the gap between block and heads.

Induction: Ken modified the Indy intake manifold, cutting about 1 1/2 inches of material off the carburetor flange, and made a four-hole carburetor spacer/adapter to mount a 1,050-cfm Dominator carburetor, packaging it all so it would fit under his car's AAR-style fiberglass hood. Said Dominator is kept supplied with a steady stream of Sunoco 110-octane race gas by a Barry Grant 280 fuel pump.

Ignition: The Mallory Unilite distributor is left over from Ken's first race car-a '70 Duster he owned in the '80s. It's controlled by an MSD Digital 7AL box with a two-step launch control.

Exhaust: The Hooker headers are also leftovers from Ken's Duster, and he says he only needed to modify a few of the tubes and notch the subframe in a couple of spots to get them to fit the E-Body chassis. They measure 17/8 inches at the primaries, and 31/2 inches at the collectors.

Transmission: A Pro-Trans-built 904 handles the shifting duties. Ken says he picked up 0.25 second when he swapped it in place of his 727 trans. Wheels-up launches come courtesy of the Turbo-Action transbrake and the steep, 5,700-stall Continental torque converter.

Rearend: A Strange 9-inch is out back, stuffed with 4.30 gears on a spool and Moser 35-spline axles.

Suspension: The torsion bars are stock, but the shocks are double-adjustable QA1s. In the rear, Rancho 1000 shocks are mounted to a Calvert leaf spring and CalTracs traction bar combination.

Brakes: Wilwood disc brakes are on all four corners.

Interior: The interior is surprisingly stock looking except for a few extra gauges and the 10-point chrome-moly rollcage built by Bob Miller at BMP in Prescott, Arizona. The 'cage is NHRA certified to 7.99 seconds.

Paint/Body: Ken bought this car about five years ago for about $3,000, so you can imagine it was a little trashed. No worries-he owns Mascar Autobody & Paint and has done a few high-quality restorations in his life. He did a full rotisserie job on the car, media-blasting and cutting away all the crap and replacing it with good sheetmetal. He sprayed the Plum Crazy and matte-black paint scheme using BASF basecoat/clearcoat and had the car up and running in a mere eight months.

Wheels/Tires: Fifteen-inch Weld wheels are all around. The front tires are Moroso 28x4.5, and the rear slicks are Phoenix 28.5x11.5.

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