This was a very nice compliment to receive at the 2017 SEMA Event. Early in the morning on last day of the Show, we were interviewed by a Velocity Product who said they had been trying to talk with us throughout the week. Our booth had constant traffic, so it was hard to have a dedicated interview or discussion. One of his jobs was to cover the “most customized cars” at the Show and do a video shoot on the construction of those vehicles. He told us that the 4 Door Barracuda exhibited the most customized appearance of ANY car that they had seen at the 2017 SEMA Event.

Some have said that his statement was only his “opinion”. While that is obvious, consider this fact. He was at the 2017 SEMA Show and one of his jobs was to investigate all the other “custom” cars. I would say his judgement holds more validity than those who weren’t at the 2017 SEMA Show and base their “opinion” on nothing more than jealous disregard.

For those who allow a stranger’s project to bother them, has no financial responsibility in its construction or allocation of its build time, they should be regarded as a 3 way loser. Besides, why would any sane person allow something that has no influence on their life to become a personal problem? Get over it! Life is short! Enjoy it while it’s here.

I’ve had a couple of Enthusiasts that forwarded me a link from a forum. The discussion centered around the “awkward roof” and why we didn’t lower the side door frames & glass configurations. First let me say that I welcome any constructive criticism or inquiries about the build of this car. The frustrating part is revisiting topics that have been discussed and explained over & over again. I would like to address the question about the side glass and the height as it relates to the windshield. We did not take the “easy way out” and construct something using shortcuts. Many of the “suggestions” that people have provided were considered LONG before they were made by the critics. We thought many of the same things until we become involved in the engineering and physics of the project. I learned that sitting in a chair verbalizing the “obvious” was nothing like building and engineering the real thing. While the light blue/gray Artist’s rendering of the 4 Door Barracuda looks appealing, that appearance would never work in actual design. It’s like painting a nice looking humanistic Robot where the internals are not shown or functionally illustrate the actual creation. It’s a just a fictitious painting that represents a hypothetical idea. (The back glass would never roll down into the door frame that is shown in the painting of the 4 Door Barracuda.)

I would like to once again explain the engineering process of our design and why we built what we built. From the start, we realized that we had to work with what was available. Even with the parts that we had access to, there was a tremendous amount of fabrication and alterations to make those components work. First, we had to engineer a realistic design for the cowl, dash frame, windshield, A pillar and door frames, in order for them to work in unison. Since a B Body windshield would not work with the cowl frame of a Barracuda, the windshield frame of a Barracuda had to be morphed with a B Body roof and A pillar. The inner half of the A pillar on this car is a 1970 Barracuda design (for the proper fitment of the windshield with the cowl) and the outer half is a B Body A pillar design. The A pillar tapers towards the Cowl because the outer section still has to line up and door seal of the B Body door frames. It is IMPOSSIBLE to lower/shorten the door frames and still use the stock configuration of the B Body glass. Many have suggested that we perform that type of alteration but they do not understand the physics of what they’re suggesting. If you cut and alter the door frames to lower them by 2 inches, the front edge of the frames will have to be moved 2 inches back from the cowl. That would leave an 2 inch gap from the front of the door frame to the area that seals against the A Pillar. It will not work. The roof would also have to be cut apart in 4 sections and widened to accommodate the door frames being shortened and lowered. That would cause a domino effect of design changes with the cowl width, the dash width, the headliner width, the vinyl top width, the window regulators, the door seals, the weatherstripping, and the glass. Many of you have no idea the changes that would need to be made from simply removing a couple of inches out of the door frames. It sure is easy to write about in a sentence or two but extremely difficult to apply in a real world build.

Some of you don’t like the design because it’s different and you’re not use to seeing it. Had the car been offered in 1970, there may not have been so many negative comments that are made today. Having the real 2 door Barracuda makes it that much easier to criticize this 4 door design because we are use to seeing the actual Factory version. There were many cars built that have “odd” appearances but they are accepted because they are “real” cars. No one has to like ALL the different variations and designs. That’s why the Manufacturers made so many different makes & models. I know this car is polarizing and unappealing to some people. That’s fine and can be expected with a project like this. One thing I can assure the critics is that ALL of your suggestions and solutions were considered by us LONG before you ever thought about them. I have an Engineering background I can assure those “critics” that many of you would have given up had you been faced with the complexity of this project. You remind me of those who stand at the bottom of Mount Everest and ask those descending from the top, “What’s the big deal? All you had to do was walk up the side of that Mountain and then walk back down!” I guess it’s true that those who complain from the sidelines, typically think they’re more accomplished than those who actually master the Game.

After doing three OE restorations between 2005 – 2010, I decided it was time to do something different in the Automotive World. The thought came about after finding an Artist’s rendering of a light blue/gray 4 Door Cuda. After seeing that drawing in September 2010, I asked Steve Been what he thought about actually building a 4 Door similar to the rendering. Instead of doing one exactly the same, we decided to build one with a Rally Hood, Gator Grain Top, 383 CID engine and Lemon Twist Yellow in color. After discussing the possibilities, we concluded it would have to be built from an existing 4-door Chrysler platform. The closest option that would give us what was needed was a 1971-1974, 4-door Coronet or Satellite. We contacted Clay Kossuth (a Friend and Mopar aficionado) to see if he had a candidate sitting in his salvage yard. He said that he had a cut up, stripped hull of a 1972 Coronet 4 Door that might work. Accompanied by Steve Been and Tom Barcroft, I went to visit Clay. We looked at what was left of the hull and decided it would provide the basic pieces necessary to start this 4 Door Barracuda build. It had a Roof, its A Pillars and B Pillars.

From there, we researched what was needed to engineer and fabricate components for the build. Steve had been doing some computer research for ideas when he stumbled across an article written by Roger Johnson. We didn’t know who Roger was and had never spoken with him at that time. In the article, Roger described a red 4 Door Barracuda parked on a loading dock behind the Highland Park Chrysler Headquarters. This occurred sometime in early fall of 1969. After reading his commentary on this Concept vehicle, I decided to take a different direction with the Project. Instead of building the vehicle the way we originally planned, I decided to build the Car to represent the Concept that Mr. Johnson had written about. I then chose to take things one step further. What if Chrysler had actually built a 4 Door Barracuda? With that mindset, I decided to do a “What If” theme similar to the one in the movie “IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE”.

The Project Car would now be built as if Chrysler would have taken a different direction in their marketing scheme and given a “thumbs up” in offering a 4 Door Barracuda to the public. This new course also allowed us to incorporate all of our past OE experience into this one-of-a-kind custom car. In essence, we became the Factory in the building of this unique vehicle.

The next step was to contact Roger Johnson to get his personal account of what he saw several times in the early fall of 1969. In March of 2013, Roger responded to one of my emails. I informed Roger of what we were doing and have remained in contact ever since. We’ve enjoyed many phone conversations about “back in the day” topics and other Chrysler stories. He provided us with as much information as possible concerning his encounters with the 4-door Barracuda he saw. From there, we decided to add various options to this project, since he was not able to provide details about things like the power train of the car. As a matter of fact, he said he wasn’t sure if the concept had a power train installed at all. It just looked like it was ready to drive from his 75 foot vantage point.

One important point to remember is that we never had a car to start with. All we had was a conceptual idea and vision for this project. There was no donor vehicle. Every nut, washer, hose, wire, fastener, Body component, bracket, Interior piece, etc…… had to be collected, fabricated and assembled from scratch to make this Car. From day one, our purpose was to build a 4-door Barracuda. To get this Project started, we needed a roof, A-pillars and B-pillars from a Chrysler 4-door platform. Even after finding those pieces, they still had to be cut apart and altered to accommodate our design. They no longer exhibit their original shapes or factory composition. Many of the changes that were made are drastic yet unnoticeable at a glance. We used replacement body panels that were either NOS or aftermarket pieces. Every single body panel was altered and no longer exhibits a “Factory” fit. They had to have flat metal pieces added, sections removed and alterations of some sort to provide a correct fit. Many other pieces were fabricated from flat metal stock by using Body Hammers, English Wheels and heat for shaping. Even the door hinges were altered to work with the custom doors. Not a single exterior panel will fit any other vehicle built by Chrysler. To look at the Car, no one would ever know these component changes have been made.

All exterior trim was either fabricated or altered to fit this 4 door Barracuda design. The Interior is made of custom components, specific to this build. The door panels, rear package tray, rear arm rest fillers, carpet, headliner, tilt telescopic steering column, A-pillar trim, windshield trim, etc….. are all custom, fabricated parts. There were hundreds of major alterations necessary for this project build to materialize. It took over 6 years and more than 10,000 man-hours to complete. It’s a custom car, designed and built from scratch, that looks like a factory assembled 1970 4-door Barracuda.

The main builders of this project were Steve Been and myself. From 2014-2015, Rick Bommarito was also instrumental in fabricating components for the door window openings, aligning body panels and other miscellaneous build duties.

KV Gas Line Hose

We didn’t want to use NOS hose on this “new” Concept Car due to its old age and the possibility of cracking. I found new Hose that was close to the appearance of the original examples and re-stamped it with the correct Factory lettering. Assembly Line examples were used to format the artwork and a Pad Machine did the work. A special “rubber ink” was used for extra durability and does not wipe off when rubbing it.
The reproduction Hose that is being offered does not exhibit the correct fonts/artwork and the ink durability is weak. They all have an ink that rubs off quite easily. By re-stamping these Hoses for this project, we eliminated both of the quality characteristics that are found in the reproductions that are currently being offered.