We just completed the second installment of the 4 Door Barracuda’s Tour at the Carlisle Chrysler Nationals. The next event will be the SEMA Show in November. One topic that continues to come up is comments I have made regarding the construction of this Car. Many have argued that the vehicle was not built from “scratch” because we used existing components for its construction. First let me stress that we started with nothing but a conceptual idea when this Project began. We didn’t have a Car to alter, convert or modify. We built this Car piece by piece and it represents a New Car that never existed. Steve and I basically became the “Factory” in this build.
I would like to illustrate the rationale behind the comments I have made about the construction of this Car. Consider the Factory and how they build their vehicles. I doubt that anyone would debate that the Factory is the “Architect” in the construction of their Assembly Line vehicles. They are given credit for building and manufacturing their cars from the ground up or from “scratch”. With that said, let’s consider their involvement when building those Automobiles. Does the Factory manufacture the headlights that they use on their Cars? Do they manufacture the Carpeting they use in their Cars? Do they manufacture the glass that is used in their Cars? What about the Wiring Harnesses? What about the Tires and Wheels? What about the Paint used on the Bodies or the fabric used to cover the Seats?
The point is that almost ALL of the components used to build a Car are provided by Independent Suppliers that manufacture those parts for the Factory. The Factory uses those parts to build their vehicles. Those components are manufactured to meet their designs and specifications. So the Factory is basically a General Contractor in assembling and manufacturing Automobiles. Similar to a General Contractor that builds Homes, they don’t “make” the Wood that’s used to form the Roof, Walls or basic structure. They don’t make the Electrical Junction Boxes. They don’t make the Granite Counter Tops they install in the Kitchens. They don’t make the Toilets or Sinks. They do however, assemble the components necessary to build the Homes they have engineered and designed.
In this build, we collected and assembled the components necessary to facilitate this “One of a Kind” design. Some components had to be completely manufactured starting at square one, where others were cut apart and altered to match our design. The entire Body of the this Car was constructed using newly fabricated and/or modified components. Some parts had to be constructed from flat metal stock and others were altered from their “stock” configuration. The end result is a 4 Door Barracuda that does not share any exterior Body components with the 2 Door Model. The entire outer structure has been modified to function properly within the parameters of our 4 Door design.
One last point to make here. If a Cook ever tells you that they made Biscuits from “scratch”, it doesn’t mean that they milled the flour and milked the Cow that makes the Dough, etc……..
The Studio Photos went off without a hitch and the Car is waiting for its unavailing in April. A while back I was asked about archived photos of the Interior and if those “ratty” components were going to be used for the project. The answer is no. All of the components used during the project build were for mock up only. We used some old, worn out Interior parts but they provided the necessary engineering for fit & finish. Below are a few photos showing a comparison of the mock up Interior parts and the final version. Also shown is the “original” VIN and Tire Pressure Label for this vehicle. Stayed tuned for the Car to be debuted in its completed form sometime soon.
This Project is basically complete, with the exception of a few minor details. I will continue posting some of the processes that illustrate the steps we took to complete the Car. A Studio Photo session will take place later this week to document every angle and detail of the vehicle. We are waiting until the unveiling in April before showing the final results. Stay tuned. Things are certain to get interesting.
Here are a couple of photos comparing the two Vinyl Tops that were used for this Project. In the end, we used a Top manufactured by Top Creations. The material used by Top Creations was far superior to the material used by Legendary. The Grain was deeper, the Seams more defined, the backing incorporated twice the stitch count of reinforced fabric and the Vinyl composition was significantly different. The material used by Top Creations was soft and “leather” like. The Legendary vinyl was “plastic” like and much stiffer. When a manufacturer tells you that specific design characteristics are “impossible” to achieve, that might be true (only) for them. Using premier materials can sometimes be the determining factor for achieving the “impossible” when it comes to quality in product manufacturing.
The lesson here is to never allow the shortcomings of someone else be the determining factor in achieving your goals. Contrary to the opinions of those initially involved in designing this Top, our design specifications were exactly what was needed to eliminate the Seam “pleating” and achieve a proper appearance. Here are the results.
Here are a few pictures showing the replacement Vinyl Top we are using. This issue has set us back and caused numerous delays in planning for the Show events. Legendary made the first 6 or 7 Tops but they all had problems with “pleating” at the Seams. We had requested (numerous times) that they not piece sections together that had different tensions at the Seam. Because of their inability to follow our simple instructions, we used another Manufacturer for our Custom Top. After going through all of these problems, I made sure I took the time to find a very reputable source.
Top Creations in Oklahoma City, is a Company that actually worked with Chrysler in the 1960’s and helped design the Charger Tops. The material they offered to us was the same material that was used on the Auto-Rama Show Cars and it worked perfect for our application. Their Vinyl material was far superior to the plastic like Vinyl used by Legendary. The Seams did not have a melted appearance and the construction was much better than the bulky (plastic lined) Seam construction used by Legendary. As troublesome as all of this was, I was very happy with the final results. Sometimes the little setbacks are what is needed to take a giant step forward. The appearance, quality and fit worked perfect for this Project. Here are some comparison photos.