I was contacted by Roger Johnson this past weekend. Here was the content of his message:
Thanks for your interest in the 4-door 1970 Barracuda I saw at Chrysler’s 1969 world headquarters. I worked in Chrysler’s mail room so I had access to just about anywhere with this Highland Park complex. The main administration building where Lynn Townsend and even Tom Hoover had their offices had a loading dock, or platform, out back where I often saw a variety of cars setting as I walked by on my daily route. In around November of 1969 I walked past this platform and saw a 1970 4-door Barracuda in red with conventional rally wheels. I have no idea if the car was an actual driver but it looked like it could be from the 80-100 foot distance I watched it from. I actually made a note to get a closer look one day but just never bothered until it was too late. The car sat on this loading dock for about four days and I passed it twice each of those days. After it was moved, I never saw it again. I asked Hoover about the car many years later when I saw him at Road Atlanta during Chrysler’s stint in Formula 5000 racing with the Union Oil “Shadow” race car team (powered by a 305 inch version of the 340). Hoover just laughed and said engineering didn’t pay much attention to the styling guys back then but he didn’t remember it. I thought the car cut a surprisingly nice profile even though I was always a 2-door kind of guy.
Below are a few photos that show one aspect of the cutting, reconfiguring, reshaping and welding of the Rear Doors. Notice the top of the Door frame and how straight it originally was. We had to cut the frame at the belt line, remove a two inch tapered strip of horizontal metal, put vertical slits in the top of the frame, re-bend the top section to incorporate a curve and then weld everything back together. The Door skins had to match perfectly with the frames. The rear Doors are made from a “stock” E Body front door skin and a Cuda Quarter panel. The front of the Rear Door is made from the rear section of an E Body Door and the rear part of the Door is made from the front section of an E Body Quarter Panel. The two sections were welded together and then the outer perimeter of the Door skin had to be cut to the shape of the reconstructed Door frame. We (literally) made those custom Door skins from scratch. After the recessed Handles were repositioned, the “stock” B Body lock mechanisms had to be reshaped to fit behind the recessed areas that now hold the new E Body Door handles. That’s the work for just one Door! Every aspect of the Body has been a challenge but it looks Factory “original” and is a good looking design!
Stock B Body Rear Door
Rear Door with metal removed, vertical stress cuts to curve the top frame & welded back together again.
Inside view of Rear Door after conversion.
Completely “new” fabricated Rear Door Skin.
Back side of Rear Door Skin, Handle cutouts re-located – two part sections welded together and reinforcement on top edge custom fit for Door strength.
Here are a few more of the alterations that had to be made on the inside door frames and skins. They had to be cut apart and welded back together in order for the E Body panels to line up properly.