Thursday, September 15, 2016

1968 Plymouth Barracuda 340-S Fastback / Specs and More

The fine 60's muscle car featured in this article is the 1968 Plymouth Barracuda 340-S. This is a true muscle car from the late 1960's and is representative of the muscle car competition of the era. From the mid 1960's to the end of the decade horsepower ruled. Every major automaker had a muscle car to offer.

barracuda formula s
1968 Plymouth Barracuda Formula S
The First Pony Car

History tells us that the first Pony Car to hit the market was an option package for the 1964 Plymouth Valiant. This package was named the Barracuda. The car came out about two weeks before the first Ford Mustang. The date was April 1, 1964, precisely sixteen days before the Mustang.

With that being said, the Ford Mustang was the vehicle receiving the press. Ford went forth with a massive advertising and PR effort for it's new Mustang and the car received attention at the World's Fair in New York. There is no question that Ford's Mustang greatly overshadowed the Plymouth Barracuda and in 1964 it was in more than just PR.

The 1968 Plymouth Barracuda

The 1968 Plymouth Barracuda was among the second generation models. Many would say that the second generation Barracuda was what should have been designed for first generation models.The second generation Plymouth Barracuda was available in fastback, notchback and convertible styles.

The Plymouth Barracuda was designed by John Samsen who also did design work for the first Ford Thunderbirds. It was also Samsen who chose the word “Barracuda” for this new Plymouth line. The Barracuda name prevailed over management’s suggestion of “Panda”. Barracuda was no doubt the best choice for what would become a true muscle car with terrific popularity.

Plymouth Barracudas were produced from the 1964 model year through 1974. The Barracuda Formula  S was available since 1965. Plymouth designers took it easy on ornamentation. There was no excess ornamentation with an inverted trapezoid grille showing deep set vertical bars and stainless steel.

1968 plymouth barracuda formula s
1968 Plymouth Barracuda Formula S Specifications

As mentioned above, the 1968 Formula S as built with either a Commando 340 or the 383 cubic inch engine. The 340 was rated at 275 HP and the 383 cubic inch at 300 HP.

The car’s speedometer had a top speed indicator of 150 MPH. The 1968 model year also saw a 426 Hemi package put into only about 50 Barracudas.

Gearbox on this car is a four speed manual

In addition to this the Formula S came with.heavy-duty suspension and wheels, heavy duty shock absorbers and E70-14 Red Streak tires. front fender badges and special hood inserts.  The Barracuda Formula S was known for superior cornering and general handling.

Your 68 Plymouth Barracuda Formula S would have cost you new about $2,700 for the hardtop, about $2,900 for the fastback version and about $3,050 for the convertible.

You may want to check out the additional Muscle Car Journal articles found on the links below...

The 1970 Plymouth Road Runner 440 

A Red Hot 1953 Studebaker Street Rod

plymouth barracuda 340
Plymouth Barracuda Formula S Collector Car 

Every muscle car from  the late 1960's has good collector appeal. One has to remember that 1968 was a few years prior to the mandated federal emission and safety standards regulations.

The name of the game in 1968 was horsepower. It's been said that "Ask a car enthusiast to name a Pony Car and you'll likely hear the name, Mustang. Ask a Mopar guy and you'll hear all about the Plymouth Barracuda".
Ask the average enthusiast to name a pony car and most will inevitably say “Mustang” or “Camaro”. Ask a Mopar guy and you’ll hear the history of the Plymouth Barracuda. - See more at: http://www.rkmotorscharlotte.com/sales/inventory/sold/1968-Plymouth-Barracuda-Formula-S/133319#sthash.v9CbtprK.dpuf
Ask the average enthusiast to name a pony car and most will inevitably say “Mustang” or “Camaro”. Ask a Mopar guy and you’ll hear the history of the Plymouth Barracuda. - See more at: http://www.rkmotorscharlotte.com/sales/inventory/sold/1968-Plymouth-Barracuda-Formula-S/133319#sthash.v9CbtprK.dpuf
Ask the average enthusiast to name a pony car and most will inevitably say “Mustang” or “Camaro”. Ask a Mopar guy and you’ll hear the history of the Plymouth Barracuda. - See more at: http://www.rkmotorscharlotte.com/sales/inventory/sold/1968-Plymouth-Barracuda-Formula-S/133319#sthash.v9CbtprK.dpuf

These are popular cars to this day. It doesn't matter what type of muscle car you may be looking for but the 68 Barracuda Formula S will please just about any muscle car enthusiast.

We are seeing fully restored show quality 68 Formula S models with current asking prices north of $50,000. Depending on condition and mileage you'll find Barracudas priced from the teens on up. The Formula S models will be on the high end with fully restored examples in the $35,000 to $40,000 plus range in general.The convertible and fastback models will be in greater demand.

(Photos and article copyright Muscle Car Journal)

Monday, January 18, 2016

1970 Plymouth Road Runner 4 Barrel 440 / Photos, Specs

The Plymouth Road Runner was produced from 1968 – 1980. The Road Runner, which was a B-Body Mopar, was based on the same platform as the Belvedere, Satellite, and GTX. Mopar Muscle cars are icons that changed the automotive industry.

1970 Plymouth Road Runner 440
1970 Plymouth Road Runner
Plymouth Road Runner Model History

Although Plymouth already had a performance car in the GTX which competed against the Pontiac GTO, Chrysler Corporation designers decided to go back to the drawing board and reincarnate the original muscle car concept. The concept for the Road Runner was born.

The Road Runner was based on the cartoon, and came complete with a horn that went beep beep! and an ad campaign featuring Wiley Coyote. It cost Plymouth $50,000 for the rights from Warner Brothers to use the Road Runner name. Depending on the model and year, the steering wheel had a little Road Runner, and the air cleaner had a cartoon with the logo "Coyote Duster." The Superbird put a huge, helmeted Roadrunner onto its massive rear spoiler.

During the first model year for the Road Runner about 44,600 models were produced. The story is that more could have been built in 1968 but parts were in short supply due to overly conservative sales projections. Chrysler executives surprisingly predicted sales of only a few thousand.

plymouth muscle cars
For the following year the model line was increased adding a convertible model and a several additional options. Motor Trend magazine named the Road Runner its 1969 "Car of the Year". The Plymouth Road Runner returned for one more go-around in its original body shell in 1970, although sales fell to 41,484, a victim of skyrocketing insurance premiums for performance cars.

The 1970 Road Runners gained a new grille.  The same year, the Road Runner added the Air Grabber hood, which was remote controlled from the passenger compartment. Press a button, and you have a scoop. Press it again, and you have a normal hood.

Plymouth Road Runner Performance

The success of the Road Runner, unexpected by Chrysler, would far outpace the upscale and lower volume GTX. The Road Runner was targeted to a young performance minded buyer. Top speed on these cars, equipped with either a 440 or 426 Hemi engine, was reputed to be over 150 mph as they arrived at the dealer, and over 180 mph with relatively minor modifications; Chrysler itself set a record of over 200 mph.

chrysler 440 engine
440 cubic inch 4 barrel engine
1970 Plymouth Road Runner Specifications 

Three engines were available for the 1968 through 1970 model years. These were the 383  (standard), 426 and 440 cubic inch V-8. Horsepower ranged from 335 to 390.  The race version of these cars were powered with a 426 cubic inch hemi. 

Our featured 1970 Road Runner is equipped with a 440 cubic inch V-8 with a four barrel carburetor and a four speed manual gearbox

The race version of these cars were powered with a 426 hemi.

Standard transmission was a three speed automatic

Front brakes were disc and rear drum.

Front suspension were double wishbones with telescopic shocks. Rear suspension live axle, semi-elliptic leaf springs and telescopic shocks.

Dimensions included a wheelbase of 116.0 inches, overall length of 202.7 inches, height of 53.0 inches, and an average weight of about 3,700 lbs.

You may enjoy the Muscle Car Journal articles on the links below...

1995 Mazda Miata V-8 Conversion 

1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302 

1970 Plymouth Road Runner Valuations 

The Plymouth Road Runner is a popular collector car particularly among performance enthusiasts. The Road Runner continued as a Plymouth model and eventually ended up as an option package for the 1978 Volare.

1970 plymouth muscle car
As of this writing the 1970 Plymouth Road Runner is showing a valuation range of about $30,000 to $45,000 for fully restored models with high originality. Convertibles will be priced about $10,000 to $12,000 more.

The highest valued is the 1970 Superbird. This was a highly modified version of the 1970 Road Runner. These models were equipped with a 426 cubic inch Hemi delivering 425 HP. Zero-60 MPH was rated at 5.5 seconds. Current top values from several sources on the Superbird model range from about $90,000 to $130,000 +.

Good books regarding the Plymouth Road Runner models include...1968 Plymouth Road Runner : A History in Photos by Richard Truesdell. Also, Charger, Road Runner and Super Bee by Paul A. Herd and Mike Mueller.

(Article and photos copyright 2016 Muscle Car Journal )

Sunday, January 10, 2016

A 1995 Mazda Miata 5.0 V-8 Conversion / Photos, Specs

The car featured in this article is a 1995 Mazda Miata conversion. The Mazda Miata is not generally looked at as a muscle car but our conversion here sure fits the bill. The Mazda Miata came to the market in 1990 and was a big hit. Some initial buyers who lined up to buy the first of these snazzy little cars actually paid above sticker price. The two seat, lightweight Miata Roadster filled the bill as an affordable sports car.

mazda miata conversion kit
1995 Mazda Miata V-8 Conversion
The first 1990 Miata had a stock 1600cc 4 cylinder engine with a five speed manual or a four speed automatic transmission.

The second generation of the Mazda Miata came out for the 1999 model year. The third generation was seen for 2005 and the fourth comes out for the 2016 model year.

There are not a great many of these Miata V-8 conversions but the ones we have seen look pretty impressive. There are likely a few hundred of these on the road today. What makes our featured 1995 Miata conversion truly unique is it's use of a Ford CCRM (Constant Control Relay Module) computer to operate the fuel pump, fans and A/C. This conversion uses the Ford power steering pump.

The Mazda Miata itself and it's structure works well for a V-8 transplant. The Ford 5.0 V-8 engine in this vehicle meets emission requirements for most states. The Miata Conversion Kits
Miata conversion kits are on the market and most will say that the proper amount of dollars to put aside to perform the conversion well is likely $10,000 and more realistically $12,000.

miata v-8 conversion
Ford 5.0 V-8
While the time involved to perform the conversion might be thought of to be just a few months, six months or so may be more realistic depending on how much time you have to devote to the project. With that being said, If you're extremely proficient with Miatas (like you could drop the motor, transmission, differential, front subframe, and pull the interior/dash / HVAC in a long Saturday) then a month to complete the project is possible.

Monster Miata

Our featured Mazda Miata V-8 was built from the kit offered by Monster Miata. As mentioned above, the structure of the Miata is suited very well for a V-8 transplant. According to Monster Miata...We have converted 100+ Monster Miatas in the past 20 years. It is a passion of ours. Having spoken to many gearheads, the consensus is there needs to be a straight-forward way for the average person with a toolbox to do their own V8 conversion . We're proud to say we have achieved this and produced the "easy to understand" V8 conversion kit

1995 Mazda Miata Specifications / 5.0 V-8 

As mentioned above, the 1995 Mazda Miata featured in this article has a 5.0 Liter Ford V-8 engine. This engine came from a 1995 Ford Mustang rated at 215 HP as it came from the factory.

1995 mazda miata conversion
Custom features include ceramic coasted shorty headers, 3-way cats, wide band bungs, 12 inch resonators and a Hard Dog padded roll bar.

Transmission is a Ford Racing 5 speed.

This car has a custom driveshaft, lightweight wheels from 949 Racing
Suspension has custom higher rate springs and eight-way adjustable shocks.

First generation Miata dimensions included a wheelbase of 89.2 inches, an overall length 155.5 inches, a height of 48.4 inches, a width of 65.9 inches and a curb weight of 2.070 lbs.

You may also be interested in the Muscle Car Journal articles on the links below...

The 1949 Anglia Custom Racer

The 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302

A 1953 Studebaker Street Rod 

ford 5.0 v-8 engine
Miata V-8 conversions on the market as of this writing can be found in a wide price range due mostly to the fact that the conversions themselves differ significantly. We are seeing asking prices of anything from about $17,000 to $30,000.

Those interested in more information regarding Mazda Miata V-8 Conversions might want to take a look at www.v8miata.net. This forum discusses the Miata conversion process and can offer problem solving information. Another site that answers questions and offers Miata conversion kits is..http://www.bossfrog.biz/Miata_V8_Swap.html

A good book regarding Mazda Miata performance includes...Mazda Miata MX-5 Performance Projects by author Keith Tanner. 

(Article and photos copyright 2016 Muscle Car Journal)