In 1971, Plymouth built nine examples of the most valuable muscle-car on the planet: the Hemicuda Convertible. And, as many of you know, these incredible rare cars have sold for upwards of three million dollars over the past five years. And rightly so: they were Chryslers parting shot at the muscle car era. Massively over-powered and stuffed with ultra-cool options like Shaker hoods, billboard stripes and 8-track players, these were cars which, if you could afford the gas back in the early 70s, made just about any muscle-car fan weak in the knees.
To the best of my knowledge, all nine Hemicuda convertibles have been accounted for, with a fake or two thrown in for good measure. Most have been restored and have traded hands for insane amounts of money.
Now what if I told you about a Barracuda convertible that is just as rare as a 1971 Hemicuda convertible? In fact, they made exactly nine. And, in fact, it had the hottest power-train combination available for its model year? And, what if I bet you a case of Sam Adams that youve probably never heard of one, let alone seen one up close? Would you take me up on that bet? If I can get enough of you to take me up on it without reading, I believe I am going to have a very large beer truck pulling up to our Charlotte showroom next week! So sit back and learn about the RAREST Barracuda Convertible ever built and, most likely, one of the only two or three left in existence. In fact, if any of you out there know where any of the other eight cars are, let us know.
Our story begins on June 10, 1967. On that day, Barton W. Quarm of Kirtland, Ohio took delivery of a 1967 Plymouth Barracuda Convertible from Walton Chrysler-Plymouth of Painesville, Ohio. Were not sure if Barton ordered this car brand new or if Walton Chrysler-Plymouth just happened to take delivery of the car for showroom stock and Barton saw it while shopping for a new car and purchased it. What we DO know is that Barton was the original owner of the car, as evidenced by the ORIGINAL factory warranty booklet issued by the dealer on June 10, 1967. Along with the warranty booklet, we also have the original Chrysler Sound System manual, an original Chrysler Crew boat accessory booklet, an original California clean air package insert and the original Chrysler Airtemp manual. This isnt stuff we picked up off of Ebay; these items are original to the car. We also have the original Chrysler Certicard that was issued to Barton by Chrysler. Ive seen quite a few Certicards and this one is in mint condition. It doesnt appear that Barton ever put the Certicard in the engine compartment and, instead, placed it in the original plastic manual bag for safekeeping.
Now Im going to skip forward a bit. We found this car back in 2007 supposedly sporting 31,223 actual, original miles. A backyard restoration had been started some years before and he had quite a ways to go in the process. Apparently, he had run out of both time and money, and fortunately for us, a deal was struck. When we located the car, we had no idea how rare it was, but we quickly found out. I managed to track down Barton Quarms son, who recounted that he remembered the car quite clearly. He filled us in on some of the cars history, which verified the cars low mileage status. Apparently, in 1971 the Barracuda needed a brake job. Barton put the car up on jack stands in his barn, with the intent of doing just that, but simply never got around to it. The car sat on jack stands until 1974 when Barton told his son he couldnt afford gas for the car and, since it was a lousy winter driver, was content to let it sit.
So the car sat until September 12, 1983, at which time Barton signed the title over as a gift to a relative, James W. Ablanalp of Willoughby, Ohio, with exactly 31,223 miles on the odometer. We have a copy of that title which documents the transaction. From here, the history of the car gets a little fuzzy. Local legend is that the car sat outside a small body shop for a few years and changed hands a couple of more times. And when we found the car, it had been very poorly repainted by a local Chrysler/Plymouth dealer thats no longer in business.
After purchasing the car and determining just how rare it was, we knew that we had to restore it back to its original glory. That started with a thorough review of original build specs. Thankfully, the pristine original Chrysler Corporation Broadcast Sheet had been pulled out at some point in its past, so we had a complete roadmap of how this Barracuda was originally constructed. As well, we wrote to Chrysler Historical and received a copy of the original IBM punch card for the car. Since we had the original Broadcast Sheet, the punch card wasnt so crucial, but it was nice to have independent verification direct from Chrysler. Lastly, we reviewed a Galen Govier report on the car. Because its a 1967, Galen has an accurate count on how many of a particular make/model of a car were built and, as he pointed out in his report, only NINE 383 Barracuda Convertibles were built in 1967, and our car was number six. We dont know how many were four speeds and how many were automatics, but if history is any judge, wed be willing to bet that perhaps only four or five of the cars were of the four speed variety.
Heres a breakdown of the original fender tag, as supplied by Galen:
BH Car Line: Plymouth Barracuda
27 Body Type: Convertible
62 Engine: 383 1-4bbl 280hp 8 cylinder Dual Exhaust
3 Transmissions: A833 4-Speed Manual Inland Shifter
28 Tires: D70 x 14 Red Streak
5 Quantity: 5 Includes Spare
425 Scheduled Production Date: Tuesday April 25, 1967
02219 Shipping Order Number Plymouth
A4 Ratio: 3.23:1 8.75 Axle
X8 Axle: Sure Grip
TH Trim Grade: High
R6 Front Seat: Vinyl Buckets
MX Interior: Black
PR Roof Paint: Yellow
NR Body Paint: Yellow
T1 Paint Style: Mono-tone
UB Upper Door Frame Color: Black
B No Buffed Paints Stripes: none
D9 Front Disc Brakes
F7 Formula S Package
M2 Designated Line 2 Build After 118
SPDR1 Music Master AM Radio
T4 Performance Gauge
X2 Tinted Windshields Only
Y1 Convertible Top: Black
B4 Bucket Seats
So there you have it: a 1967 Plymouth Barracuda Formula S Convertible, with bucket seats, console, disc brakes and powered by a 383 and 4-speed. No, its not a 1971 Hemicuda, but as 67 cars, this is the ultimate A-body.
When we made the decision to restore this car, we had mixed emotions. First, we knew it was going to be a difficult job. 1967 A-body cars are simply hard to restore. There are very few reproduction parts available and good original parts are expensive. Thankfully, the original drive-train was present and the incredibly rare and impossible to find 1967 A-body big block K-member was present. Second, we knew this would be a money loser for us. Like most businesses, there is a financial common sense standpoint that must be present in any project. And this one made little sense. To properly restore this Barracuda to concours standards would mean a final price tag with parts and labor right around the $150K mark. Of course, we knew the car wouldnt be worth this when we were done, but, in the end, we decided that this was a Mopar that simply needed to be restored. It was simply too rare and too cool to let it languish for another 36 years ...For more information please call the seller.