My First Mopar- 1966 Barracuda project

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  1. BenNSB

    BenNSB Active Member

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    I’ve built quite a few S10’s (including my daily driver/parts getter I’ve had for 9 1/2 years now) and just spent 2 1/2 years on my childhood dream car, a 1968 Pontiac Firebird.


    Wanting to delve into something different, I picked up a ‘66 Barracuda for $500. Needs a ton of work, but not much more than my Firebird needed.


    So far I have a ‘96 Magnum 360 and a 727 out of a ‘72 Plymouth Fury. The Barracuda was a 2 BBL 273 V8 904 car last on the road in 1982. Plans are to do a later A-body disc swap on the front and ditch the 7 1/4 stock rear end and get the 13” stock wheels off ASAP and replace with some 15” Torq Thrust II’s.


    Been trying to do everything on a budget, but I’m quickly discovering there is no “cheap” as far as Mopar is concerned...


    I have a target budget and a realistic budget.


    I’ve got about $5800 total in my LT4/T56 S10 and $7500 into my Firebird 400/200-4R, I’m hoping to fall somewhere between those.

    My 425 hp ‘87 S10 with a 6 speed
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    My ‘68 Firebird 400
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    The 1966 Barracuda
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    Last edited: Jan 19, 2020
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    • Lee Robinson

      Lee Robinson FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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      Couple of nice cars. You seem to know your stuff. I think you did good to get the Barracuda for $500.00.
      FABO will be a good source for the parts you are going to need.
       
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      • moparmat2000

        moparmat2000 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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        Welcome to the site. Nice cars. Firebird is really awesome. So is the S10. I'd recommend looking for a 1990-1995 42RH overdrive trans out of a V6 dakota. It has a lockup converter, and an overdrive. These you can wire up to an on/off switch for freeway cruising. Being its A904 based it has a normal 3 speed pattern so you can keep the stock floor shift. 42RH has a lower first gear than the 727 and is smaller to fit the tunnel better. But built right can handle 500hp. My sons 69 cuda is getting one of these and 3.73 gears behind a mild 318. It will allow him to cruise at 2400 RPM at 75 mph with the O/D and lockup engaged. Plenty more info on this mod if you decide to go this route. Welcome to the site
         
        Last edited: Jan 20, 2020
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        • 66340SEDAN

          66340SEDAN FABO Member #3649 FABO Gold Member

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          Welcome, Barracuda looks like a good project....have any more pictures? Also nice brand X stuff, looks sharp! I love the 66, my dad has a Barracuda and we have a pair of Valiants....your biggest hurdle will be what to run for exhaust, not many choices for aftermarket headers and and only stock 273 exhaust manifolds will work without mods. Lots of smart cookies here so feel free to ask any questions you may have along the way!

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          Last edited: Jan 20, 2020
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          • 66340SEDAN

            66340SEDAN FABO Member #3649 FABO Gold Member

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            I swapped in disc brakes from a 73 Duster, bolted right in and I can run the 5 on 4 1/2” large bolt pattern (LBP) and there are way more wheel choices available. Stock 8 3/4 rear housing and I have Yukon axles also with the LBP. I think you may need to get a BFH out and make some dents or bend a lip over by the firewall where the bellhousing goes.
             
          • 383Scampman

            383Scampman Well-Known Member

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            IMO a '66 Barracuda is a very important car and deserves a righteous rebuild . Any powertrain you choose is going to be great . Please don't cheap out , the "cuda deserves better . thank you
             
          • BenNSB

            BenNSB Active Member

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            Thanks everyone for all the feedback. Haha, my version of “cheaping out” is searching for deals, not cutting corners. Very familiar with massaging firewalls, header headaches, and fabricating things to fit with the S10’s...

            The car is an a/c car and surprisingly almost all of the a/c components are intact, albeit in pieces. The floors are toast and the body work left much to be desired, but it’s solid where it counts.

            I’m a fan of running stock parts from other vehicles, this site has been a great resource.

            I promise I’m going to treat her well.

            I’m bad at getting “before” pictures, I’ll try to post up some as I clean and sort the junk pile within.
             
            Last edited: Jan 20, 2020
          • BenNSB

            BenNSB Active Member

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            As she sits in the driveway currently, and the 360 Magnum and 727 in the garage. I just installed a van power steering pump bracket to clear the battery tray.

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          • BenNSB

            BenNSB Active Member

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            Just a reference from my other builds, my S10 with a ‘95 LT4/T56, ZQ8 suspension, 8.625” disc rear 3.42 gear TrueTrack carrier:
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            Pontiac 400 with FiTech, ‘85 Monte Carlo 200-4R lock up converter, 3.55 Safe-T-Track nodular iron HD rear, 2001 Camaro “LS1” brakes
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            Hoping to give the Barracuda similar treatment, won’t be concours but should be a respectable, safe, capable daily driver.
             
            Last edited: Jan 20, 2020
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            • moparmat2000

              moparmat2000 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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              Another consideration is getting the 73-76 A body disc brake large balljoint upper control arms, and 1973-1976 A body lower ball joints. These are a bolt on and this allows you to install 73-76 A body disc brake spindles dust shields, and caliper brackets, or 76-89 F,M,J body (volare, diplomat, fifth ave RWD) disc brake spindles. Use A body calipers as they position the hose port in the right location. Calipers need to be mounted trailing the rotor to clear swaybar. 69 camaro disc brake front hoses work with just the right length for the trailing caliper application.

              Lower control arms are the same from 1962-1976 only exception is the swaybar mount brackets on the arms. 73-76 used different swaybar mounts that correspond to a 73-76 K frame. These and this K frame wont work on your 66. Swaybar tabbed arms through 1972 should work just fine though.

              You will need to get through bolts and stove nuts to bolt the bigger spindles to the lower ball joints. See pic below for grade 8s you would need. Dr Diff sells a nice 4 to 2 master cylinder adaptor to use an aluminum late model 2 bolt master cylinder. The O ring is the pushrod retainer to reuse your original brake pushrod. Spindles can be swapped to allow calipers to lead or trail. On a 66 with swaybar, they need to trail. 3rd pic, I just quick assembled the AFMJ brakes on my sons car to be able to move it around. Will get swapped to trailing calipers and treated to a full rebuild.

              The 10.8" rotors bearings, dust seals, and brake pads are all the same part number from 1973 to 1989 on all A,F,M,J vehicles. This gives you the 5 bolt 4.5" bolt circle and 1/2" RH lug studs. And a better selection of wheels. Same as a ford passenger car pattern. Lots of guys using mustang bullitt style wheels on mopars with this pattern. These wheels are inexpensive, and are everywhere.

              Hope this helps.
              Matt

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              Last edited: Jan 20, 2020
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              • JDMopar

                JDMopar Well-Known Member

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                Looks like you've got a nice start on a pretty clean Barracuda. You may know already, but run the flex plate that is already bolted to the back of the 5.9 You will need to egg shape one converter to flex plate hole on that flex plate for your 727 converter to bolt up. Take the flex plate off the motor and hold it up to the converter, and you will see what it needs. Also, if the converter has weights welded on it by the drain plug....either knock them off or swap it for a rebuilt converter with neutral balance. If it has no weights, it is a neutral balance converter already, and you're good to go. I love your Firebird! Did the 200-4R have the BPO pattern, or did you have to use an adapter? I want to put a 200-4R in my wifes 77 Trans Am to replace the Turbo 350, is why I ask. It's a 400 Pontiac motor, but will be beefed up a good bit from the anemic 77 version....lol.
                 
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                • BenNSB

                  BenNSB Active Member

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                  All of the above. I was aware and still have to knock off the torque converter weights. I appreciate all the information from everyone, very helpful and welcomed.

                  Thanks for compliments! I actually built a ‘77 W72 with 6x-4 heads (decked, bored 30 over, Harland Sharp rockers, forged pistons, XE262H cam...) and stuck it in my ‘68 Firebird. The 200-4R had a dual Chevy/BOP housing. I have a lockup converter and 3.55 gears, 2400 rpm at 70-75mph.
                   
                • JDMopar

                  JDMopar Well-Known Member

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                  Great! There are a few members here who have put 200-4R's in their Mopars. They are physically smaller than the Mopar OD transmissions, and can be installed with less mods to floor pans and transmission crossmembers. You just nned an adapter bellhousing from Ultra Bell....or somebody.
                   
                • BenNSB

                  BenNSB Active Member

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                  Got oil pan on and intake torqued down. The ‘79 Mustang GT hood scoop came in the mail so the air cleaner hole is no longer a prominent feature. Now just contemplating ordering the grill insert for it, or make it a functional cold air intake...

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                  • Franky Burns

                    Franky Burns New Member

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                    I'm doing s 66 Valiant. Keep us posted with pics as you go please ! I need all the help I can get...lol
                     
                  • BenNSB

                    BenNSB Active Member

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                    Progress has been slow, waiting on parts in the mail. Building this car is like a scavenger hunt. I did get my transmission crossmember, slip yoke, motor mounts, and 2800 stall torque converter in.

                    I JB welded studs to the Mustang scoop and drilled the new mount holes. I was 1/16” off to the driver’s side so I’ll work on clearencing those with the round file I used on my flywheel for the torque converter bolt alignment.

                    Schumacher is out of mounts, so I’m going to fabricate what I need out of a set of ‘72 truck mount brackets.

                    Ideally I’d like to use the Magnum exhaust manifolds, so I may look into working on the power steering column and use a narrow universal joint coupler for clearance. If I can get it to work I’ll be sure to take plenty of pictures when test fitting.

                    The 727 I have had an 11” bolt pattern torque converter with weights, the Magnum flywheel is a 10” pattern and already balanced for the engine so I bought a higher stall neutral balanced converter.

                    If all goes to plan I’ll be pulling the front disc brake assembly components off of a ‘73 Dart tomorrow. Debating on piecing together an 8 3/4 rear or shortening an Explorer 8.8...

                    Once I have the 4.5” bolt pattern I’m going to order some 15x7 Torq Thrust originals.

                    I need to weld in floor pans and the tire section of the trunk. I plan on Raptor lining the under carriage like I did on my Firebird. Don’t think I’ll build a wooden rotisserie for this one.

                    I should have some progress pics by the end of next month.
                     
                  • Franky Burns

                    Franky Burns New Member

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                    I thought I saw a post where somebody put a 8.8 from an Explorer in and all they had to do was move the perches. Or are you tubbing yours ?
                     
                  • pishta

                    pishta I know I'm right....

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                    Yeah, try and run those magnum logs. They are a great alternative to early 340 logs that dont fit P/S anyway. Narrow A's are probably the hardest Mopars to get exhaust into. Not alot of room.
                     
                  • BenNSB

                    BenNSB Active Member

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                    Got my floor shifter and a ‘72 Dart GT center console in the mail. The console has a crack on the passenger side I’ll fix with epoxy. I know it’s not correct for a ‘66 but since I’m not building a numbers matching car I’ll live with it and I’ll have a locking center console to boot. I stripped off the wood veneer and am using black vinyl in its place.

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                  • BenNSB

                    BenNSB Active Member

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                    Not too shabby, now on to cleaning up the plastic outer portion.

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                    • Keith Mopar

                      Keith Mopar Mopar Nut

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                      Looking good, that console should look good in there.
                       
                    • BenNSB

                      BenNSB Active Member

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                      Got some items stockpiled and should be making some progress soon. I’ll be putting in front and rear floor pans, fortunately they are bigger than the rotted areas so that’s a plus.

                      Once those are in I’ll have to get a tire carrier pan for the trunk, then I can coat the underside with Raptor Liner. (Stuff still looks like new under my Firebird.)

                      Paint came in as well, I’m going to with “Vanilla Milkshake” (close to Ford Wimbledon White) and satin black for the scoop and stripes.

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                      Last edited: Mar 3, 2020
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                      • BenNSB

                        BenNSB Active Member

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                        Had surgery today and discharged same day. Came home to find my grille center came in the mail early (was expecting it Thursday). With the great weather and extra time off I’m hoping to start tackling some bodywork these next couple weeks and hopefully get some progress going. (My neighbors left town for a “change of scenery.” I’m sure the turd brown Barracuda isn’t exactly apple of thier eyes, haha!)

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                        Last edited: Mar 11, 2020
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                        • BenNSB

                          BenNSB Active Member

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                          Got a center grille emblem on eBay, should be here in 3 days. I had to put new front tires on my Firebird so I wheeled the front 235/45r17 tire to the Barracuda. Going to stick with 15” rims on this build. Recovering from surgery, hoping to have better progress pics soon. Until then I guess these will have to do.

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                          • BenNSB

                            BenNSB Active Member

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                            I guess it was inevitable and impossible to avoid. Every vehicle in my driveway is going to have 17” rims. FB Marketplace for the win. Picking up these Bullitt rims and tires for a song on Monday. Now to start looking for Mopar center caps...

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