Hotrod Dec04


By: Glen Grissom
Photography: HOT ROD
Reprint from Hot Rod Magazine, Winter 2004


The ’70 Plymouth Barracuda is one of the all-time musclecar body shapes ever to come off the pen of a factory designer. Simultaneously pretty and lithe, it had proportions that were not the girl next door. Mated with Mopar’s earth-rotating, and factory-underrated 426ci Hemi, the ‘Cuda left the boulevard competition in its wake. Apparently the powertrain engineers were having their way with the bean counters at Chrysler at the time. If you had the cash and the cojones, you could go to your local Mopar dealer and buy this (barely) streetable engine, which was very close to its racing mill brothers, in a variety of body styles. Equipped with the Hemi,

the ‘Cuda was a velvet chainsaw.
Stand-up comedian and host of the Fear Factor TV show, Joe Rogan, owned a ’70 ‘Cuda when he was 19. His economic lot at the time meant his was more trashed-out piece of transportation than a legit musclecar. But he could dream, couldn’t he? Now his career and wallet have expanded, and he wanted to bring his dormant automotive dream into reality. He’s stepped upmarket with his daily transportation, which includes a Porsche 911 Turbo, but being a hot rodder at heart, he wanted to drive a part of his past. So he enlisted two of the best custom car dream-makers; designer Chip Foose and builder Troy

When the three of them got together at Rad Rides by Troy in beautiful Manteno, IL, the enthusiasm of Rogan challenged the drawing pen of Foose and the fabrication skills of Trepanier. Foose’s original sketch had the ‘Cuda in two-tone paint, which breaks the car up to the eye and makes it look smaller. Amazingly, the outgoing Rogan chose the all-silver look. He figured look-at-me paint wasn’t going to further amplify the message Sick Fish was already going to say loud and clear with a ride height just 4 inches off the ground, 22-inch rear wheels, and Hemi rumble:
No fear; let’s play.HRM

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>You can get the basic engine at your Chrysler dealer, it’s a 528ci Hemi crate engine (10.25:1 CR, 610 hp/650 lb-ft). That’s the rating before EFI-guru John Meany tuned-up the dual 600-cfm, 4bbl BDS-fabbed throttl bodies with sequential EFI and eight Bosch 45lb/hr injectors at 60 psi. Rad Rides reconfigured the
accessory drive and built the mounts for the Billet Specialties pulleys, which cleaned up the engine’s front.

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> Jim Griffin created the all-business interior—no distractions, just information. The rollcage is 1 5/8-in chrome-moly and necessary for rigidity with all the Hemi’s torque, and the unibody modification to tub the backend to fit those 22s, and the Detroit Speed & Engineering four-link. The B&M shifter for the 727 trans (modified by Mark Bowler) lets you keep both hands on the wheel, and a Gear Vendors overdrive mates to the Strange Engineering Dana 60 limited-slip. The amp might be enough to make the stereo heard over the Hemi.

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> The original ’70 Cuda shape is so seductive that Chip Foose and Troy Trepanier concentrated on its stance. They began with a 318ci-powered donor that had minimal rust and no body damage. Putting it only 4 inches off the ground and fitting 19×8-inch and 22×10-inch wheels in the wells required reworking the entire unibody and suspension. The stock back-end body/suspension was discarded and enough tubing for a small playground ride was installed for the four-link and massive tubs. The perfect one-off two-piece billet wheels by Billet Specialties look like an updated Cragar SS, which is a good touch, while the reshaped exhaust tips were modernized. The hoodscoop is functional and not overt.