1968 Plymouth 426 Hemi Barracuda BO29
Jim Kramer, owner of Kramer Automotive Specialties, has been buying and restoring Mopar race cars since the early 1970s. His business caters to 1962-1974 Chrysler enthusiasts, fueled by Kramer’s passion for factory Mopar race cars. Given that context, it is no surprise that his Psychotic Reaction 1968 Hemi Barracuda is considered by many to be one of the most, if not the most, original BO29 cars in existence.
“Psychotic Reaction is an original
BO29 four-speed car with the Dana rearend,” Kramer explains. “The Hemi car was originally bought and owned by Leon Czrew and Bob Harrop. Bob Harrop is often remembered for his Flying Carpet cars. Almost immediately after the purchase of the car, Bob and Leon had a falling out. Leon bought Bob out, and soon punched a hole in the oil pan. The car was then parked until late 1977. It probably had 30 or so runs. In late 1977, a friend of mine, Dave Helmick of Masselon, Ohio, bought the car from Leon Czrew.”
Kramer would save the Psychotic Reaction from the flame. “In February 1981, I was talking to Dave about buying the Psychotic Reaction car. We made the deal on the phone about midnight. I called him the next day and asked if I could come pick up the car, and he agreed. Three hours later, I arrived in Massillon. The Barracuda was sitting in the garage with the gas tank facing the house, hood on the roof. I loaded up the car and left there at 5:30 p.m. I talked to Dave the next day, and he told me that six hours after I left his house, his house and his garage burned to the ground. There was a creosote fire at the house, and the garage was destroyed. The car would have been gone.”
A few psychotic reactions were avoided that day. Kramer has owned the car ever since. He avoids wood-burning stoves.
The car was last raced by Helmick in 1980, when it ran 10.54 at 129 mph on 10.5-inch tires. The only thing not original to Kramer’s BO29 is the iron-case fourspeed manual transmission, which was stolen when Dave Helmick owned the car. However, the transmission presently in the car is a brand new, N.O.S. Chrysler “Project Planning” aluminum crash-box four-speed that had previously belonged to Arlen Vanke. That works.
n Jim Kramer’s real deal BO29 1968 Hemi Barracuda sports the original Psychotic Reaction paintwork that was applied when the car was purchased from Chrysler. According to Kramer, a total of 72 BO29 Plymouth Barracudas and 83 LO23 Dodge Darts were built by Hurst that year.
n Front and rear glass was factory safety glass. The side front windows were Corning tempered glass, while the rear quarterwindows were fixed. The cars with automatic transmissions were equipped with an 8¾ rear with 4.88 gears. Stick cars received the Dana 60 rear with 4.88 gears. Super Stock springs and heavy-duty shocks helped plant the tires.
n The interior is completely stock. The Hurst Competition
Plus shifter had a short handle for short throw, and a separate Reverse gear lever. The Hemi cars were radio- and heater-delete. The three-point roll bar might have been sent with the car from Hurst, but that is debatable. Lowback A100 style seats and lightweight aluminum seat brackets were all business back in 1968.
n The 12.5:1 compression, 426ci Chrysler Hemi engine sports a steel crankshaft, forged pistons, a cross-ram manifold with correct Holley 4235 and 4236 carburetors, and Hooker headers. The distributor, spark plug wires, and fuel lines are all original to the car. Hurst painted the BO29 and LO23 engine compartments gloss black in an attempt to hide the “modifications” to the passengerside shock tower.
n The BO29 Barracudas and LO23 Darts benefitted from a large trunk-mounted battery placed on the right side of the trunk for better traction. The original part number label is still attached to the original J-bolt used for the battery hold down.
n The Barracuda’s front fenders and hood were fiberglass. The doors were chemically milled. All sound deadener, undercoating, and seam sealer were deleted for weight reduction. The Hemi hoodscoop provided fresh air and clearance for the elephant motor.