RARE FINDS

Muscle Car Review - - Contents - By Jerry Heasley

Parts cat­a­log pi­lot car

In the “early 2000s” Hol­gar Kurschner of Wellsville, New York, was in­trigued by a 1969 Ply­mouth 340 For­mula S Barracuda con­vert­ible that his cousins, Char­lie and Ed San­ders, had stored in an out­build­ing with “other ma­chin­ery” on their farm near Charlestown, In­di­ana.

Hol­gar says, “They were go­ing to fix it. I told them to let me know if they ever de­cided to get rid of it.”

Sell time came in 2016. Ad­ver­tis­ing the car on Craigslist turned up “crack­pots” and “id­iots” with “stupid of­fers.” In con­trast, Hol­gar’s of­fer was “close enough” to his cousins’ ask­ing price and would keep the Mopar in the fam­ily.

Hol­gar owns a shop and has been restor­ing cars for a liv­ing for 30 years, but he spe­cial­izes in the mid­size Chrysler B-Body rather than the smaller A-Body, which in­cludes the 1969 Barracuda. “I’m not a big A-Body guy,” he says, “but I like con­vert­ibles.”

Once he got the car home, Hol­gar was in­trigued by sev­eral spe­cial fea­tures on the rare Barracuda, start­ing with the early se­rial num­ber, 100026. The data tag had a job num­ber, which he said “is usu­ally from the first day of pro­duc­tion.”

His cousins had re­placed the orig­i­nal 340, which had a cracked block, with an­other

340 bored 0.030 over and fit­ted with a hot cam. Luck­ily, they had saved the orig­i­nal 340, which Hol­gar fished out of the barn when he picked up the car.

“They got the en­gine and trans­mis­sion done, back in, got the car run­ning, and that’s as far as they got.”

Hol­gar no­ticed the orig­i­nal 340 still had fac­tory red paint, which is the color Chrysler used in 1968 rather than the turquoise com­mon for 1969. Ap­par­ently, Chrysler hadn’t yet “changed over the en­gine color” at this early stage of pro­duc­tion.

Chrysler had also stamped the se­rial num­ber on a “piece of 12-gauge metal welded on the oil rail pan,” rather than “on the ma­chined pad” above the oil rail that was even­tu­ally se­lected for 1969 model en­gines.

This Barracuda was an early car, pos­si­bly a pi­lot car, mean­ing some hand-assem­bly was done be­fore Chrysler set­tled on build pro­ce­dure. Hol­gar pub­li­cized the car on “I think Moparts or one of those web­sites” seek­ing in­for­ma­tion.

He re­ceived an email from Wash­ing­ton State from a man who wrote, “Do you re­al­ize what this car is?”

Hol­gar says, “He had known the car since the mid 1970s. Turns out this guy had traced this car to be the car that is in the Chrysler parts book.”

“Ad­ver­tis­ing the car turned up ‘crack­pots’ and ‘id­iots’ with ‘stupid of­fers’”

n The orig­i­nal 340 had a cracked block. The San­ders broth­ers re­placed it with an­other 340.

n The 1969 For­mula S con­vert­ible is one of 83 au­to­mat­ics ever built. The Alpine White paint is orig­i­nal, and the car is equipped with air con­di­tion­ing, an AM/FM ra­dio, a Per­for­mance Me­ter (vac­uum gauge in the dash), power steer­ing, and power drum brakes.

n New owner Hol­gar Kurschner fished the orig­i­nal block, which was cracked, from the barn to re­veal his­tory. He had “never seen any­thing like this,” re­fer­ring to the 12-gauge metal tag welded to the block near the oil pan rail.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.