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Affordable fun

Published in blog.hemmings.com

1965 Plymouth Barracuda. Photo by author.

Speaking of the 273-cu.in. Mopar small-block V-8 that I recently wrote about, here’s a noteworthy car that has one. More significantly, this 1965 Plymouth Barracuda proves that there are plenty of affordable American cars from the ’60s available for those to think different.

Instead of being a follower of fashion, consider something uncommon, yet still stylish, easy to work on, and fun to drive – think early Barracudas. From the first time I saw a brand new Barracuda parked on a busy street in Brooklyn back in the summer of 1965, I thought they were great looking cars, with a distinctive style all their own.

So while the post 1969 ‘Cudas are now too pricey and out of reach of the average car guy, the early Barracudas offer enthusiasts a path to Sixties-era Mopar magic for truly reasonable money. This particular 1965 Barracuda was for sale in the car corral at Carlisle’s Fall Florida Autofest in Lakeland this past November.

The original asking price was also fairly reasonable at $6,300, then on Friday the seller dropped the price down to $5,000. Yes, it ran.

The placard in the window stated: “273 V-8, automatic on the floor, bucket seats, runs good, needs paint and bodywork.” Although it needed a repaint, the body was arrow straight and free of any major corrosion. The bumpers, grille and all the trim was there and in decent shape, as was the red interior. I didn’t hear the engine run but all was present and accounted for.

These early Barracudas are truly great little cars, and backed up by a sizeable selection of aftermarket restoration parts, which makes restoring one a relatively easy task. And with so many Mopar performance components on the market as well, you can easily wake up that little 273 and transform this striking fastback into a truly sensational looking ride that you would be proud to own, all the while being a blast to drive.

Carlisle’s next Florida Autofest will be held in Lakeland, Florida, on February 25-28, 2016, and it just may have the car you never thought you should own parked somewhere on their huge car corral lot. I’ll see you there!