There are a lot of restomods and what-if cars out there today. You don’t have to look far to find a car that answers the question of what if a modern-day enthusiast had made this or that classic car? But this four-door 1970 Plymouth Barracuda, which is being offered at auction, is a stunningly well-realized and truly unique what-if car.
Built by Dave Walden, the late owner of restoration products supplier ECS for the 2016 SEMA show, it’s not quite like the other stuff we’ve come to expect from the show. Rather than being a big, visually-impressive, no holds barred restomod, this is a deeply considered, highly restrained, and incredibly detailed flight of automotive alternative history.
At a glance, it looks very unassuming, almost bland, which is a major achievement, because this is the only Barracuda on earth with four doors. And despite going through major surgery with hand-fabricated steel body panels, a uniquely configured roof, and new door frames, it looks like it could have easily been in a dealer showroom in 1970.
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The result of working way too hard to answer the question, “What would a new 1970 E-body car look like as a four-door sedan?” Walden and his team showed remarkable restraint in attempting to create something believable.
They even went to the trouble of getting a window sticker stating the options selected for the car and a faux broadcast sheet that would have accompanied the car’s assembly at a factory. Under the hood, meanwhile, they went for the E55 340 CI V8 engine, with four-barrel carbs, high-flow exhaust manifolds, and dual exhausts.
Although that’s a pretty good setup, they didn’t go overboard. The engine produced 275 hp (205 kW/279 PS) from the factory, and it’s paired to an A727 TorqueFlite automatic transmission, which I think is another clever touch for this four-door sedan, rather than a manual transmission.
The car really feels like it’s the result of a clear vision from its creator, who didn’t fall prey to the temptations of the enthusiast, which might have made this imaginary car less realistic. A beautiful and slightly odd rendering of an imaginary classic, this car is now being sold at Mecum’s Kissimee Auction, which runs from January 4-15.
Photos Mecum Auctions