Plum crazy

The Mopar faithful will quickly recognize that this featured Plymouth Barracuda is painted in FC7 “In-Violet” for Plymouth, and not the perhaps-better-known “Plum Crazy” offered by Dodge. The paint hue and its code may be the same for both, but the paint names are unique to each of the brands. The Plum Crazy story title, in this case, may be appropriate to describe not the color of the car, but instead the owner, who chose to do a high-end and costly restoration on this, a six-cylinder-equipped Barracuda. Missing are the billboard stripes, front fender gills, Shaker hood, and a 440 Six Barrel or Hemi beneath the hood, items commonly found on Plymouth E-body models receiving such detailed attention.

This six-cylinder-equipped and heavily optioned Barracuda took eight years to restore. Restoration photography by Doug Peterson

By 1970, every major American automaker was pulling out all the stops in the horsepower wars. Chrysler was no different when it launched the E-body platform for the all-new Plymouth Barracuda and sibling Dodge Challenger. With the Barracuda, this go-big-or-stay-home approach created arguably one of the most beautiful cars ever produced. This sort of shared component engineering was brilliant. Chrysler engineers created a new platform using the B-body cowl, and simply shortened the B-body’s wheelbase. The result was a newer, wider pony car that could easily handle every engine in Chrysler’s arsenal, from the 225 Slant-Six to the fire-breathing Hemi, without compromise or additional components. Had the original Barracuda looked this good, perhaps the pony car segment would have been named for a fish.

Wayne Wacker, a retired federal credit union manager from Davey, Nebraska, is the proud owner of this seemingly rare and eye-popping 1971 Plymouth Barracuda, complete with a pedestrian Slant-Six. Wayne has owned the car since 1974, when he found it on an Oldsmobile dealership lot where his wife Georgia worked. As soon as the car came in on trade, Georgia wasted no time giving Wayne the heads up. At the time, the Barracuda showed just 52,000 original miles, and $1,850 was the asking price.

Since purple was Wayne’s favorite color, the deal was done. For the next 14 years, the Barracuda served Wayne and his family as a daily driver and grocery-getter, adding another 75,000 miles, but eventually it was pushed aside in favor of more modern transportation. It was not long before the car moved outside, next to the garage with just a car cover protecting it from the harsh Nebraska winters and hot summers. Once the rust started to set in, it never let up, and eventually took its toll.

Still languishing beside the garage through most of the ’90s, the E-body’s distinctive styling was unmistakable, even under a car cover, so it wasn’t long before rubberneckers and other interested parties started coming around. Word began to spread.

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