1971 Barracuda Built For Speed

Kuck Motorsports’ Menacing Twin Turbo Mopar Muscle Car

By Gerry Burger   –   Photography by Dale Boesch

If you live in Nebraska, the name Kuck is synonymous with great cars. Kuck Motorsports houses a private collection of over 100 cars, ranging from vintage race cars to classic hot rods, muscle cars, movie cars, and modern-day race cars. The late Gary Kuck was the driving force behind the original collection. Today, as a family, the Kucks, Sue and her son Scott, are both total gearheads, so it should come as no surprise that during a bench racing session talk turned to building a full-tube chassis muscle car, a street legal racer based on a 1971 Plymouth Barracuda.

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02 Temporary bracing is still in place here and the setback on the ’70 426 Hemi engine is apparent
Long before that sleek sheet metal was in place the complete tube chassis, full cage car was fabricated. Temporary bracing is still in place here and the setback on the ’70 426 Hemi engine is apparent.

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In the beginning the seafood recipe was kept simple. One 1971 Barracuda, blended well with a wrecked 2004 Dodge Viper, and spice things up with a heavy dose of horsepower through a 1970 426 Hemi engine. Mix well and serve on a platform of finely crafted tubes.

03 The quarter panels are widened 2 1 2 inches per side to make room for huge 20x12 custom wheels
Here we see the quarter-panel being fitted to the maze of tubes. The quarter-panels are widened 2-1/2 inches per side to make room for huge 20×12 custom wheels.

The team at Kuck Motorsports dove into the project and before long the chassis jig was filled with tubing supporting the narrowed front and rear suspension from the ’04 Dodge Viper parts car. The early iron Hemi was mounted 12 inches back in the frame with a 6 speed TREMEC transmission passing the power to the Viper rear. The engine setback made room for the two monster turbos force-feeding the Hemi engine.

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04 A quick peek inside shows the Boesch Hot Rod Concepts formed inner wheel wells mated to the Kuck Motorsports–built frame
A quick peek inside shows the Boesch Hot Rod Concepts formed inner wheel wells mated to the Kuck Motorsports–built frame.

Things were going along swimmingly and then it came time to mount the body panels to the sea of tubing that make up the chassis and roll cage. The body was completely gutted and the process of mounting the sheet metal was started, but the Kuck team quickly decided they were in over their heads … but help was nearby when Boesch Hot Rod Concepts jumped in to rescue the project.

05 A 6 speed TREMEC transmission will rest between the tubing forming the transmission tunnel and cowl rollbar
A 6 speed TREMEC transmission will rest between the tubing forming the transmission tunnel and cowl rollbar. A fabricated custom firewall will divide the interior from the motor compartment.

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When the car arrived in Humphrey, Nebraska (home to Boesch Hot Rod Concepts), all the sheet metal was removed from the tubing structure and work fitting the panels began anew.

06 The roof skin has been attached and while the profile seems radically lower the top was only chopped 1 inch
The roof skin has been attached and while the profile seems radically lower, the top was only chopped 1 inch. There are still no A-pillars or windshield surround in place and the door and quarter-panel will receive dramatic reshaping.

When all the smoke and grinder sparks had cleared, the Barracuda was a full 5 inches wider front and rear with reskinned doors smoothly transitioning to the wider front and rear panels. A new decklid and custom spoiler was formed in steel, while carbon fiber was chosen for the hood. Rather than conventional rocker panels, a custom set of 4-inch side exhaust pipes are covered with sheet metal to prevent potential burns. Front and rear valances are hand formed items that echo the original look. The result is a car that is instantly recognizable as a vintage Barracuda, but with a much more menacing shape and stance.

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07 An Optima battery will spin this monster to life and Dakota Digital gauges will keep an eye on things
If you are wondering why the engine was set back a full 12 inches it has to do with making room for two huge turbos. This setback also helps with weight distribution. An Optima battery will spin this monster to life and Dakota Digital gauges will keep an eye on things.

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There is a tentative completion goal of Goodguys Columbus 2023, and you can bet we’ll be there to bring you a finished look at this superfast fish.  MR

08 Temporary tubing holds the inner wheel well in place while the door has been sliced and pushed out to meet the top of the widened quarter panel
Temporary tubing holds the inner wheel well in place while the door has been sliced and pushed out to meet the top of the widened quarter-panel. Narrow suspension from a 2004 Dodge Viper keeps things all Mopar.
09 The quarters were widened on the top while the side panels carry the stock contours
The quarters were widened on the top while the side panels carry the stock contours except in the front where they gently taper to meet the slightly reshaped door. This is a radical modification, yet it appears almost stock.
10 The long pie cut on the door makes the transition to the widened quarter panel
The long pie cut on the door makes the transition to the widened quarter-panel. Likewise, a formed piece carries the stock door line out to the reshaped quarter.
11 The original door skin is cut to allow the new door line panel to be welded in place
The original door skin is cut to allow the new door line panel to be welded in place. Leaving the stock door handles in place adds to the factory-built illusion.
12 After untold hours of metal finishing the quarters doors and fenders flow in a perfect Coke bottle configuration
After untold hours of metal finishing, the quarters, doors, and fenders flow in a perfect Coke bottle configuration with door gaps tighter than any Plymouth has ever produced.
13 The new widened front end meant the stock bumper would have to be widened too
The new widened front end meant the stock bumper would have to be widened, too. The bumper was also tucked tight to the leading edge of the fenders.
14 Dale Boesch metal worked the widened bumper to perfection while the sheet metal gaps are still in the shaping process
Dale Boesch metal worked the widened bumper to perfection, while the sheet metal gaps are still in the shaping process. A custom front pan comes next.
15 The 1971 Plymouth Barracuda is one of the best looking muscle cars ever produced
The 1971 Plymouth Barracuda is one of the best-looking muscle cars ever produced. For that reason, Boesch went to great lengths to preserve the inherent good looks while reshaping virtually every panel on the car.
16 Kuck built custom headers feed Boesch built side pipes and sculpted heat shields
Those monster turbos will be forcing a lot of air in, so it was decided a no-muffler set of 4-inch side pipes was the best way to let the Hemi engine breathe. Kuck-built custom headers feed Boesch-built side pipes and sculpted heat shields.
17 A reformed wheel opening perfectly wraps around the temporary 19x10 custom wheels
A reformed wheel opening perfectly wraps around the temporary 19×10 custom wheels while the reshaped leading edge of the door flows into the widened front fenders.
18 This car is designed to be street driven complete with Vintage Air
Removing the wheel exposes the narrowed ’04 Viper suspension. This car is designed to be street driven, complete with Vintage Air, but the construction will permit the car to participate in various types of racing.
19 The rear bumper will be tucked tight and a custom valance will be formed below the bumper
Out back the original taillights and license plate surround remain in place between the widened quarter-panels. The rear bumper will be tucked tight and a custom valance will be formed below the bumper.
20 The body lines are super crisp and the sail panel mates perfectly with the quarter panel
The body lines are super crisp and the sail panel mates perfectly with the quarter-panel.
21 Once again the style of the filler cap is in keeping with the ’70s theme of the car
A flip-fill fuel cap leads to a custom-fabricated gas tank. Once again, the style of the filler cap is in keeping with the ’70s theme of the car.
22 The custom rear valance leads to a lower pan complete with air evacuators
The custom rear valance leads to a lower pan complete with air evacuators. This adds some serious race car flavor to this old fish.
23 We love the shape of the hand formed rear spoiler a great combination of form and function
We love the shape of the hand-formed rear spoiler; a great combination of form and function. Note the flawless fit of the rear glass.
24 Boesch is building a fiberglass headliner for the car
No, they’re not laying a fiberglass skin over the roof. Boesch is building a fiberglass headliner for the car. This is one clever way to solve the problem of installing a headliner under a reconfigured roof.
25 The color has not been chosen yet but we suspect it may have some vintage Mopar flavor
This is the view most competitors will see, and what a view it is! Those wheels were designed by Dale Boesch and custom built by Greening Auto. The color has not been chosen yet, but we suspect it may have some vintage Mopar flavor. Time will tell.

Sources

Boesch Hot Rod Concepts
(402) 923-0770
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Boesch-Auto-Body/154145267954119

Kuck Motorsports
(402) 476-1932
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kuck-Motorsports/134225839960694

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