by Gene Yetter
A restored yellow 1969 Barracuda ragtop owned by Rich Rininsland of Villas, NJ, won four trophies at the Allpar / NY/NJ Slant 6 Club of America show in New Brunswick, NJ, Sunday, October 7, 2007, bringing the car's all-time trophy total to ten. His latest awards at the New Brunswick meet included second place in the 1967-69 Mid-Late Class; Best Convertible; Best Engine (Slant-Six); and Longest Distance (to get to the show that morning . . . Villas, NJ, to New Brunswick).
This Barracuda rolled out of the Hamtramck assembly plant in November 1968. It was and still is equipped with a 225 cid slant-6 engine, single-barrel carb, manual 3-speed transmission ("3-on-the-tree") and a 3.23 rear end. Brakes and steering are standard. Color is "lemon twist," code Y2, a factory Mopar color in 1970. Interior black upholstery has been modified by the substitution of yellow rolls and pleats replacing standard black.
There were only 248 6-cylinder Barracuda convertibles made in the 1969 model year, and only 48 came with the 3-speed manual tranny. The Galen-Govier Chrysler Registry confirms that Rich's car is one of only nine known survivors with its basic description. First sold by Berlin Motors of Berlin, NJ, the car has the lowest VIN of the nine slant-6 ragtop Barracuda's registered, another distinction.
Rich has owned the car since February of 2006. He acquired it after selling another prize Mopar, a 1970 All American Racers (AAR) 'Cuda that previously belonged to racing great Dan Gurney.
As third owner of the 1969 convertible, Rich credits the previous owner, Chuck Miller of Egg Harbor City, with doing "about 50% of the body restoration, and the rest was done by George Truman, also of Egg Harbor Township." When he took ownership, only normal detailing was required. Before its restoration, the condition of the car was described as "badly deteriorated." The only way to describe it now is, "gorgeous."
Engine and transmission were rebuilt through Advance Auto Parts, the national auto parts supply chain, in Egg Harbor Township. Presently the vehicle has 91,000 miles on the odometer, 3,000 miles having been added since Rich bought it. When not babying his Barracuda, Rich mostly just enjoys showing up with it at local cruise events in range of his south Jersey home.
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