LS Fest West 2021 Flashback: The Swapped 1965 Barracuda

04/12/2022
10 min read

LS Fest West 2021 Flashback: The Swapped 1965 Barracuda

04/12/2022
10 min read

One of the hallmarks of Holley's LS Fest is seeing just how many vehicles wind up with late-model GM powertrains installed into them. Over the years, we've seen just about everything there is show up with an LS or LT heartbeat under the hood. What's your poison? Do you like 1980s vintage GM cars that came with anemic 305s? Done. How about every possible variation of the Ford Fox platform? Yep. Import cars? Everything from Sentra to Supra...and yes, we do mean Sentra, as in Nissan front-drive econo-box. We've seen ATVs, boats, go-karts, bar stools. But if we had to guess which group of fans is most irritated when they see an LS in the engine bay, it has to be a Mopar product. Doesn't matter how old or how new, Mopar fans blow their tempers when they learn that an otherwise perfectly acceptable car or truck is running a GM powerplant. "Unacceptable" is the tip of the iceberg of phrases they use. Anything would be better. Couldn't find a nice 340 to swap instead? Weren't tempted by the Gen III Hemi path? The Slant Six didn't do it for you? No, you had to go an ruin a car with an LS swap.


LSW21 Barracuda engine bay


We'd elaborate more, but this is a family show. You get the idea.


Kyle Laramore's 1965 Plymouth Barracuda caught our eye within the first hour of LS Fest West 2021. It wouldn't matter what show it was at, the gorgeous little early A-body Barracuda would catch eyes from the moment it parked up. The original pony car (the Valiant-based Barracuda beat the Mustang to market by about two weeks), the Barracuda came out with either the Slant Six or the 180-horse 273 cubic-inch LA V8 as an option. With the optional "Formula S" option, the Barracuda proved to be a handler, as well...not only did it outshine a lot of domestic cars, it would give European machines pause...especially if the new-for-1965 "Commando 273" V8 was optioned. Conservatively rated at 235 horsepower (and probably pushing a bit more from the factory), the Commando 273 was a rev-happy little mill that was second only to the 275-horsepower "D/Dart" combinaton of 1966 before the 340 took the hot-ticket small-block Chrysler crown in 1968.


LSW21 Barracuda rear quarter


So, how did this little 'Cuda wind up with an LS heartbeat? Well, the car has been in Kyle's family since the day his father bought it in 1967 and has been around for many events...it was around when his parents met, when they married, you know how it goes. Then...it sat for a bit, a couple of trees had fallen onto it, and it became that car in the woods. When Kyle turned 15 years old, that's when the Barracuda was brought out of the woods and was restored to be his first car. He drove it for a bit...then history repeated itself. The Plymouth sat for a bit until the decision was made to put the car back on the road. "The original Mopar engine was shot," he told us. "I had a 5.3, I had a transmission, so I stuck it in." The goal was to have a nice driver that he could take anywhere he wanted, and he figured that a fuel-injected engine and an overdrive trans would be the way to go.


Frankly, it's difficult to argue with his logic. Love or hate the idea of a crossbreed engine swap, anything that keeps an older machine on the road and driven often is a good idea.


LSW21 Barracuda beauty shot


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