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Dave's 1966 Formula S
Plymouth Barracuda

GoldFish Set-Up Notes by Season

My Barracuda was originally purchased with the idea that it
would be my daily driver. However, various old car problems
and the dawning realization that parts were MUCH harder
to come by for the fish than for the Mustang soon moved it to
back-up car status. When the rear axle wore out the summer after
I became a father and a graduate student (Yea, I committed the
tactical blunder of doing both at the same time in Spring of '95),
it went up on jack stands (were it remained until 06/03/2001),
awaiting my attention and a portion of my COPIOUS spare time.

While my Barracuda has only about 68,000 miles on the clock, the
previous owners were none too kind to it. The original owner
purchased the Citrine Gold Metallic Formula S with a black interior,
console, disk brakes, and a 904 automatic transmission in New
York. The Following year he retired to Arizona (and,
apparently, quit changing the GoldFish's oil). When he passed
away the GoldFish emigrated to Michigan where its 2nd owner had
it repo'd (more than likely more poor maintenance here). Its
third owner purchased it off of the impound lot (and the
GoldFish finally got lucky). Pete McNicholl, the GoldFish's
third owner, is a retired Chrysler Engineer who enjoys
restoring, showing, and occasionally racing early A bodies and
'50s Hemi cars. While he did not restore the GoldFish, he did
treat it kindly, showing it in unrestored/driven condition
around Michigan and driving it on a regular basis.

I purchased the GoldFish in 1990 with 58,000 miles on it for
the sum of $4500.00 and my trusty 318 powered '74 Dart (a
converted, rusty, \6 car). That's when things started to get

When the GoldFish first arrived in the driveway at my mom's
house, its greeting to me was to spit a core plug out of the back
of the driver's side cylinder head right there in the driveway (I
bet you can see where this is going). I ended up pulling both
heads off, getting a valve job, a mild port clean up, converting
to a hydraulic cam (remember this was to be a daily driver),
replaced one cam bearing, and the oil pump and pickup. Once I had
it running again and through Maryland's title transfer/licensing
inspection (very picky) I started to drive the GoldFish on a daily
basis and found that it tended to run hot; after replacing the
water pump, thermostat, and radiator the GoldFish's temp stabilized.

How did it run and drive? Once I replaced the ball joints, tie
rod ends, and shocks, very nicely, thank you. The Formula S
package makes for a well balanced car that compares well with
modern sport coups in every category except emissions and gas
mileage. Other minor upgrades include a K&N air filter (I use
these on all my vehicles), urethane bushings for the sway bar
(this swap was a bit of a pain but worth the effort), and a set
of P 205 60HR 14 Yokohama A509s (a nice inexpensive H rated tire
that works well on dry or wet pavement). At the strip the tired
273 Commando (it uses a quart of oil every 100 miles) has pushed
the GoldFish to a best run of 17.20 @ 84 MPH despite the
undersized replacement exhaust system. On the street the GoldFish
could defend its honor against the more common Cameros and Mustangs.

As mentioned above the GoldFish became a backup car due to the
difficulty in getting parts. I still drove to work once or twice
a week in good weather, although I will drive it in the rain on
occasion by choice (unlike the Rust-er-Mustang which leaks and
gets down right scary on wet pavement (all that torque =8^D)).

Unfortunately for the GoldFish (as I mentioned above) it decided
to use up the rear wheel bearings during the summer of 1995.
Normally this wouldn't have been a problem, but I'd just started
Grad' School AND become a father during the spring. I
managed to get the axle out of the car, got it rebuilt, and back
to the garage floor under the car but there it sat from August
1995 to about late May of 2001. And then...

Great news! The GoldFish swims again. Got it down off of jackstands
for the first time in almost six (6!) years on Sunday June 3rd,
took it to its first Autocross on June 24th! In the time since
I parked the GoldFish, I got my Mustang (Ol'Beastly) back on the
road (I grenaded its 289 in 1991), started autocrossing it in C
Prepared. This has changed the plan for the GoldFish (I've got
the racing bug BAD). So... I'm developing the GoldFish
as a test mule for my '66 Dodge Dart to go Vintage Road Racing.
I'm using the local autocrosses to develop the handling on the car
and don't expect to actually be running the Dart in Fender-to-Fender
events for another two or three years.

The eventual focus of the GoldFish's Development will be as a competent
grand touring car with track day potential. While mosifications
so far have stuck mostly to the letter and/or spirit of vintage racing
rules (specifically SVRA/HSR), (distant) future plans include the
installation of Edlebrock heads and DFI, which should net close to 400
WRHP, the re-installation of the heater, and steel front bumper.

Below are links to pages covering the set-up notes and results by
event for each of the seasons I've run the GoldFish in:


Links to Official Results Pages
Oil Control
One issue that's come up at every event,
except the rainy fourth one, has been oil starvation.
After every run I've come back to the pits with the
lifters ticking like I'd run out of oil. I've worked out
a solution with a guy named Armando Z. Rodriguez of:

7819 Parmelee Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90001-3031
Fax: (323)587-6395
Cell Phone: (323)422-0145

For my $370.00 (including shipping) I got a pan built
to my own design (so its my fault if it doesn't fit 8-})
that includes a diamond gated T sump, a flat windage
tray, basic (flat) crank stripper, custom pickup, and
silver cad' plating. I'm not sure about capacity,
somewhere between 7 and 9 quarts I think (8 quarts as
it turns out, including filter).

Received the trimmed Oil Pan back from Armando in a
timely fashion, and it bolted right up. It holds 7
quarts and seems to do a good job of maintaining oil
pressure even in long and fast (by autocross standards)
sweepers. Installation required minor mod's to the bolt
in windage tray to provide little more clearance for the
pickup during installation, and a hole for the dipstick
to pass through.
What I got for my money
What I got for my money
This also shows the new swaybar

This oil pan was installed before the GoldFish's eighth autocross and made
noticeable difference in the oil supply to the engine, as I no longer heard
the click-i-ty-clack of deflated hydraulic lifters after every run. Was it
a complete cure? No (see commentary following autocross 17, above). It
does help though, Its just that there isn't room for really big kickouts
on the sides of the oil pan and that limits reserve capacity for sustained
high G cornering. The new motor gets a 3 Quart AccuSump.

Commentary on Stock Formula S
Suspension Development

After autocross five (09/03/2001) the GoldFish is nicely balanced in
steady state cornering, puts the power down REALLY well coming
out of corners (I can floorboard the loud peddle just past the apex
and really come out Howling! Well as much as the tired 273 CAN howl
anyway), and still needs a little help with turn in. I'll be trying a
more radical alignment soon. While the actual time difference between
me and 1st in CP at this event was greater than autocross four, this
one was dry (I find that rain can be a great equalizer), so I'm very
happy with the result. I did knock over a full second off of the
deficit I had in autocross 3.

After autocross eight (10/21/2001) the GoldFish is even MORE nicely
balanced in steady state cornering, puts the power down REALLY
well coming out of corners (I can floorboard the loud peddle just past
the apex and really come out Howeling! Well as much as the tired 273
CAN howl anyway), and (thanks to the new alignment) needs little or
no additional help with turn in. In turns that would have had the
GolfFish pushing like a wheelbarrow with the previous alignment, the
front tires just bite down on the surface and turn-in. A technique
that worked very well on the decreasing radius sweepers on this course
was to carry speed into the turn, ease off of the throttle just before
the apex, trail brake through the apex using trailing throttle oversteer
to point the car at the corner exit gate, then catch the car by easing
back into the gas (YEE HAA!), with it floor-boarded by the
corner exit.

This was the final MWCSCC autocross of the year. Over the course of
the season the GoldFish has made tremendous progress. This winter I plan
to add: a thicker front swaybar: install a rear sway bar; get thicker
torsion bars; add an aluminum intake and mechanical cam for more power and
reduced front end weight; and get an aluminum water pump. I would also
LIKE to freshen the engine and get subframe connectors installed but I'll
have to see how the budget works out.

Beyond Stock Formula S
Suspension Development

The new 1.125" adjustable front swaybar (see autocross nine
above) has the GoldFish cornering much flatter with very mild
understeer. Currently its set up full soft and that appears to be plenty
stiff for now. Next (after newyears) is to install the 0.6875" rear bar
I have leftover from Ol'Beastly and see I can get the car more perfectly
balanced and flat in the turns (although It aint bad now). To get the
new bar I sent Saner Performance Fabrication (SPF) a carefully
traced (as accurate as I could (not bad if I DO say so)) drawing on
cardboard of the stock bar with dimensions and detail on how I wanted
the new bar to differ. The adjustment is by the selection of one of
three holes on each end for end link attachment. SPF's website
( talks about getting tubular
production equipment, but they've been too busy making parts to get into
that yet. They did turn my bar around in about eight working days for
only $160.00 including shipping. One thing, the price I quoted was for
the bar only, frame bushings (which I had on hand) and end links (which I
got a good deal on from my engine builder (Maryland Performance Center)
would (I suspect) be extra. Also I had to fabricate new frame mounts as
the factory parts would not accept the 1.125" bar and bushing. I used a
combination of 5/16" angle iron and 1/8" extruded channel. The end links
consist of one 7/16" male rod end, 2.25" piece of 0.5" OD tubing with 7/16"
nuts welded to it, and a 7/16" bolt with urethane bushings in the lower
control arm mount on each side (total hardware and fabrication cost on the
end links $60.00).

Detail of new frame mounts

End link detail

Weight Reduction
The contact information for the
fiberglass 1966 Barracuda bumpers is:
Larry Augenstein
Sled City
P.O. Box 944
Grove City, Ohio 43123
Ph: 614-875-0369

Larry charged me $145.00 including the shipping
for the bumper. He'd had this one on the shelf
for a while (one of two he's made so far), so I
don't know what he wants for them as a regular
production item (Bill Maier charges $200.00 for
his Mustang bumpers), but I'm trying to find out.

I recently received this link from the MOPAX Mailing List (A YAHOO Group) for
VFN Fiberglass They list front and
rear bumpers, lift off hood and rear deck lids for the 1966
Barracuda! I can't speak to their quality, but I were building
the GoldFish JUST for C Prepared/Drag Racing/Part Time Street
driving, I'd be ordering the hood & rear deck lid... But the
vintage rule books mostly require all mettle panels so I'm looking
for a front clip, doors, and rear deck lid to get acid dipped

VFN Fiberglass
501 Interstate Rd.
Addison, IL 60101
Phone: (630) 543-0232
Fax: (630) 543-9877

SPAX Shocks
Here's the contact info for the Spax shocks:

Eric Weller at
British American Transfer, Inc. (Yea that's BAT,
Inc. for short)
2263 Industrail Boulevard
Sarasota, FL 34234
Ph: 1-941-355-0005
Fax: 1-941-355-4683
DO tell him who sent you (I'll likely be buying a set
for my brother for Christmas).
The SPAX website is at:
For more detail about the company and its products.

The part numbers are Front: G480, and Rear: G481

The listing is for "Chrysler Australia: Valiant (all models)"

Left rear shock adjuster

The adjustment (with a small screwdriver to a slotted head on the side of
the shock body) affects both rebound and compression for the softer
10 settings then only stiffens the rebound for the stiffest 4 settings
(total of 14 clicks). It did take 10 weeks to get the shocks once I
ordered them but shipping cost was minimal (they ARE a special order
item for SPAX).

Fitment of the Spax shocks on an American Valiant has one issue, their
mounting hardware is a close Metric equivalent for the SAE sizes on
the U.S. car. In the rear this merely requires a little muscle and
lube to force the tight urethane bushings over the mounting studs. In
the front, the upper mounts are no problem, but the lowers are small,
closer to 3/8" rather than the 7/16" of the U.S. car, these have to be
drilled out to the correct 7/16" size. This is difficult if you've
only got a 3/8" drill. I chucked up a 7/16" Tap and used that to
"strip" the lower bushings to 7/16" (8^P)!

How do the Spax work? I'm VERY happy with them Even
with the current settings (11 clicks in from full soft front/11
clicks in from full soft rear) the ride is comfortable, but very
tightly controlled. The car is nicely balanced and works well on
both the Autocross course and the street. They control the rebound of
the stiffer torsion bars (went from 0.870" to 0.990") I've installed.
With the stock springs I'd set them on the stiff side to keep the car
from "falling over" at turn in (and it worked quite well). That isn't
a problem with the bigger torsion bars but I find I'm still using the
same settings. The ride is taught and controlled but not harsh or
uncomfortable, handling is crisp, responsive, and predictable.


Some Photos of the GoldFish


Grassroots Motorsports Magazine

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Last Updated: 01/26/2007