I ran into Jesse Matlock at the SEMA Show, and I just had to write about the absolutely beautiful and beautifully unique 1971 Plymouth Barracuda that he put together and calls “Striker.” Let’s take a look at it.
Just Check Out that Hood Line
The hood is the most eye-catching piece of the build. It opens and closes electronically at the push of a button. Oh, and as you can see, it opens and closes on two sets of hinges instead of just one, so that when fully open, there is no difference in the hood’s orientation/angle from when it’s closed, other than it sits about 15 inches higher than when closed.
A Worthwhile Effort
Jesse told me he put about 800 hours just into getting the hood to work right and have the seams perfect. He also told me he designed it this way so that there is a straight line view down the hood and roofline; so they’d appear as one piece. You can literally stick a straight edge across them and not have any gaps.
More Bodywork Than You Can Shake a Filler Spreader At
All you have to do is take one look at this beautiful beast and you know that the hood isn’t the only thing on which Jesse spent an inordinate amount of time getting just right. He extended the rockers by two inches to connect and smooth them with the frame rails. He then shaved almost everything: door handles/locks/side markers/drip rails. He tucked the front and rear bumpers, smoothed them and then welded them to the body.
The air dam and splitter are both custom one-off designs he came up with, and the fabulously customized grille will still fit in a stock Cuda’s mouth. He extended the front fenders down by two inches to match the rocker extensions. There’s also a custom spoiler out back.
Striker Isn’t Just a Pretty Finish
Striker has plenty of go to go with its looks. Motivation is supplied by a Magnuson-supercharged 6.1L SRT engine acked up by a NAG1 transmission. All this was wired using a drop-in wiring harness from HotWireAuto. Jesse couldn’t tell me what the engine puts out yet because he hasn’t had it on a dyno, but figures 600 horses is about right.
A Sturdy Base
Putting that horsepower to the ground is a Mopar 8 3/4 inch rear-end that he narrowed. No, he didn’t tell me by how much. The rear is controlled by a triangulated four link suspension. All that rides on Foose Nitrous II wheels, 18X7 up front and 20X15 in the rear.
Enough Brakes and Suspension to Whoa Anything Down
Of course, when you go to the trouble Jesse did with the hood and drivetrain, you need some serious brakes. Those came by way of Brembo, with 14 inch rotors all around, being clamped by six piston front calipers and four piston squeezers out back.
A Smooth Ride
Art Morrison built the RideTech Air Ride System that smooths out the bumps. He also built the Shockwaves that finish off the RideTech suspension. He also installed a digital control Ride Pro and Level Pro system with an AirPod.
The Custom Interior is Gorgeous
The red and black interior is completely custom. There’s a complete Kicker audio system that’s been surgically grafted into this hand-crafted interior and trunk. Even the all VDO dash with CB500 cluster, GPS Speed Sender and more is a one-off that Jesse designed and built himself.
Mike's love of cars began in the early 1970's when his father started taking him to his Chevron service station. He's done pretty much everything in the automotive aftermarket from gas station island attendant, parts counter, mechanic, and new and used sales. Mike also has experience in the amateur ranks of many of racing's sanctioning bodies.
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