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Long-Stored 1969 Plymouth Barracuda Formula S Convertible Turns Out to Be Pilot Car Featured in Parts Catalog

HOT ROD logo HOT ROD 4/27/2018 Hot Rod Network Staff

In the "early 2000s" Holgar Kurschner of Wellsville, New York, was intrigued by a 1969 Plymouth 340 Formula S Barracuda convertible that his cousins, Charlie and Ed Sanders, had stored in an outbuilding with "other machinery" on their farm near Charlestown, Indiana.


Holgar says, "They were going to fix it. I told them to let me know if they ever decided to get rid of it."

Sell time came in 2016. Advertising the car on Craigslist turned up "crackpots" and "idiots" with "stupid offers." In contrast, Holgar's offer was "close enough" to his cousins' asking price and would keep the Mopar in the family.

Holgar owns a shop and has been restoring cars for a living for 30 years, but he specializes in the midsize Chrysler B-Body rather than the smaller A-Body, which includes the 1969 Barracuda. "I'm not a big A-Body guy," he says, "but I like convertibles."

Once he got the car home, Holgar was intrigued by several special features on the rare Barracuda, starting with the early serial number, 100026. The data tag had a job number, which he said "is usually from the first day of production."

His cousins had replaced the original 340, which had a cracked block, with another 340 bored 0.030 over and fitted with a hot cam. Luckily, they had saved the original 340, which Holgar fished out of the barn when he picked up the car.

"They got the engine and transmission done, back in, got the car running, and that's as far as they got."

002-rare-finds-kurschner-1969-plymouth-barracuda-formula-s-on-trailer-front-three-quarter-1.jpg © Hot Rod Network Staff 002-rare-finds-kurschner-1969-plymouth-barracuda-formula-s-on-trailer-front-three-quarter-1.jpg

Holgar noticed the original 340 still had factory red paint, which is the color Chrysler used in 1968 rather than the turquoise common for 1969. Apparently, Chrysler hadn't yet "changed over the engine color" at this early stage of production.

Chrysler had also stamped the serial number on a "piece of 12-gauge metal welded on the oil rail pan," rather than "on the machined pad" above the oil rail that was eventually selected for 1969 model engines.

This Barracuda was an early car, possibly a pilot car, meaning some hand-assembly was done before Chrysler settled on build procedure. Holgar publicized the car on "I think Moparts or one of those websites" seeking information.

He received an email from Washington State from a man who wrote, "Do you realize what this car is?"

Holgar says, "He had known the car since the mid 1970s. Turns out this guy had traced this car to be the car that is in the Chrysler parts book."

In the trunk of this 340, Holgar had found a Washington state license plate with a 1978 registration sticker. His research showed that a Betti Davidsen had registered the Plymouth in Puyallup, Washington, in 1975. More research revealed that a Richard Lollar of Payson, Arizona, sold it to a Mr. Turner in Bedford, Kentucky, who sold the car to a Dr. Kleinert of Louisville, who sold the car to Charlie and Ed Sanders in 1994.

Holgar believes what he has is a 1969 Formula S Barracuda convertible that was a pilot car. With it being built so early, the connection to the 1969 parts manual makes sense.


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