Owning A 1967 Plymouth Barracuda Came Naturally

NAUGATUCK, CT – David Semanoff of Naugatuck was five years old when he got his first ride in a Plymouth Barracuda. It belonged to an uncle. “He took me for a nice spirited ride and, ever since then, I had to have a Barracuda,” he said last this week as he stood next to his 1967 fastback model parked in front of his home.

Semanoff has six uncles and all were into Barracudas. Together, they owned “probably about 10 of ’em,” he said, but he’s the only family member with one currently as the last uncle who owned one sold it last year. “The all moved on to other cars,” he explained.

David Semanoff and his 1967 Plymouth Barracuda

Semanoff’s focus on the model has never waned, and he’s happy to have a ’67 version.

“I’ve always wanted a Barracuda since I was a little kid. I actually wanted like a ’71, but those are impossible to get because they’re so expensive right now, so these were actually reasonably priced, and I found it on eBay in Pottsville, Pennsylvania,” he said.

That was in 2007. 

“It was in rough shape. The quarters were rusty. The motor was beat. It was just in bad, bad shape, but I just wanted it as like a kick around car; just to have a nice old car to drive around,” Semanoff recalled.

See the 1967 Plymouth Barracuda in action in this YouTube video…

He drove the “temperamental” Barracuda that way for a year.

“One day my brother was talking to me and he was like, ‘You know, for a little bit of money, we could change this car completely around.’ The job I was doing, I couldn’t afford to do that, so he ended up getting me a second job, and that’s what got me into this whole thing,” he said.

The Barracuda presumably wasn’t reliable until it got restored.

“You had to do all kinds of crazy thing to get it going and, yeah, it was bad,” Semanoff continued. “And every time my brother was with me, it would break down and he’d be  like, ‘We could do this, and this, and this.’ And it ended up being something that cost a lot of money. It just turned into more money to do this and more money to do that. That’s how it ended up being what it is.”

The restoration was an involved process. “We started with the motor. Did the rear end. Did the transmission. The body work I actually did later,” he said. 

The Barracuda’s original 273-cubic-inch V8 engine got replaced by a 360-cubic-inch V8. Its B5 blue factory color became bright orange, with black accents. 

“The reason why I painted it orange was because I was a big ‘Dukes of Hazzard’ fan and I wanted it painted the same color that the General Lee was,” said Semanoff, referring to the 1969 Dodge Charger that the characters of Bo and Luke Duke drove on the television series.

Plymouth built the Barracuda for 10 years – 1964 into early 1974 – and there were three generations of the model. The 1967 version was the first year of the second generation.

The Barracuda began as a pony car version of the Plymouth Valiant economy model; just as the Ford Mustang was derived from that brand’s inexpensive Falcon. The Barracuda’s demise was the result of the energy crisis in 1973. The Plymouth brand went away in 2001.

Semanoff’s Barracuda has a muscular appearance. “I actually had this car in my head before I even built it. I actually did a little 1/25th model of it before I even had the car,” he said, later adding that it’s still a work in progress. 

“It drives nice. It’s quick. It’s snappy. It you get in it, it’ll roast the tires right down the road. I try not to do that any more ’cause I don’t know the neighbors like I used to,” he said.


What Semanoff doesn’t know is precisely how much money he has put into the Barracuda.

“Oh, I could never tell you. I don’t have a clue ’cause if I did, I’d probably cry,” he said. “It’s never done. I’m always something on it. I’m constantly trying to do it better and better and better.”

Looking to the future, Semanoff said another engine swap might be in the offing as well as another paint job to get rid of the chips and dings. “But,” he said, “I’ll never get rid of this thing. I love this car.”  

(Photos by Bud Wilkinson)

About Bud Wilkinson

Bud Wilkinson writes the "RIDE-CT" motorcycle column and the "My Ride" classic car feature in the "Republican-American" newspaper in Waterbury, CT. A graduate of Vermont Academy prep school, he holds a B.A. degree journalism from Ohio Wesleyan University. He is the recipient of a Scripps Howard Foundation National Journalism Award in 1992 and a 1991-92 regional Emmy Award for commentary. He currently rides a 1987 BMW R 80 RT and a 2014 Triumph Bonneville and drives a 2010 Mazda MX-5 Miata.

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