Story: Michael Roselli
Photography: Mike Maez
Dubai has one of the fastest-growing markets on earth. The country holds one-third of the world’s construction cranes, and Lamborghinis, Mercedes AMGs and Maseratis are as common as Camrys. Having the latest and greatest is not just a luxury there; it’s a necessity. And some owners have introduced truly ridiculous modifications—gold-plating an SLR McLaren, for example—just to one-up their buddies. However, owner Samer, rumored to own a diamond mine in Dubai, isn’t that flashy. He’s discreet, coy and almost mysterious compared to his competition, but his latest Barracuda resto-mod makes everyone rethink what it takes to garner attention in the land of flamboyance.
“I selected the ’Cuda over any other muscle car because the ’Cuda didn’t really take its full potential,” explains Samer, owner of this 1970 Plymouth Barracuda. “In addition, Plymouth no longer exists, and this car will never again ride on tarmac, so I wanted the world to see and know what beautiful lines the ’Cuda had. It’s a gorgeous car.” The plan was set: Strip and stuff a stock green ’Cuda with modern machinery—but who would twist the wrench? Automotive designer and celebrity Chip Foose, known for his resto-mod masterpieces on TLC’s Overhaulin’, or Camp Crocker, owner and builder for COP 4X4, a shop specializing in Hemi engine swaps and custom fabrication for Jeep Wranglers?
Although it may seem surprising, Camp got the job. One look at his $100,000-plus Jeeps, one of which Samer owns, will dissipate all remaining doubt. “I was nervous about [the ’Cuda build] because I had to depend on a couple of subcontractors to do some of the work,” Camp admits. “I’ve worked on a lot of cars, but this is by far the biggest project that I’ve done to date.” Though the project ran a few months past the estimated delivery time, Camp explains that’s only because of the incredible amount of work and detail included in the car: The shaved door handles and transmission tunnel were the only major fabrications to the exterior, but the interior shares little with the original 1970 design. “We wanted something that was totally cool and totally clean, as opposed to doing something original [restoration]. I didn’t care what it looked like when it came off the showroom floor in 1970.”
As for the huge heartthrob under the hood, Samer wanted a 6.1-liter SRT8 Hemi, but once they agreed on a price, Camp realized he could do a 440ci without adjusting the budget. Instead of telling Samer the good news, Camp bored and stroked the Hemi to 7.2 liters, and the motor transformed into a Harrington’s Machine Shop racing 440ci V8. Camp says the difference is “noticeable” and assures us the rear end will break loose in any gear, at any speed. “It’s the scariest thing I’ve ever driven,” replied Camp.
Amongst the sea of outlandish vehicles in Dubai, a 1970 Plymouth still manages to stand out. It’s not gold, it doesn’t transform, and it didn’t cost a zillion dollars. It’s proof that a tasteful resurrection of a foregone American breed can yield both something the owner can be proud of and something the world can be envious of. Isn’t that what Dubai is all about?
Spec The Technique:
Performance: 440 Arrington Motorsports Hemi est. 635 horsepower; AlterKtion front coilover suspension; Street-Lynx rear coilovers; Strange Engineering rear with 3.73 gears; Steel Universal Tilt Column with ignition; Momo steering wheel; Wilwood 6-piston front/rear brakes with slotted and cross-drilled rotors; custom driveshafts; Nag slap shift 6-speed automatic transmission
Interior: Bentley red leather with suede headliner and accents; Auto Meter classic gauges
Exterior: Maserati Nero Grey paint
Ice: Alpine iXA-W407 head unit, two Type R 10-inch subwoofers, PDX-F4 amp, PDX-M6 amp, SPX-17REF
Wheels/Tires: 19-inch front, 20-inch rear MHT Vortex wheels; Toyo tires, 245/35/19 front, 275/25/20 rear