Give me a Brake!
When Chrysler engineers originally designed the rear end assemblies for mid-60’s A-bodies they had no idea that in the twenty-first century a typical hot rodder might be getting upwards of five hundred horsepower to the ground. Such is the case with the Moparmax Project car Barracuda. We knew the stock rear end assembly would have to be replaced or at least thouroughly “beefed” for the kind of abuse Zak Hawthorne would inevitably inflict upon it.
There are a number of extremely reliable companies in the automotive aftermarket who are building complete, sturdy third members for just about any horsepower range. But rather than going to another member of the Big-three auto makers for a rear-end there are shops in just about every city where a performance-minded hot rodder can get a Mopar
For Project Fighting Fish, Zak Hawthorne had an 8 ¾ that had been sitting in the rear yard for the past five or six years. It had been a junkyard find that was removed from a full size ‘68 Dodge station wagon so it was still covered with plenty of road grime, grease and dust accumulated from years of just sitting around.
Even before the decision to add power to his 360 cubic-inch engine, Zak had taken the old big bolt pattern 8 ¾ down to Ed Sutton at Sutton Engineering to get it set-up for his ’65 Cuda. Sutton has an old-school shop in the Los Angeles suburb of City of Industry where he specializes in Mopar rear ends, but will build-up just about anything you could need. Sutton is also a distributor for a number of brands and will fit the best combination together for your specific needs. What follows is a brief pictorial history of the swap.