MoparMax covers all automotive things Mopar. A new issue of MoparMax.com is published on or around the 15th of each month and is updated throughout the month.
CEO, Jeff Burk
Editor & Publisher, Richard Kratz
Managing Editor, COO Kay Burk
Contributing Editor, Chuck Green, Chris Holley
Contributing Writers, Jim Baker, Steve Magnante, Geoff Stunkard, Matt Strong, Mark A. Posner
Senior Photographer - Ron Lewis
Contributing Photographers - Tim Marshall, Dennis Mothershed
Published by Racing Net Source LLC, 607 Seib Drive, O'Fallon, MO 63366 - Phone: 636.272.6301
Racing Net Source LLC is licensed to use MOPAR, a trademark of Chrysler Group LLC, in the title of the magazine MOPAR MAX. No other connection with Chrysler Group LLC is expressed or implied. The editorial opinions are those of the publisher and do not necessarily represent the views of Chrysler Group LLC.
DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
Director: Casey Araiza
Director: Dave Ferrato
Webmonkey: Axel G.
Production Monkey: Axel G.
Racing Net Source LLC
607 Seib Drive
O'Fallon, MO 63366
Editor & Publisher
CEO Jeff Burk
COO Kay Burk
DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
Director: Casey Araiza
Director: Dave Ferrato
Contact: Casey Araiza
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Victor Burns Jr’s 1970 Barracuda
Repo to Hi-Po
Victor Burns Jr. readily admits, he is an avid, life-long motorhead and Mopar maniac. He will also not deny, that he has an addiction for speed…the automotive type...Burns satisfies this addiction with his 1970, vitamin-c-orange, E-body, Plymouth Barracuda. Looking at this very potent bracket racer today, it’s hard to imagine that the car was once a daily driver.
Originally from Staten Island, New York, Burns had no exposure to the sport of drag racing growing up; his first experience with drag racing would come a bit later in life – we will get to that later on – instead, he was introduced to motorsports by his dad, Victor Sr. “When I was young, maybe eight or nine years old, my Dad would take me to Weissglass Stadium in Staten Island to watch the stock cars race.” Burns recalled. As it always has, time continued to march forward and Burns spent most of his formative years concentrating on his education and what life had in store for him. Of course, there were the thoughts about cars, and what made them function, and admittedly, there were thoughts about the girls and what made them function.
Over the years Burns has become a master automotive technician and undoubtedly, has been able to figure out exactly what makes an automobile function; as far as the girls are concerned, after 44 years of marriage with his bride Claire, we think Burns has that figured out as well. With this in mind, Burns gives his wife credit for getting him started drag racing… here’s how it happened. In 1973, Burns was stationed at the naval base in San Diego, California…a quick pause to say Thank You for your service Vic…at the time, Burns was searching for a vehicle that would fit the budget of this young, newly wed sailor and his bride.
After what must have been an exhaustive search for the young couple, Burns came across an ad in the local paper…it went something like this…major finance company (sorry, can’t mention any names.) SAVE! SAVE! SAVE! Repossessed 1970 Plymouth Barracuda, low miles, great condition, won’t last long, CALL TODAY! And that’s exactly what Burns did.
After making arrangements to inspect the car, Burns was very pleased with what he found. The car was in really good condition and required very little. After a bit of negotiation, Burns purchased the car outright for an even one-thousand dollars-out the door. “When I bought the car it looked pretty much like it does today,” Burns stated. “It was the same exact Chrysler K2-ceramic-orange with a black vinyl-top and chrome wheels.”
Burns and his new bride drove cross-country, back to Staten Island, when he was discharged from the Navy. “The car ran perfect; we had a great trip back home.” Burns smiled.
Now, back in Staten Island, Claire suggested that she and her new husband take a weekend and attend the NHRA Summer Nationals in Englishtown, New Jersey. The weekend at Englishtown is what hooked Burns on the sport of drag racing, “I really liked the idea of going as fast as you could go,” Burns affirmed. “I was hooked.”
A few short years later, the Burns relocated to the sunny confines of the West Central Gulf Coast of Florida; Burns says the move was related to employment opportunities, but one has to wonder if the ability to race all year long had anything to do with the decision to relocate?
Once Burns and his family settled in to their new digs, it didn’t take long before that desire to go racing caught up with Burns. “We moved to Florida in 1975,” Burns recalled. “In 1977, I sat down with Claire and told her I really wanted to get involved in the sport.” After brief consideration, Claire gave her blessing for her husband’s newest endeavor. The rest…as they say…is history.
The door locks still function with the original keys.
VOLUME XII, ISSUE 2 - MAY/JUNE, 2017
Taillight lenses are OEM but have been upgraded to LED.
The front grille is OEM as well as the chrome window trim.
Over the years Burns has completely rebuilt his pretty Orange “Cuda” three times, to its current configuration. The car has taken Burns to a track championship at Bradenton Motorsports Park in 1992, and a NHRA division-2 pro ET Championship in 1993, (Yes…he has the Wally to prove it.) We asked Burns if he had any plans to chase another championship and he simply replied, “Not at all, I still want to win, but, I think I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing now, racing when I can, and having fun doing it.”
Looking at the car today, the craftsmanship of the build is second to none. The car is a true testament to the skills and mechanical abilities that Burns possesses. It’s easy to see why Burns is considered a master of his trade, and why he is also well regarded in the industry. The attention to detail shown in his race car echoes through his everyday business, CJ Automotive… this full-service automotive repair center has amassed a reputation for its quality, integrity and outstanding customer service. This reputation is a direct result of the dedication of the owner to his trade, and the people that trust him with their vehicles. His reputation as a racer is a bit different, but is mostly the same.
Speaking with those that know him best, or compete with him on a regular basis, Burns is the first to jump in and help a fellow racer when there is a problem, but when the helmet goes on…well…that’s a different story. Long time friend and fellow competitor Corky Markwart related, “I’ve known Vic clear back to the ‘70s; he’s one of the finest individuals I know. He’s the first to lend a hand if you need one, but when you roll up to the starting line and Vic is in the other lane…you better be on your game, or you will become just another victim. Regardless of the result, when the race is over, Vic will always be there to shake your hand, and laugh with you about it. Just a great overall person, I’m happy to be able to call him a friend.”
Burns with his Pro ET championship Wally.
Burns gives credit to several people for helping him to reach this point in his racing career. “I want to acknowledge several people that have dedicated a good deal of their time helping me with my racing efforts over the years,” Burns stated. “First and foremost, my wife Claire, she has supported me from the beginning, Carl Addy, Corky Markwart, John Mella, the Kasten Brothers, Mark Mahowski and last but definitely not least, my crew chief since 1980, Neil Willatt. Without these friends and fellow motorheads I could not do it. I really appreciate the help.”
The trunk houses a whopping 3-gallon fuel cell, and the air pump for the Turbo-Action shifter.
The toggle switch under the trunk lid turns on the light molded into the composite deck lid for refueling during night races.
Like any racer, Burns doesn’t want to tell us all there is to know about his Barracuda, but here are a few details on Vic’s Barracuda: the car sits on a 2x3, Applied Racing Technology custom fabricated tube frame with coil-over A-Arm front suspension and a 4-link coil-over system in the rear. The car is powered by a steel block Chrysler 383cid, with standard Chrysler steel crank and connecting rods. Pistons are aluminum. Cylinder heads are steel Chrysler. A single frame holly intake sits on the top end with a 780cfm Holly carburetor. Ignition is MSD. Transmission is a Chrysler 727 automatic with Turbo Action air shifter. A Dana 60 rear axle with a 4.88 gear delivers the power to the Weld racing wheels wrapped in Goodyear rubber. The roof and rear quarter panels are original 1970 Barracuda sheet metal, the remainder of the body is composite. The paint is Chrysler code K2, vitamin-c-orange.
We at Mopar Max wish Burns continued success with this beautiful orange bracket racer, and for those folks that race around the West Central Gulf Coast of Florida, if you happen to come across this pretty little orange Barracuda, walk around and look at the factory original front grille, chances are you won’t see it again, but on the other hand, the taillights are original too, and you are sure to see them.
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