Mopars are the love of many enthusiasts from every direction, Challengers and Cudas along Chargers made it’s fame along muscle cars history even across oceans, this time across the pacific where an Australian Tuner named Graeme Cowin built an awesome one with right hand drive configuration.
Behind the scenes, Graeme Cowin is one of the Leaders of the car community; an extremely influential figure in the sports of drag racing and sprint karts. So, it’s no surprise his King Kong Cuda is a big deal… a very big deal.
Graeme Cowin is the owner and founder of Rocket Industries, the parts warehouse that distributes some of the biggest brands in the aftermarket automotive sector — over 250 world-renowned brands in total — and whose name is synonymous with high performance.
The Plymouth Barracuda, in all its glory, serves as Rocket Industries’ promotional vehicle, paraded at events around the nation.
While watching an episode of the American TV series Rides, where they built a 1970 Barracuda for Joe Rogan (commentator for the Ultimate Fighting Championship) Graeme and his wife Wendy both fell in love with it and were inspired to build a similar car for themselves.
The original plan was to build a ‘street-able’ Hemi-powered version but as the build unfolded, the car required some serious surgery to achieve the desired finish. So, what was supposed to take a year to complete blew out to five years and six times the budget.
Graeme learned that car builders in Australia needed greater access to accessories for these types of builds. As such, Rocket Industries tailored its business to enable Aussies access to all the latest performance parts from around the world.
When it came to building the Cuda, owning Rocket Industries was somewhat of a double-edged sword for Graeme
There were plenty of people that offered Graeme and his crew support throughout the Cuda build but the greatest encouragement came from his wife Wendy.
The Cuda has won a string of awards. In 2010, readers of Street Machine magazine voted it ‘Street Machine of the Year’. It was also a massive hit on debut at Summernats 2011, winning ‘People’s Choice’ and ‘Top Judged’.
The Cuda’s ‘King Kong’ theme harks back to drag racing of yesteryear when the 426 Hemi engine was known as an ‘elephant motor’. When you got bored and stroked one out, though, it was then referred to as a ‘King Kong Hemi’. Despite the chest-thumping engine, the Barracuda has never been on a race track: “It would never get grip, so what’s the use?” Graeme muses. “We have serious race cars for that.”
1970 Plymouth Barracuda
528 Indy Hemi
727 B&M transmission; Strange 9-inch diff
Custom independent front suspension; four-bar rear; Air Ride Technologies ShockWave airbags
Baer six-spot callipers and rotors
Billet Specialties Stiletto wheels (18×7-inch front and 20×10-inch rear); Pirelli P Zero tyres
PAINT & BODY
House of Kolor Metallic Silver and Charcoal; billet ‘King Kong Cuda’ badges
Leather and suede re-trim; Mercedes Roadster front seats; custom-made rear seats; metal interior panels; custom billet dash panel; Auto Meter C2 gauges; B&M shifter; Pioneer sound system with DVD and reverse camera; Vintage Air air con system