Dream Fish: Rick Hardee

Dream Fish: Rick Hardee’s Street-Driven, 8-Second 1971 Barracuda

The first wave of Pro Street-style cars influenced countless people and helped drive a new movement of builds that continues to this day. Rick Hardee was one of those individuals that just fell in love with the Pro Street look, especially when it came in the form of a 1971 Plymouth Barracuda. The ‘Cuda that Hardee has built is more than just a car show queen, it has completed multiple drag-and-drive events.

Hardee first started modifying cars when he was just a kid, thanks to his Hot Wheels collection. He would spend hours painting and changing the cars. When Hardee got older, he loved to drive fast and enjoyed the adrenaline rush that came with it. Hardee eventually found his way to the track, thanks to the Gebhalt family, who he still races with to this day.

The Mopar brand has always been Hardee’s favorite and he’s owned a ton of them. Hardee idolized the look of the 1971 model ‘Cuda and dreamed of owning one. The ‘Cuda that Hardee now owns had been converted to a race car when he purchased it. A race car wasn’t exactly what he wanted, but he saw potential in the car. Hardee got to work molding the car into something that fit his needs: a badass car he could drive on the streets. The ‘Cuda has now completed several drag-and-drive events with Rick behind the wheel, and his wife Sharma riding shotgun.

Hardee built the 572 cubic-inch Mopar mill himself using a Keith Black Mopar block as a foundation. Inside the engine, you’ll find a Callies crankshaft, Callies connecting rods, and pistons from Ross. Brodix B1-MC cylinder heads were outfitted with hardware from Jesel, and matched to a Bullet Racing Cams camshaft, along with a Brodix intake to generate the maximum amount of horsepower possible. The intake is topped off with a 1050 Dominator from Thumper Carbs that mixes fuel that’s pumped into it via a Magnafuel fuel pump. Hardee used ignition products from MSD and Firecore to kick off the combustion process.

One on One Transmissions built the Powerglide that works with the Hughes Performance torque converter behind the big block Mopar engine. Horsepower is transferred to the street and track thanks to a Dana 60 rearend and Viking shocks through the ladder bar suspension. The Cuda has run a best of 8.60 at 149 MPH.

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Hardee really puts some serious miles on his ‘Cuda, both on and off the track. The Cuda has run 6.0 index events in the past, competes in The Black List heads-up series, and participates in numerous drag-and-drive events, too. Hardee plans on elevating the performance of the ‘Cuda with a big roots supercharger, switching the engine to run on alcohol, and moving to a five-speed Lenco transmission.

Rick Hardee’s ride is probably one of the coolest cars you’ll see at a drag-and-drive event — this Mopar has perfected the Pro Street look, and its 900-horsepower punch only adds to the ‘cool’ factor.

About the author

Brian Wagner

Spending his childhood at different race tracks around Ohio with his family’s 1967 Nova, Brian developed a true love for drag racing. When Brian is not writing, you can find him at the track as a crew chief, doing freelance photography, or beating on his nitrous-fed 2000 Trans Am.
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