Custom Barracuda (1968)
 


  Based on the 1967 Plymouth Barracuda two-door fastback coupe, the Custom Barracuda was
made at both US and HK Mattel assembly plants.



As one of the “Muscle Cars” in the 1968 Hotwheels lineup, the Custom Barracuda was
manufactured for approximately two years, and has since become very popular with collectors.
The spectraflame paint came in a range of beautiful colors, some of which are very elusive and
hard to find. The Custom Barracuda was not issued with a black roof, and to date none have
been found.  However, that is not to say that they don’t exist - the factories have been known
to make an occasional error!


Three different purple 'Cudas: US-HK hybrid (L), HK (C) and US (R).

All US-made Barracudas have a clear windshield. The detailed interior includes a steering wheel
which is molded as part of the dashboard. The front and rear seats appear to be a complete separate
molding. To date, the interior has been found in three colors that include white, grey bone, and dark
charcoal. The US body castings include short “power bulges” (vent scoops) on the hood, and a thin
cowl area between the hood and windshield. The US base has limited detail, short side pipes, and
both rivets are flat with a slight concave in the center.


Above: a US Barracuda base.

All HK made Barracudas have a blue tinted windshield. The interior is one complete molding,
and is less detailed with a flat panel instead of a dashboard, with a separate larger black steering
wheel. To date, the interiors have been found in five colors that include white, brown, dark grey,
silver, and purple! The HK body castings include longer “power bulges” on the hood, and a
thicker cowl area between the hood and windshield. The HK base has much more detail, long
side pipes, and the front rivet is convex with a small dimple in the center, while the rear rivet
is larger and flatter.




Above: a HK Barracuda base.

All cars found to date have the pressed-on type wheels on a white delrin bearing, with the rear
wheels being slightly larger than the front wheels. Many early HK cars have been found with
deep-dish wheels on the front and some on the larger rear wheels, as well. A few early US cars
have also been found with front deep-dish wheels. It is common belief that the two factories
occasionally interchanged casting parts when needed.


Check out the deep dish wheels on the front of this HK 'Cuda!

A very collectible variation, "hybrid" 'Cudas have a US body, windshield and interior, but
 a HK base. A few hybrids have been found with HK blue-tinted windshields. Hybrids are presumed
to be due to tooling problems and/or material shortages which resulted in the need to have HK bases
shipped to the US plant for assembly, probably on the later-run castings.  Hybrid castings have been
found in a variety of colors that include gold, antifreeze, green, aqua, blue, purple and rose. A very
rare orange Barracuda casting has been found with only a US hood on a HK body, interior,
windshield and base!


A pair of rose hybrid Barracudas with clear US glass.


An orange hybrid Barracuda with blue HK glass in the blister!

To the amazement of some longtime collectors, a white enamel prototype US Barracuda has recently
surfaced from a retired former Mattel employee’s collection, in the Southern California area. These
are presumed to be test pieces during early pre-production stages. Prices for one-of-a-kind castings like
this can be stratospheric.


Woody Itson's white enamel Custom Barracuda (L) and an antifreeze prototype King Kuda (R).


Color chart

US COLORS:
COMMENTS:
purple common
blue common
green common
aqua common
red hard to find
gold hard to find
copper/brown hard to find
light blue
hard to find
antifreeze hard to find
creamy pink
hard to find
rose
very rare
olive very rare
orange
very rare (if it exists)
HK COLORS: COMMENTS:
aqua
common
purple common
copper common
green common
blue common
red hard to find
light blue
hard to find
creamy pink
hard to find
orange rare
olive very rare
gold
very rare (if it exists)
antifreeze
very rare (if it exists)
HYBRID COLORS:
COMMENTS:
antifreeze
hard to find
purple
hard to find
rose
hard to find
gold
rare
aqua
rare
blue
rare
green
very rare
orange
very rare



Ken McLaren's awesome Custom Barracuda collection!


A pair of rare orange HK Custom Barracudas!


A light gold US Custom Barracuda!


Ralph Antone's very rare olive US Custom Barracuda!


An antifreeze US 'Cuda with overspray on the engine.


A creamy pink US Custom Barracuda.



Photo & info credits: Ken McLaren




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