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What is the Custom Barracuda to Hot Wheels collectors?

Jon Warren
The Custom Barracuda is a Hot Wheels casting designed by Harry Bradley. It made its debut in 1968 as part of the first sixteen Hot Wheels ever, often referred to as the 'Sweet Sixteen'. The casting is based on the real-life 1967 Plymouth Barracuda.

Here are some key details about the Custom Barracuda:

  • Manufacturing and Differences:
    • It was manufactured in 1968 and 1969 at both the USA and Hong Kong factories.
    • USA-built cars have clear glass, while Hong Kong (HK) cars have blue-tinted glass.
    • USA Barracudas feature a detailed interior with a dashboard and a molded-in steering wheel. In contrast, HK cars have a flat piece of plastic representing the dashboard and a separate black steering wheel.
    • USA cars could be found with a white or dark brown interior, while Hong Kong cars had various interior colors, including white, brownish/gray, dark brown, silver, and purple. Purple interiors were rare and usually found in matching purple exterior cars, but they occasionally appeared in Copper and Aqua cars.
  • Design Features:
    • The Custom Barracuda has an opening hood that reveals a detailed engine.
    • USA cars have shorter 'power bulges' (hood scoops) and a thinner cowl compared to their Hong Kong counterparts.
    • Some early HK-manufactured cars had deeper power bulges, particularly on Aqua and Purple cars.
    • Hong Kong cars have a detailed base with four square holes to view the Bent Axle Suspension, which are absent from USA-built vehicles.
    • There are also minor base variations involving the size and addition of ™ and © symbols.
  • Hybrids and Rarity:
    • Some Custom Barracudas are 'Hybrids', using a mix of parts from both USA and Hong Kong. These are harder to find than standard cars.
    • The oddity of hybrids likely resulted from material shortages or problems, necessitating parts to be shipped between factories.
  • Color and Wheels:
    • The Custom Barracuda was painted in a variety of Spectraflame colors, some of which are very rare.
    • Unlike most early 'Redline Era' cars, the Custom Barracuda was never manufactured with a black roof.
    • All Custom Barracudas came with delrin 'Bearing' Redline wheels, and some early Hong Kong-produced vehicles had 'Deep Dish' wheels on the front.
    • Each Custom Barracuda was packaged with a metal Collector's Button.
  • Modifications and Rebranding:
    • In 1970, the Custom Barracuda underwent significant modifications and was renamed King Kuda. It was released in the Spoilers series.
    • The King Kuda featured an exposed blown engine, replacing the one under the opening hood, and prominent front and rear spoilers.
    • In 2011, the Custom Barracuda was re-tooled for the HotWheelsCollectors.com RLC Membership, based on the original USA casting.

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