Like the Nationwise Rod Shop Super Stock 1971 Dodge Challenger that sold at Barrett-Jackson back in January, another very rare piece of Mopar drag racing history is coming up for auction. Offered at the upcoming Indianapolis Mecum auction taking place from May 17-21, you have a once in a life time opportunity to purchase the original 1971 Pro Stock Hemi Barracuda that the legendary Sox & Martin team raced that season.
Beginning with an acid-dipped shell straight from Chrysler , the vehicle had been very carefully created to allow mild forward movement of the wheelbase to create the exact NHRA legal balance of 48-percent front/52-percent rear weight distribution. It utilized 1971 Road Runner rear wheelhouses for tire clearance and the thin shell was hard-foam-filled to prevent flexing at higher speeds.
For structural reasons, the now-mandated full-roll cage was another big advancement and help made the car consistently fast and able to withstand the abuse of the car’s 4-speed-pounded Hemi power. Coupled with Jake King’s precise engine construction and Ronnie Sox’s lightning-fast shifting skill, the final package was literally unbeatable in NHRA Pro Stock; failing just once mechanically and being outdriven just once at the 1971 NHRA World Finals.
Of the eight final rounds of NHRA Pro Stock in the 1971 season, Ronnie Sox was in six of them and won all appearances, meaning he lost just two rounds of racing the entire season! Victories at Pomona, Gainesville, Dallas, Montreal, Indianapolis and Ontario signaled true dominance. He also won five IHRA crowns as well as two open events with the Barracuda in 1971.
The real thing is the real thing, and all the right people verified this 1971 Pro Stock Hemi Barracuda. Driver Ronnie Sox (who has since passed), team manager Buddy Martin and fabricator Dave Christie all personally inspected the as-found car and agreed that it was indeed their legendary ’71 Barracuda. As its original constructor along with the late Jake King, Mr. Christie was instrumental in making sure the details were correct during its refreshing, and even assisted in applying the proper lettering before its first public showing.
The car was located while still being actively raced as a sportsman car in 2003 and was first verified by Dave Christie as being a Sox & Martin-constructed car, and evidence based on secondary ownership pointed to it being the 1971 Barracuda that Ronnie drove himself. Before the restoration began, Dave signed a letter of agreement that verified that this car is the original 1971 Sox & Martin team car that was campaigned by Ronnie Sox in 1971.
The restoration process was done with great care to maintain as much of the acid-dipped body as possible due to the car’s later racing modifications. Still surprisingly intact, fiberglass from the original supplier was secured for the front clip and attention soon turned to making sure all the details were faithfully represented on the refurbishment.
For horsepower, a built 426 Hemi iron short-block received all the best circa-1971 parts; these included the authentic aluminum twin-plug Chrysler cylinder heads fired by paired magnetos, dual #6214 Holley Pro Stock-designated carbs with milled-down air horns, the Weiand high-RPM design intake manifold with quenched plenum area, and a Crane cam custom-ground to secret 1971 Sox & Martin specs among others. Behind this went a Chrysler aluminum-case New Process 4-speed; the design Ronnie Sox swore by in taking wins, and a bulletproof Dana 60 with 5.57 gears finish the driveline. Vintage Hurst Airheart brakes still stop the car and it rolls on it’s legendary Keystone Klassic wheels.