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Q&A with Kit Foster: June 11, 2015


Q. I was contacted by a person who had bought a 1966 Barracuda from California. The VIN BP29D65157724 decodes as follows: Plymouth Barracuda; Premium price class; 2-door sports hardtop; 273-cid V8 2-barrel (LA motor); 1966; Los Angeles assembly plant; sequence number 157724.

The back is a 1966 Barracuda, of course, but the front is a 1965 Dart. Could they have built a combination like this in L.A.? Naturally, you start thinking of those strange Canadian products. I have a Canadian export brochure on 1966 Barracuda and a Canadian 1966 Plymouth/Chrysler brochure which both show Barracudas similar to the U.S. cars. Any idea?

— Timo Laitinen, Kerava, Finland

A. I suspect it’s a 1966 Barracuda that has received a nose transplant from a ’65 Dart. I believe this is a bolt-on operation, as the basic Barracuda/Valiant and Dart bodies were the same. Dart sedans had a 5-inch-longer wheelbase, but Dart wagons shared the ’Cuda/Valiant 106-inch platform. Do any readers have alternative suggestions?

Q. My 1957 Lincoln Owners Manual “Lights” section lists the following states that allowed only one pair of headlights: “The following states allow only one pair of driving lights: Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Montana, NM, ND, SC, Utah, Virginia, Washington, WV and Wyoming” (your question about the legality of quad headlights in the Apr. 16Q&A).

My ’57 Lincoln has what appears to be two pairs of “stacked” vertical headlights. However, only the upper light is a true headlight with high and low beams. The lower light is a 5-inch driving light. There is a switch on the steering column that activates it. When a driver pulls on the headlight switch, just the parking lights come on. Activating the steering column switch lights up the parking lights and the 5-inch bulb. Pulling the headlight switch all the way lights up the low-beam/high-beam bulbs. There is no way one can activate all four vertical light bulbs at the same time. I have converted the 5-inch bulbs in my ’57 to fog light bulbs, which you can see in this photo.

— Ron Miklos, Plum Boro, Pa.


A. Thank you very much. I’ve been searching for many years for the names of the “14 states” that prohibited quad headlights in 1957. I even made inquiries to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, without success. Of course NHTSA didn’t exist in 1957, so there’s no reason for them to have those records. It’s interesting to see there were actually 15 “no-quad” states. Thanks also for an explanation of how Lincoln’s “cheater” system worked, and for preserving this small slice of automotive history. Contrasting the photo of your 1957 Lincoln is a ’57 Nash (bottom), which offered only quad headlights. I wonder how many were sold in the no-quad states.

To submit questions to this column: E-mail or mail to: Q&A, c/o Angelo Van Bogart, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990-0001.

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