Date published: July 2, 2010
The purple and white A/SA '70 Challenger that David Barton drove at the NHRA SuperNationals in Englishtown is the same car that he drove in 2005 and 2006, though you wouldn't know it by looking.
"It used to be silver," said Barton, the son of Hemi guru Ray Barton. "You wouldn't even know it's the same car. The first time I saw it, I almost fell over."
Owner Al Carpiniello and Barton raced the car in Stock for two years before Carpiniello decided to have it restored. The restoration was done by Kohr's Kustoms in Myerstown, Pa., which specializes in Mopar muscle car restorations and modifications, and took two years to complete.
"It's the first Stocker that I ever raced," said Barton. "We started racing it five years ago in A/SA and ran it for two years, then [Carpiniello] built another car that would be more competitive, so he parked this one and had it restored back to how it was originally with purple paint, white vinyl top, and white interior. He just wanted to make it look factory, like a stock street car. We brought it out a couple of times last year and for this one race this year. I also drove [Carpiniello's] Coronet in Super Stock in Englishtown, and, believe it or not, I went more rounds in this car than that one. I thought it would be the other way around. I ended up making it down to six cars, which is pretty cool."
Though Barton fared better in Stock in Englishtown, he is best known for his exploits in Super Stock. A five-time winner in NHRA divisional competition and former class winner and NHRA national record holder in SS/AA, SS/BA, and AA/SA, he won the inaugural NHRA Mopar Hemi Challenge in Indianapolis in 2000 and was runner-up at the most recent Challenge event, at the Holley NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion in Bowling Green, Ky. He also runnerupped in Brainerd in 2005, his only NHRA national event final.
"I've never won any races with this car, but I've come close a few times," said Barton. "Our main goal was to set the NHRA national record, but one of our competitors with the same combination went out and ran too fast too many times, so NHRA ended up putting 200-plus pounds on us, and that really slowed us down."
The car is powered by a Barton-built 426-cid Hemi with two Carter AFB carburetors and features a Protrans Performance Automatics transmission, Strange rear end, CalTracs suspension, Aeromotive fuel system, MSD ignition, and DataPak data logger.
"We're going to put a four-speed [manual transmission] in it," said Barton. "If we put a four-speed in it, we can take the 200-plus pounds out of it and go back to the original weight, and it'll be a competitive car again. I have no experience with a four-speed, so I want to put one in this car and get a feel for it, then convert all of our other cars to four-speeds. The way the car is now with the automatic, it doesn't stand a chance against the top guys."