Hold on to your hats friends, it’s SEMA Super Star number 2 and this is one bad to the bone Barracuda. This ride came to SEMA from smack dab in the middle of this great land of ours, Dewey, OK. Apparently Dewey is quite the fertile ground for hot rod builders and custom shops, at the heart of this builders paradise is Jesse’s Auto Body. With this ride under their belts and with owner/builder Jesse Matlock III at the helm this Barracuda has sure struck a chord and has skyrocketed this shop and it’s owner into a coveted spot of prominence.
This ‘Cuda was built over a 5 year period. It was Jesse’s “project between a project”. From the very beginning he knew there was something different about this build and if he could not give 110% to the project he would let it sit until he could give it his full attention. He knew this was going to be his biggest, baddest and most expensive build and he wanted to give it his all. Well let me tell you friends, giving it his all and then some sure paid off.
This beauty debuted at the SEMA show and was an instant sensation. Jesse talked about how for 4 years he had made the trek to SEMA with rendering in hand to gather sponsorship for the build. While at the previous SEMA shows he would take time from the ‘Cuda project to take advantage of the numerous celebrity meet and greets. He would wait in the neverending lines to meet his idols of the hot rodding world. Well this year to Jesse’s astonishment those same idols; Dave Kindig, the Ring brothers, Chip Foose, Richard Rawlings and many more sought him out. His idols personally came to check out his ride and meet him! How’s that for a hot rodders dream come true. Not only did he have his blood, sweat and tears prominently on display at the SEMA show but was incredibly well received. So much so that “Striker” received 3 SEMA top 10 awards and participated in the SEMA Battle of the Builders. Do you want to talk publicity? You will be seeing this beauty on the pages of no less than 6 print magazines in the months to come and needless to say it’s all over the internet. Not to worry that this will be your only exposure to this incredible ride, you still have plenty of opportunity to check out it out in person. Jesse and “Striker” will be traveling with the World of Wheels/ISCA circuit. As well as a planned appearance at Muscle Cars on the Strip where it has been rumored that this stunner just might be a contender for the “Ultimate Mopar Award” Not too shabby for a self admitted “Mopar Man!”
Incredibly humble and down to earth Jesse is still pinching himself just to make sure this all isn’t a dream. He was extremely generous with any and all details about his ride but wanted to make sure everyone who had a hand in building this dream machine was mentioned. Special shout outs to Aaron Lawrence of Fast Al’s Upholstery. John Fielder from Bartlesville Customs, who worked electric magic on this ride. Polisher extraordinaire (who by the by is still polishing this baby for the next round of shows) Kevin Marshall. And a huge special thanks to Jesse’s fiancée for her love and endless support through this entire process Getting a sandwich at the shop at 2am is pretty awesome! If anyone isn’t mentioned here blame yours truly, not Jesse. I was taking mad and crazy notes and sure hope I didn’t miss anyone!
It must be mentioned that it is darn near a miracle that this ride even made it to SEMA. Jesse had an incredibly rocky road to SEMA, to say the least. He started hardcore work in February of this year with not many people believing he could do the impossible in the nine months he had ahead of him. But the ever resourceful Jesse figured out how to make time – he just worked through the night. A guy can get a lot done when he sleeps every third night! A little more perspective; 30 days prior to the SEMA show there wasn’t a single stitch of interior in this car. How’s that for just a tad of work in a completely unrealistic time frame. Despite that and much more Jesse was able to deliver his outstanding ride to Vegas and made the unveiling at the VDO both on time.
The specs on this ride are as impressive as the backstory. Let’s get to the nitty gritty on this bad Barracuda. Keep in mind that Jesse is responsible for a mere 85 to 90 percent of the work himself. Every part of this ‘Cuda is modified. Here just a few examples; shaved drip rails, door handles, locks and side mirrors. Tucked, smoothed front and rear bumpers welded to the body. The rockers were extended 2″ to connect smoothly with the frame rails. Custom designed front splitter and air dam. The power actuated hood lifts up and back to sit level with the top of the car. Flush mounted front and rear windshields with a scant 1/16″ between the glass and the body. It is safe to say, every inch of this Barracuda has been customized. A supercharged 6.1 SRT powers this bad boy with a Nag 1 tranny. Art Morrison chassis and suspension provide the foundation for this street beast and a Ride Tech Air Ride System and Shockwaves both front and rear smooth out the ride. “Striker” rolls on Foose Nitrous II wheels with Brembo brakes, letting this ‘Cuda hard charge the corners effortlessly.
To put it mildly this ‘Cuda’s” got it going on! Enough from little old me let’s let this ride do the talking. Take a gander friends, this isn’t the last you’ve seen of this Bad Barracuda.
Our second episode of Builders Showroom TV is live and rolling and has already been a big hit on FaceBook. If you haven’t checked it out already, here it is for your viewing pleasure. Builders Showroom TV Mopar Style!
It makes this gal happy to report that the forever humble and down to earth Jesse says he is “living the dream” and I for one hope he continues to do so. Another build in a few years wouldn’t be too bad either. I’d like to personally thank Jesse for the time he took out of his insane schedule to chat with me. It was a pleasure and you sure are one talented and kind hearted fellow.
Up next a Holiday favorite and more Super Stars from SEMA!
Till the next time – Keep on Kruzin!