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November 3, 2012

1968 Barracuda a keeper

NORMAN — Albert Steele is the original owner of a 1968 Plymouth Barracuda Formula S automobile. Not even 21 yet he was already a U.S. Air Force veteran and needed a new ride for his job with Rainbow Baking Company in Oklahoma City.

Also he was traveling to Dalhart, Texas every other weekend to visit his folks who’d moved there to operate the town’s motion picture theater.

“I found my Barracuda at Gil Cables dealership on North May parked in an odd place with a bunch of Chrysler New Yorkers around it,” Steele said. He traded in a 1966 Dodge Charger and drove away in his new Plymouth. Steele gives the car credit for contributing to his successful love life.

“I wouldn’t have gone out on a blind date with a young woman named Virginia if I hadn’t got that Barracuda,” he said. Not long thereafter he proposed to her in front of a closed flower shop.

Virginia became Mrs. Steele in 1969 and remains so today. The car has been on and off transportation for them since that first date. It has over 390,000 miles on the odometer. Not a show car in its present condition, the Barracuda starts easily, runs well and the engine sounds full of powerful vigor.

There’s a 2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8 in Steele’s driveway but the venerable Barracuda has a special place behind their home. The family currently own 15 vehicles housed at three properties around the metro. Most are in running condition. The oldest is a 1950 model but those from the late 1960’s with names like Satellite, Dart and Road Runner predominate.

One eye-catcher in this stable of rolling stock is a shocking pink 1969 Dodge Dart Swinger. “The official paint color is called Moulin Rouge,” Steele said.

He has lost count of how many cars they’ve had over the years.

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