As a youngster growing up in Roxborough, Pennsylvania, in the '50s, Barry Latta Sr. spent plenty of time with his head under the hood of a car turning wrenches with his brothers as they readied their hopped-up coupes for action at the local dragstrips. Barry began to form a bond with Buicks by the time he was in his teens and rarely wavered from his brand loyalty as the years passed. He spent plenty of long nights waiting in the staging lanes at tracks in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, as well as ones in Vineland and Atco, New Jersey, while piloting either Buick-bodied race cars or Chevys with massive multi-carbed Nailheads underhood. The formula for the track worked well for him.
As the years passed he wavered a bit, wrenching on Mopars (including his ISCA-winning '65 Plymouth Sport Fury) in Homer, New York (where he now resides), but never lost his fascination with Buicks. Well over a decade ago, his boyhood captivation with the styling cues of the '54 Buick Special resurfaced and led him on a quest to locate a suitable car to start a custom project. Having studied the model for decades, Barry knew just how he would approach the build by infusing plenty of dramatic style into the car. His search led him to an ad in Hemmings, where he located a mint unmolested model in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which would be the perfect candidate to cut up. Once the car was home, he wasted no time in tearing it down to start building his street cruiser.
Beginning with the stock chassis, he mapped out the revisions he wanted and hauled the spine to Fatman Fabrications in Charlotte, North Carolina. There the team installed a new front frame stub along with their cutting edge Mustang II IFS incorporating 2-inch dropped spindles, polished stainless upper and lower control arms, RideTech ShockWave airbags and power rack-and-pinion steering. Out back, the team followed with a RideTech triangulated four-bar system complemented by RideTech ShockWaves to keep the ride height low and mean. For plenty of braking power a Southern Rods & Parts chrome-plated billet aluminum master cylinder pushes fluid through Wilwood Engineering six-piston calipers with 13-inch SRP cross-drilled performance rotors, which do the trick up front while rearward Wilwood four-piston calipers and 12-inch rotors seal the deal. To give the chassis its final bit of sparkle and stance, a set of Genuine Boyd's Spectrum 19- and 22-inch wheels fore and aft do the trick wrapped in O-ring Dunlop SP Sport 9000 skins.