The team at Snik's gave the Buick plenty of newfound personality by adding a pair of '55 O
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.
There's plenty of sex appeal out back with the addition of '60 Chrysler taillights.
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.
The Buick 425ci Nailhead sports plenty of attention to detail and vibrant plating. Topped
Snik's Rod & Custom fabbed up a new dash housing Dakota Digital gauges to monitor the cars
The trunk is finished in the same material and color as the interior; a far cry from the r
While attending an ISCA event a few years back, a car built by Snik's Rod & Custom of Manley, Iowa, caught his eye. He wasted no time in contacting shop owner Scott Schneckloth to discuss his ideas for many of the revisions to the coupe. A deal was struck and once the chassis was slid back under the Buick, Barry transported the car to Snik's for their particular style of magic to begin. At the same time, Barry also got busy on building the engine for the car. Nothing else would fit the bill better than the crown jewel of the Nailhead series, the coveted '64 425ci V-8. Having gathered parts to build the engine for some time, Barry had TA Performance of Scottsdale, Arizona, take care of all the machining while he readied everything for assembly. With decades of Nailhead building experience under his belt, Barry filled the stout block with freshened factory goods, including the crank, rods, and pistons, topped off with a set of factory heads. For plenty of deep breathing, an Edelbrock dual-quad intake capped with a pair of 500-cfm Edelbrock Thunder AVS Series carbs wearing a Mooneyes-finned aluminum air cleaner seals the deal. A '65 TH400 trans warmed over by Phoenix Transmission Products of Weatherford, Texas, spins power through a custom driveshaft to a Currie 9-inch rear to plant the power. While the car was at Snik's, Barry worked with automotive illustrator Rodney Hutcherson of Total Kaos Designs in Pasadena, Texas, to smooth out the big Buick sled, converting it to a classic contemporary cruiser and bringing Barry's vision to life.
The team at Snik's began the amazing transformation of the Buick by first lowering the lid 3-1/2 inches. To maintain the correct flow of the roofline, the A-pillars were reshaped to vertical in appearance to enhance the rake of the roof. From there the cowl vent was filled, the rear quarters were heavily massaged by removing the top hump from the panels, then sectioning them to create a better panel line flow. The team continued by artfully sculpting '60 Chrysler taillights. Moving to the front of the car, they masterfully morphed a pair of '55 Oldsmobile headlights in place complemented by '03 Buick ultra portholes, shaved the body of any unwanted barbs, smoothed out the engine bay, and had Dick's Louver Shop of Webster, New York, vent the hood.
Once everything was straight as glass, Scott loaded his paint gun with just enough custom-blended PPG Deltron gloss and laid out a decadent coating of deep green and taupe. To create an interior worthy of matching the exterior, Snik's first fabbed up a custom dash and then the car was delivered to Paul Atkins Interiors of Hanceville, Alabama, for a facelift including a custom console and panels, as well as covering the late-model Lexus seats with yards of sumptuous beige leather complemented by wool square weave carpet. To monitor all the vitals, Dakota Digital gauges were installed along with plenty of harmony from a Kenwood sound system and cool breeze from Vintage Air. To complete the deal and bring the car to fruition, Barry's wife, Marilyn, family, and friends in the Central New York Mopar Association worked tirelessly for the final few months wrapping up the wiring and engine bay details. This is one big Buick with a captivating presence proving that Barry's dream of sculpting a noteworthy street cruiser was accomplished.