It’s not often that vintage muscle cars, especially highly desirable ones, are still owned by their first owners. Very few people are so satisfied with a car that they keep it the majority of their lives and most wouldn’t experience enough continuity to hold onto it even if they wanted to.
Jay Leno recently drove a 1970 Plymouth Barracuda for his web show Jay Leno’s Garage that is still owned by its original buyer, however a special set of circumstances likely allowed that to happen. The owner is Richard Carpenter of the brother sister musical duo The Carpenters, whose musical career probably afforded him the ability to not only keep his Plymouth around for 45 years, but to also keep it in near perfect order.
When Carpenter first bought the Plymouth in 1970, he had yet to hit it big with his band. He and his sister Karen were signed to a label but had yet to write a big hit, so his father had to co-sign when he signed the purchasing agreement. Carpenter’s lack of fame at the time was also why he didn’t get the famous ‘Hemi Cuda’. The engine cost about a third of the price of the car at the time – an expense he couldn’t justify.
Watch to Leno and Caprenter discuss and drive the near perfect Barracuda in the video above.