Mopar Marvel

Gus Mantas impresses with SS/AH Hemi Barracuda in 2010

A highlight of the 2010 racing season was the emergence of a very significant new machine to the Canadian Super Stock class racing scene. Toronto's Gus Mantas unveiled a spectacular new and all-Canadian-built SS/AH '68 Hemi Barracuda this past season.

For Mantas, who owns and operates a very successful auto repair shop in downtown Toronto (Vortech Auto), the 2010 racing season was a coming of age one. The racer / businessman managed to fulfill a lifelong dream when, during July, he finally hit the track with his awesome new Plymouth Barracuda creation. That marked the end of a project that first began in 2003.

"I had been watching all the hype around the 'Super A' class for a while and I really wanted to be part of it," explained Mantas, a longtime Mopar brand proponent. "I acquired this car [an original Hemi Barracuda] and then spent a few years collecting parts for it.

"Eventually, I hooked up with Andre Mallioux (of Mallioux Chassis in Belle River, ON). I wanted to build a car in Canada and I saw the fine quality of Andre's work. We looked at a few cars and fabricators and developed our own ideas. This car is the end result of all that."

Using a rather mild 426 Hemi engine pro gram, Mantas has already coaxed a best run of 8.78 sees, at 151 + mph. While that may not yet be quite up to higher-end NHRA Mopar Hemi Challenge standards, it does show that the car has strong potential for the future.

Mantas did cite the ongoing influence of Canada's Don Cloake as part of his Hemi Barracuda racing program. Cloake is a well-known and longtime racer who currently campaigns his own SS/AH Barracuda; the former record-holding Miller & MacCallum car.

"Don Cloake is a Canadian legend - he truly is!" Gus reiterated. "Not only do we have a friendly competition now going, I have learned an awful lot from him."

Mantas, whose focus has been racing within the Eastern Canadian Super Stock circuits, hopes to expand his horizons to include some possible NHRA Mopar Hemi Challenge events.

Editor's Note: Racing fans will have a great off-season opportunity to view the Mantas car up close and personal.

This machine will be part of a multi-car drag racing display presented by and Inside Track Motorsport News during the Canadian Motorsports Expo, Jan. 21-23, 2011 at Toronto's International Center. •

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