Mike Lorenz, Need City, MI
“At first, people got mad, thinking I chopped up a perfectly good Barracuda.” But Mike Lorenz, aka “’Cuda Mike,” swears he was buying his second ’Cuda when he noticed the Barracuda’s disembodied tail end and thought he could do something pretty cool with it. And boy, did he ever.
Mike’s passion for ‘Cudas began at an early age. His older cousin had a ’64 ½ 273 Barracuda. The two would cruise up and down Woodward Avenue in Detroit, MI, music blaring. “It was a lot of fun…just good, clean fun,” he reminisces.
By 16, he’d saved up enough money for a nice used car of his own. When Mike’s dad, a Chrysler sheet metal shop manager, took him to the plant to see what they could find, it was a 3-year-old 1970 Vitamin C Orange ‘Cuda that stole his heart.
“It was the only car that looked like it was doing 90 even when it was sitting still,” Lorenz recalls.
Since then, Mike has bought, restored and sold upwards of 20 ‘Cudas. He even started a band called Mike and the ‘Cudas (what else?). “Old cars and music – they just go hand in hand,” he says, smiling.
In 2001, looking for a way to transport his drum set to gigs, Lorenz repurposed the back half of a ‘71 Barracuda into a custom trailer that’s still turning heads and winning awards. Over 18 months, he removed the trunk and gas tank, creating the space he needed. Then he designed a roller mechanism to slide apart, for more legroom and even a sound system.
Now when his band gets together, his drums ride in style, behind his ’71 Cuda. “You can go down the road 70-80mph and it’s still real smooth… cuz I balanced it out right.”
‘Cuda Mike still has plenty of ideas to add to his one-of-a-kind Barracuda. “I’m still gonna have more fun before I get old.” He’s thinking of attaching a fog machine to the tailpipe he left intact. “You gotta keep doing things you like, or life gets stale.”