Plymouth Barracuda

Plymouth Barracuda

Infobox Automobile
boxcolor = darkgreen

name = Plymouth Barracuda
manufacturer = Plymouth
parent_company = Chrysler Corporation
production = 1964 – 1974
assembly = Hamtramck, Michigan
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
layout = FR layout
class = Muscle car
The Plymouth Barracuda is a car that was manufactured by the Plymouth division of the Chrysler Corporation from 1964 through 1974.

There are three distinct versions, or "generations" of Barracuda, all with two doors.

The first version, a fastback A-body coupe based on the Plymouth Valiant, had a distinctive wrap-around back glass and was available from 1964 to 1966.

The revised 1967-1969 second-generation Barracuda, though still Valiant-based, was heavily redesigned. Second-generation A-body cars were available in fastback, notchback, and convertible versions.

The 1970-1974 E-body Barracuda, no longer Valiant-based, was very different from the preceding models. The body style was available as a coupe and a convertible.


Infobox Automobile generation
name = First generation

production = 1964–1966
engine = Auto CID|170 "Slant-6"
Auto CID|225 Slant-6
Auto CID|273 "LA" V8
wheelbase = auto in|106
length = auto in|188.2
height = auto in|70.1
body_style = 2-door fastback coupe
platform = A-body
related = Plymouth Valiant

Automotive trends in the early-mid 1960s had all the US automakers looking at making sporty compact cars. Chrysler's A-body Plymouth Valiant was chosen for the company's efforts in this direction.cite book
last = Young
first = Tony
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Mighty Mopars 1960-1974
publisher = Motorbooks International
date = 1984
location =
pages = p. 25
url =
doi =
id =
isbn = 978-0879381240

Ford's Mustang, which significantly outsold the Barracuda, gave this type of vehicle its common "pony car" moniker, but the Barracuda fastback's release on 1 April 1964 beat the Mustang by two weeks cite web | url= | title=The Plymouth Barracuda: First Pony (Fish?) Car | journal= [ Allpar] | accessdate=2008-09-02] .

Plymouth's executives had wanted to name the car "Panda", an idea that was unpopular with the car's designers. In the end, John Samsen's suggestion of "Barracuda" was selected.

The Barracuda used the Valiant's 106 in wheelbase and the Valiant hood, headlamp bezels, windshield, vent windows, quarter panels and bumpers; all other sheet metal and glass was new. This hybrid design approach significantly reduced the development and tooling cost and time for the new model.

The fastback body shape was achieved primarily with a giant backlight, which wrapped down to the fenderline. Pittsburgh Plate Glass (PPG) collaborated with Chrysler designers to produce this 14.4 ft² (4.4 m²) rear window, the largest ever installed on a standard production car up to that time [ "Young", p. 33] .

The Barracuda was able to return the Valiant's favor the next year, when the fenders and taillamps that had been introduced on the 1964 Barracuda were used on the whole 1965 Valiant range except for the wagon.

Powertrains were identical to the Valiant's, including two versions of Chrysler's slant-6 engine. The standard-equipment engine had a piston displacement of Auto CID|170 and an output of Auto bhp|101|1; the Auto CID|225 option raised the power output to Auto bhp|145|1.

The highest power option for 1964 was Chrysler's all-new Auto CID|273 LA V8. A compact and relatively light engine equipped with a 2-barrel carburetor, it produced Auto bhp|180|1. [cite paper
last =
first =
author = Willem L. Weertman
authorlink =
coauthors = E.W. Beckman
title = Chrysler Corp.'s new 273 cu in. V-8 engine
version =
pages =
publisher = Society of Automotive Engineers
date = January 1964
doi =
doi_brokendate =
id = 640132
url =
format =
accessdate =
] The Barracuda sold for a base price of $2,512 (USD).

1964 was not only the first year for the Barracuda, but also the last year for push-button control of the optional Torqueflite automatic transmission, so 1964 models were the only Barracudas so equipped.

In 1965, the 225 slant-6 became the base engine in the US market, though the 170 remained the base engine in Canada.

New options were introduced for the Barracuda as the competition between pony cars intensified. The 273 engine was made available as an upgraded Commando version with a 4-barrel carburetor, 10.5:1 compression, a more aggressive camshaft with solid tappets. These and other upgrades increased the engine's output to Auto bhp|235|1.

Also in 1965 the Formula 'S' package was introduced. It included the Commando V8 engine, suspension upgrades, larger wheels and tires, special emblems and a tachometer. Disc brakes and factory-installed air conditioning became available after the start of the 1965 model year.

For 1966, the Barracuda received new taillights, new front sheet metal, and a new dashboard. The latter had room for oil pressure and tachometer gauges on models so equipped. The 1966 front sheet metal, which except for the grille was shared with the Valiant, gave a more rectilinear contour to the fenders. Deluxe models featured fender-top turn signal indicators with a stylized fin motif. The bumpers were larger, and the grille featured a strong grid theme. A center console was optional for the first time.

Although the first Barracudas were heavily based on the contemporary Valiants, Plymouth wanted them perceived as distinct models. Consequently, the "Valiant" chrome script that appeared on the 1964 model's trunk lid was phased out on the 1965 model in the US market. For 1966, a Barracuda-specific stylized fish logo was introduced, though in markets such as Canada and South Africa, where Valiant was a marque in its own right, the car remained badged as Valiant Barracuda until the A-body Barracuda was discontinued.

In profile, the 1967 Hillman Hunter-based Sunbeam Rapier Fastback coupé from Chrysler's United Kingdom company (the former Rootes Group), resembles the 1964–66 Barracuda. However the Rapier's designer, Roy Axe, said that there was no direct connection.Fact|date=September 2008


Infobox Automobile generation
name = Second generation

production = 1967–1969
body_style = 2-door fastback coupe
2-door notchback coupe
2-door convertible
platform = A-body
related = Dodge Dart
Plymouth Valiant
engine = Auto CID|225 "Slant-6"
Auto CID|273 "LA" V8
Auto CID|318 "LA" V8
Auto CID|340 "LA" V8
Auto CID|383 "B" V8
Auto CID|440 "RB" V8
The second-generation Barracuda, now a Convert|108|in|mm|0|abbrev=off wheelbase A-body still sharing many components with the Valiant, was fully redesigned with Barracuda-specific sheet metal styling and its own range of models including convertibles as well as fastback and notchback hardtops.

The new Barracuda was styled chiefly by John E. Herlitz and John Samsen. [ John Samsen's Plymouth Barracuda design history] ] It was less rectilinear than the Valiant, with coke-bottle side contours and heavily revised front and rear end styling.

Design cues included a concave rear deck panel, wider wheel openings, curved side glass, and S-curved roof pillars on the notchback.

The rear portion of the roof on the fastback coupe was more streamlined, and the back glass, raked at a substantially horizontal angle, was much smaller compared with that of the previous model. Also, the use of chrome trim on the external sheet metal was more restrained.

During this time frame the first U.S. Federal auto safety standards were phased in, and Chrysler's response to the introduction of each phase distinguishes each model year of the second-generation Barracuda:

* 1967: no sidemarker lights or reflectors.
* 1968: round sidemarker lights without reflectors.
* 1969: rectangular sidemarker reflectors without lights.

As the pony-car class became established and competition increased, Plymouth began to revise the Barracuda's engine options.

In 1967, while the 225 slant-6 was still the base engine, the V8 options ranged from the 2-barrel and 4-barrel versions of the 273 to a seldom-ordered Auto CID|383 "B" big-block, the latter available only with the "Formula S" package.

In 1968 the 273 was replaced by the Auto CID|318 LA engine as the smallest V8 available, and the new Auto CID|340 LA 4bbl was released. A new option was the Mod Top, a vinyl roof covering with a floral motif. Plymouth sold it as a package with seat and door panel inserts done in the same pattern.

Also in 1968, Chrysler made approximately 50 fastback Barracudas equipped with the Auto CID|426 Hemi for Super Stock racingcite web | url= | title=The Plymouth Barracuda: First Pony (Fish?) Car | journal= [ Allpar] | accessdate=2008-09-02] .These cars were assembled by Hurst Performance and featured lightweight items such as lightweight Chemcor side glass, fiberglass front fenders, and hood with scoop, lightweight seats, and sound deadener and other street equipment such as rear seats omitted. An included sticker indicated that the car was not for use on public roads; it could run the quarter in the mid 10s in 1968.

Today, original Hemi super stock Barracudas (and similarly configured Dodge Darts) are highly prized collector vehicles, with original unaltered cars commanding high pricesFact|date=May 2008.

For the South African export market, a convert|190|bhp|abbr=on high-performance version of the 225 slant-6 called "Charger Power" was offered with 9.3:1 compression, 2-barrel carburetor, more aggressive camshaft, and low-restriction exhaust system.

A handful of Savage GTs were also built from the second-generation Barracuda.

In 1969 Plymouth placed increased emphasis on providing and marketing performance.

The 1969 version of the 383 engine was upgraded to increase power output to Auto bhp|330|1, and a new trim package called 'Cuda was released. The 'Cuda, based on the Formula S option, was available with either the 340 or the 383 V8.


Infobox Automobile generation
name = Third generation

production = 1970–1974
aka = Plymouth 'Cuda
platform = E-body
related = Dodge Challenger
body_style =2-door notchback coupe
2-door convertible
engine = Auto CID|198 "Slant-6"
Auto CID|225 "Slant-6"
Auto CID|318 "LA" V8
Auto CID|340 "LA" V8
Auto CID|360 "LA" V8
Auto CID|383 "B" V8
Auto CID|426 Hemi V8
Auto CID|440 "RB" V8

The redesign for the 1970 Barracuda removed all its previous commonality with the Valiant. The original fastback design was deleted from the line and the Barracuda now consisted of coupe and convertible models. The all-new model, styled by John E. Herlitz, was built on a shorter, wider version of Chrysler's existing B platform, called the E-body. Sharing this platform was also the newly launched Dodge Challenger; however, no sheet metal interchanged between the two cars, and the Challenger had a convert|2|in|0|adj=on longer wheelbase.

The E-body Barracuda was now "able to shake the stigma of 'economy car'." [cite book | last = Newhardt | first = David | title = Dodge Challenger & Plymouth Barracuda
publisher = MotorBooks/MBI
date = 2000
pages = 7
url =
isbn = 9780760307724
] The high-performance models were marketed as 'Cuda. The E-body's engine bay was larger than that of the previous A-body, facilitating the release of Chrysler's Auto CID|426 Hemi for the regular retail market.

Two six-cylinder engines were available — a new Auto CID|198 version of the slant-6, and the 225 — as well as six different V8s: the 318, 340, 383, 440-4bbl, 440-6bbl, and the 426 Hemi. [ [ 1970 Barracuda production totals by powerteam] ] . The 440- and Hemi-equipped cars received upgraded suspension components and structural reinforcements to help transfer the power to the road.

Other Barracuda options included decal sets, hood modifications, and some unusual "high impact" colors such as "Vitamin C", "In-Violet", and "Moulin Rouge".

Swede Savage and Dan Gurney raced identical factory-sponsored AAR (All American Racers) 'Cudas in the 1970 Trans-Am Series. The cars achieved took pole positions but did not win any Trans-Am races.

A street version of the AAR 'Cuda was produced, powered by the Auto CID|340 "six pack" (three two-barrel carburetors) engine.

The Barracuda was changed slightly for 1971, with a new grille and taillights. This would be the only year that the Barracuda would have four headlights, and also the only year of the fender "gills" on the 'Cuda model.

The 1971 Barracuda engine options would remain the same as that of the 1970 model, except the 4-barrel carbureted 440 engine was not available; all 440-powered Barracudas had a six-barrel carburetor setup instead. The 426 Hemi remained available, and the Hemi-powered 1971 Barracuda convertible is now considered one of the most valuable collectible muscle cars. Only eleven were built, seven of which were sold domestically, and examples of these cars have sold for US$2 million. [ Forbes - Covetable 'Cuda] ] .

In 1970 and 1971, the shaker hood and the Spicer-built Dana 60 rear axle were available. The shaker hood was available with 340, 383, 440-4bbl and 440-6bbl, and 426 Hemi engines. The heavy-duty (and heavy) Dana 60, with a 9¾ in ring gear, was standard equipment with manual transmissions and 440-6bbl and 426 Hemi engines, and was optional on those with the automatic transmission.

After another grille and taillight redesign in 1972, the Barracuda would remain unchanged through 1974, with dual headlights and four circular taillights.

As with other American vehicles of the time, there was a progressive decrease in the Barracuda's performance. To meet increasingly stringent safety and exhaust emission regulations, big-block engine options were discontinued. The remaining engines were detuned year by year to reduce exhaust emissions, which also reduced their power output. There was also an increase in weight as bumpers became larger, and for 1973 doors were equipped with heavy steel side-impact protection beams. By 1974, only the 318 and 360 engines were available. Higher fuel prices and performance-car insurance surcharges deterred many buyers as the interest in high performance cars waned. Sales had dropped dramatically after 1970, and Barracuda production ended April 1, 1974, ten years to the day after it had begun.


A 1975 Barracuda was planned before the end of the 1974 model year. Plymouth engineers sculpted two separate concepts out of clay, both featuring a Superbird-inspired aerodynamic body, and eventually reached a consensus upon which an operational concept car could be built. Due to a rapidly changing automotive market, the concepts were scrapped before the 1975 Barracuda would roll off the production line. [ [ 1975 Barracuda - The Fish that Got Away] ]

The Barracuda is today among the most valuable of muscle cars sought by collectorsFact|date=January 2008, although the rarity of specific models and option combinations today is largely the result of low buyer interest and production at the time.

In 2007, Motor Trend magazine reported a rumor that the Chrysler Group was considering reviving the Barracuda in 2009 [ [ Motor Trend's "Return of the 'Cuda"] ] alongside the revived Dodge Challenger to compete with the Ford Mustang and new Chevrolet Camaro. Because the Plymouth brand was withdrawn from the market in 2001, the new Barracuda would be branded as a Chrysler. However, a Chrysler official has called the Barracuda's reintroduction unlikely. [ [ Car and Driver: Spied: "2008 Dodge Challenger - Car News"] ]


External links

* [ Plymouth Barracuda Page]

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