Two weeks post-production of Ford’s legendary Mustang came the Plymouth Barracuda, a pony car that was designed based on the Chrysler A-body chassis platform from 1964 to 1966. The Plymouth Barracuda pony car came as a two-door in fastback, notchback, and convertible versions.
Barracuda had the largest rear window fitted to any car at the time all thanks to its distinctive fastback styling. The car featured a lowly 170ci slant-six engine as standard with an optional 225ci slant-six and 273ci V8 available. The 1970 model name Cuda became barracuda’s ticket into the world of a full-blown muscle car. The model built on the E-body chassis platform shared with Dodge’s Challenger that looked very similar, although the body panels were not interchangeable
In line with a muscle car feature, Plymouth chief designer Bill Brownie, ensure the Barracuda’s body that featured “Coke bottle” rear styling with a short boot and the E-body chassis was now able to handle the huge power increase from the 440ci and the ultimate 426ci Hemi V8’s.
The key body reinforcing features that came with the ‘Cuda were heavier-duty suspension and drive trains to handle all the extra power. At the front of the ‘Cuda was a torsion bar suspension layout with semi-elliptical leaf springs at the rear with a live axle. The engine options that came with the ‘Cuda were 340ci, 383ci, 440ci, and 426ci V8’s with three and four-speed manual transmission or three-speed TorqueFlite automatic. Power output on the 383ci engine was 330bhp and the 426ci Hemi was 425bhp with an unbelievable torque of 490lb-ft @ 4000rpm. The ‘Cuda with a 440ci V8 and Six-pack carburetors (3X2) caused problems once again with the power steering pump fitment! Driving a ‘Cuda with no power steering and drum brakes all round, you had your hands full. Let look at the features that made this beauty one of the greatest muscle cars of the era.
The Amazing Exterior Design
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The Cuda comes with a large, split front grille with round headlamps, prominent rear fenders, and horizontal, tri-bar taillights. The bumpers are now integrated into the body, compared to the second-gen Barracuda, while the roof sits a tad lower, complementing the car’s lower and wider stance. The shaker hood option was present on all HEMI-equipped Cudas, along with race-inspired hood pins. Other visual features available for the car included various decal sets and high-impact colors, including LimeLight, Tor Red, Lemon Twist, Vitamin C, In-Violet, Sassy Grass, and Moulin Rouge.
A couple of facelifts accompanied the 1971 Cuda’s front end with a new grille and four headlamps, while the rear fascia gained one-piece taillights. Plymouth also added four gills on the muscle car’s front fenders. The rubber bumper and the shaker hood options carried over unchanged.
The Interior Design
Plymouth decorated the interior with as much sophistication as possible. A three-spoke steering wheel was standard equipment, but Plymouth also offered a sportier Rim Blow option. The car featured a simple dashboard with AM/FM stereo with a cassette player, a cigarette lighter, and a glove box lock on it. The wing-like dashboard is a sight to behold.
The practice of replacing the front seats in most car brands was also very possible with the Cuda as its standard front seat could be replaced with a vinyl, split-bench seat. Other interior highlights included a Rallye instrument cluster, floor mats, tinted windows, and an ignition switch lamp. Nothing fancy really, but the HEMI Cuda was more about the race-bred engine under the hood than luxury and convenience features.
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The third-gen Cuda brought about a slightly revised engine lineup that included a slant-six mill and various V-8 powerplants. The iconic 426 HEMI powerplant, however, remained largely unchanged and generated the same 425 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 490 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. The HEMI Cuda became a range-topping Barracuda of the third-gen model by developing more output than the larger 7.2-liter V-8, which was rated at 390 ponies.
Accompanying the engine was either a four-speed manual or a three-speed TorqueFlite automatic, which enabled the Plymouth Cuda to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.8 seconds. The 0-to-100-mph sprint stood at 13 seconds, while its top speed was rated at 117 mph. On the quarter-mile strip, the HEMI Cuda was one of the fastest muscle cars available, with only 14 seconds to complete the run.
Plymouth Barracuda Car – Chrysler’s HEMI-powered coupe continued unchanged for the 1971 model year, which turned out to be the HEMI’s last year on the market. The automaker retired the 426 “Elephant” starting 1972, when all manufacturers reduced compression ratios in their high-performance engines, leaving half a dozen Plymouths and Dodges without their most powerful units. No big-block V-8 engine would be offered on the Barracuda through 1974 when the nameplate was axed.
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