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Plymouth 'Cuda



History

1964-1974



Click to see fullsize image



Introduction: The Plymouth Barracuda was the first pony car, debuting two weeks before the Ford Mustang. It was quickly eclipsed by the Mustang and the Camaro/Firebird due, but would make a name for itself in 1970 when it was available with an engine its competition could only dream of, the Hemi.


1964 Plymouth Barracuda






Comments: The Plymouth Barracuda was launched in early 1964, two weeks before the Ford Mustang. Officially called the Valiant Barracuda, the car was based on the compact Valiant and kept its lower body but used a fastback super-structure with a massive wraparound backlight (the largest single piece of glass ever put on a production car) and stubby trunklid. The interior featured the Signet's bucket-seats, plus a flip-down rear seatback and security panel for carrying long items. Original marketing for the vehicle stressed its convenience features and design more than sporty performance, which would hurt its performance image for the next several years. Engine offerings were the same as the Valiant, with a 170 cid Slant Six at launch, with the 225 Slant Six or 273 V8 as options.

Production: 23,433


Engines:
170 I6.
225 I6 145 bhp.
273 V8 180 bhp.
273 V8 235 bhp.

Performance:
N/A


1965 Plymouth Barracuda






Comments: 1965 saw the introduction of the "Formula S" performance option, although the Plymouth Barracuda still was far from a performance car. The 225 Slant Six officially replaced the 170 Slant Six as the standard engine.

Production: 64,596


Engines:
225 I6 145 bhp.
273 V8 180 bhp.
273 V8 235 bhp.

Performance:
N/A


1966 Plymouth Barracuda






Comments: The Barracuda received a facelift in 1966 like the Valiant, but received its own grill and exterior design. Distinct Barracuda "fish" emblems were added, which would remain until 1970. Engine choices continued unchanged.

Production: 38,029


Engines:
225 I6 145 bhp.
273 V8 180 bhp.
273 V8 235 bhp.

Performance:
N/A


1967 Plymouth Barracuda






Comments: The Barracuda finally became a true pony car in 1967. The Barracuda was redesigned on a new, longer wheelbase and offered a choice of V8s, two 273 cid V8s and a new 383 cid V8. The Slant Six engine was officially dropped. Unfortunately, the 383 engine was so large that the power steering pump couldn't fit under the hood, so it was unavailable -- which resulted in poor handling. The original fastback model was now joined by a notchback and a convertible model. The Formula S option package was still available and added a heavy duty suspension, tachometer, Wide-Oval tires, and special emblems and trim.

Production:
2D Hardtop Coupe: 28,196
2D Fastback: 30,110
Convertible: 4,228

Engines:
273 V8 180 bhp.
273 V8 235 bhp.
383 V8 280 bhp.

Performance:
N/A


1968 Plymouth Barracuda






Comments: The Barracuda received minor styling changes and a greater availability of engines for 1968 with the reintroduction of the 225 Slant Six engine. The top of the line 383 also received a power boost. The 273 cid engines were retired. To give the Barracuda more of a performance image, Plymouth quietly built a small number of Hemi powered Barracudas to give to professional drag racers, but these were so rare that they didn't really help the Barracuda's boring image.

Production:
'Cuda Hardtop Coupe: 19,997
'Cuda 2D Fastback: 22,575
'Cuda Convertible: 2,840

Engines:
225 I6 145 bhp.
318 V8 230 bhp.
340 V8 275 bhp @ 5000 rpm, 340 lb-ft @ 3200 rpm.
383 V8 300 bhp.

Performance:
383/300: 0-60 in 7.5 seconds, 1/4 mile in high 15 sec.


1969 Plymouth Barracuda






Comments: 1969 was the year that Plymouth finally got serious about performance. They boosted the output of the 383 cid engine to 330 bhp and found room to fit power steering. Plymouth also introduced a cosmetic package built around the Formula S option, which they called the 'Cuda. The 'Cuda could be had with either the 275 bhp 340 V8 or the 383, but it still wasn't fast enough. Plymouth responded by stuffing in the triple carb 440 V8 under the hood, the largest engine available in a pony car. Unfortunately, the larger engine required the elimination of power steering again and was only available with an automatic transmission, as the rear axle needed to be cushioned against the immense torque of the 440. With 57% of the car's weight over the front wheels and the use of drum brakes all around, handling and braking suffered.

Production:
'Cuda Hardtop Coupe: 12,757
'Cuda 2D Fastback: 17,788
'Cuda Convertible: 1,442

Engines:
340 V8 275 bhp @ 5000 rpm, 340 lb-ft @ 3200 rpm.
383 V8 330 bhp.
440+6 V8 390 bhp @ 4600 rpm, 480 lb-ft @ 2300 rpm.

Performance:
383/330: 1/4 mile in 15.5 seconds @ 92 mph.
440/390: 0-60 in 5.6 sec., 1/4 mile in 14.01 @ 104 mph.


1970 Plymouth Barracuda






Comments: Plymouth finally got the performance angle right for 1970, and they went full force into it. The Barracuda was moved over to the E-body platform, which it shared with the new Dodge Challenger. The Barracuda rode on a two inch shorter wheelbase than the similar Dodge Challenger, even though its overall body dimensions were the same. The performance models were called 'Cudas and featured five different V8s, the 340, 383, 440, 440+6, and the almighty 426 Hemi. The 440s and the Hemi cars received a special high performance suspension to put all that power to the road. Standard Barracudas came with a flat hood, while 'Cudas came with standard dual non-functional hood scoops. Optional on all 'Cudas (and standard on Hemi's) was a very functional shaker scoop, so named because it attached directly to the engine, and poked up through a hole in the hood and thus "shaked" whenever the engine did. The Hemi cost $871 and was installed on just 652 hardtops (out of 17,242) and 14 convertibles (out of 550) copies. It sported hydraulic lifters and was easier to tune than in previous years. The 440+6 was a bargin at just $250 and could keep up with the Hemi till about 70 mph. Both engines were tricky to drive: the 440+6 vacuum-actuated front and rear carbs came on with little warning, while the Hemi's stiff throttle linkage sometimes snapped all eight barrels open at once.

Plymouth also built a special model for 1970: the Plymouth AAR 'Cuda. AAR was taken from Dan Gurney's All-American Racers, which raced 'Cudas in he Sports Car Club of America Trans-Am racing series. But whereas Ford and Chevrolet built special models (Boss 302 Mustang and Camaro Z28) meant to mimic the race cars, Plymouth built a street rod. Along with the similar Dodge Challenger T/A, the AAR 'Cuda sported a unique 340 cid V8 with 3x2 carbs that pumped out 290 bhp. The exterior was definitely unique with a matte-black lift-off fiberglass hood, through body-side strobe stripes, tri-colored AAR shield, and standard black ducktail spoiler. The AAR 'Cuda also had special shocks and recambered rear springs which raised the rear end 1 3/4 inches over the regular 'Cuda which allowed clearance for exhaust pipes that exited in front of the rear wheelwell (after routing through the standard muffler beneath the trunk). It also permitted the use of larger tires in the rear, one of the first uses of wider rear tires on a production automobile.

Production:
'Cuda Hardtop Coupe: 18,880
'Cuda Convertible: 635
AAR 'Cuda: 1,500 (estimated)

Engines:
340 V8 275 bhp @ 5000 rpm, 340 lb-ft @ 3200 rpm.
AAR: 340+6 V8 290 bhp @ 5000 rpm, 345 lb-ft @ 3400 rpm.
383 V8 335 bhp.
426 Hemi V8 425 bhp @ 5000 rpm, 490 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm.
440 V8 375 bhp @ 4600 rpm, 480 lb-ft @ 3200 rpm.
440+6 V8 390 bhp @ 4600 rpm, 480 lb-ft @ 2300 rpm.

Performance:
Hemi - 426/425: 0-60 in 5.6 seconds, 1/4 mile in 13.41 sec. @ 104.6 mph.


1971 Plymouth Barracuda






Comments: The Plymouth Barracuda continued into 1971 with minor styling changes, including a segmented grille with twin headlamps, dummy front fender vents, and segmented tail lamps. A full range of engines were available and the top performance models were once again called 'Cudas. The AAR 'Cuda was no longer available. To deal with increasingly strict emission laws, Plymouth was forced to detune some of their engines, resulting in a drop in the power ratings. Only 115 Hemi 'Cudas were sold and Plymouth decided to retire the Hemi engine before it had to be detuned to meet the new emission standards. Therefore, the Hemi would end its reign as the most feared and possibly most influential engine of the muscle car era.

Production:
'Cuda Hardtop Coupe: 6,228
'Cuda Convertible: 374

Engines:
318 V8 230 bhp.
340 V8 275 bhp @ 5000 rpm, 340 lb-ft @ 3200 rpm.
383 V8 300 bhp @ 4400 rpm, 400 lb-ft @ 2400 rpm.
426 Hemi V8 425 bhp @ 5000 rpm, 490 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm.
440 V8 375 bhp.
440+6 V8 385 bhp @ 4600 rpm, 480 lb-ft @ 2300 rpm.

Performance:
N/A


1972 Plymouth Barracuda






Comments: 1972 was a sad year for performance fans as the mighty Hemi and the 383 engines were retired because they couldn't meet the new emission standards. The remaining engines had to be detuned and were now rated in net horsepower numbers, which on the surface seemed like a huge drop in power. Unfortunately, the top engine choice for the Barracuda was the 340 cid V8 and the convertible was no longer available.

Production:
'Cuda Hardtop Coupe: 7,828

Engines:
318 V8 150 bhp.(SAE Net)
340 V8 240 bhp. (SAE Net)

Performance:
340/240: 0-60 in 8.5 seconds, 1/4 mile in 16 seconds.


1973 Plymouth Barracuda






Comments: The six cylinder engine was removed and the entry level model now had the 318 V8. Optional was the 340 V8 which came standard on the 'Cuda. In mid year, the 340 was replaced by a new 360 cid V8, although performance didn't improve.

Production:
'Cuda Hardtop Coupe: 10,626

Engines:
318 V8 150 bhp.(SAE Net)
340 V8 240 bhp. (SAE Net)
360 V8 245 bhp. (SAE Net)

Performance:
N/A


1974 Plymouth Barracuda






Comments: 1974 was the last year for the true Barracudas, which continued with 318 and 360 engines. The Barracuda would never return again as a true performance vehicle.

Production:
'Cuda Hardtop Coupe: 4,989

Engines:
318 V8 150 bhp.(SAE Net)
360 V8 245 bhp. (SAE Net)

Performance:
N/A








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