Barracuda Hot Rod
The Chrysler Corporation first produced the 2-door Plymouth Barracuda in 1964 and it continued until 1974. During those years, the U.S. Federal Agency phased in several new safety standards. Many cars failed to meet those high standards, and instead of fighting the government, they simply disappeared, and the Barracuda was but one.
However in its heyday during the 60s and 70s the Barracuda Fastback, that came out two weeks prior to the Ford Mustang, the Fastback held its own; and was one of the first Pony Cars. Of course, it’s common knowledge that the Mustang outsold the Barracuda, but that didn’t stop them. One must wonder what would have happened if the Plymouth executives had succeeded in naming the Barracuda the Panda.
It stands to reason why the designers didn’t like that idea and the Barracuda won. Many of the parts of the Barracuda were interchangeable with the Plymouth Valiant. The engine option in 1964 was Chrysler’s 273 cu in V-8 and it only had the 2-barrel carburetor and still produced 180 bph. 1964 was the last year for the optional push-button Torqueflite automatic transmission.
By 1965, the standard base engine returned to the 225 slant 6 in all of the US markets. One of the largest rear windows ever installed on a standard production car in a which up to that time was the 14.4 ft. rear window.
Never totally satisfied with a car, the manufacturer’s changed things year after year and many times they returned to the previous year, but never ever admitted that they had been wrong in changing it in the first place. It didn’t matter what part, if a competitor had something that the public wanted, it wasn’t long before that item was available on many other cars. Hence bringing one’s car in to the local hot rod shop was an option after the warranty expired and an owner wanted to upgrade his or her car.
As the pony cars became established the competition increased and Plymouth once again revised the Barracuda’s options for their engines. In 1967, the base engine remained at 225 cu in while the V-8s resumed the 273 cu in. They didn’t have much call for the 383 cu in “B” Big-block because it was only available with the Formula S package.
The engines continued to grow in size and in 1969 the power was upgraded and increased to 330 bhp. That year the ‘Cuda based on the Formula S Package earned the right to be called the Barracuda Muscle Car.