The Plymouth Barracuda (called “Plymouth Valiant Barracuda” in Canada) was a muscle car produced by Chrysler Corporation from 1964 to 1974.
When Chrysler Corp developed the first generation Barracuda from 1964 to 1966, they based it heavily on the Valiant model in the Plymouth lineup, sharing the same A-body platform. Thus, the Canadian version of this car was named “Valiant Barracuda”. The base engine choices for the United States and Canada were different: the Canadian Barracuda got the 170 CI (2.8L) Slant-6, while the American base had the 225 CI (3.7L) version. An amped-up version of the Barracuda could have the 273 CI (4.5L) 90-degree V8 (codenamed “LA“). The 273 in the 1964 Barracuda produced 180 horsepower, and could also be had with the optional Torqueflite automatic transmission. In 1965, Plymouth introduced the “Formula S” package to the Barracuda, which included an upgraded version of the 273 V8, nicknamed Commando. The Commando was capable of producing 235 horsepower, thanks to its 10.5:1 compression ratio and strengthened camshaft. The Barracuda was restyled in 1966 before the debut of the second generation model.
In 1967, Plymouth debuted the restyled second generation Barracuda, still based on the Valiant model, like the previous model. A notable cosmetic feature on the ’67 model was a larger front-end air intake (grille) and a much curvier shape. The chrome bumpers were also revised. From this generation onward, a convertible was available in the lineup. The 225 Slant-6 engine remained as the base engine, and in 1968, the 273 V8 was ditched and replaced with a larger 318 CI (5.2L) V8. This 318 was also an “LA” engine, like the smaller 273 it replaced as the base V8. Among one of the most powerful V8s produced for this generation was the 426 CI (7.0L) Hemi V8, developed for Super Stock drag racing cars assembled by Hurst Performance. 1969 saw the final year of production of the A-body Valiant-based Barracuda.
Plymouth’s ultra muscle car was about the get more ultra: the 1970 edition of the Barracuda abandoned the tradition of being based on the Valiant (A-body) and instead shared the E-body platform with the Dodge Challenger. Thus, this created a much larger vehicle than the previous compact size Valiant-based Barracudas. Very often, this generation of Barracudas is nicknamed to a shortened “Cuda“. The two base Slant-6 engines for the 1970 Barracuda were the then-new 198 CI (3.2L) and the 225 CI engines. The “LA” V8 engines were 318 CI, 340, and 360. The top-of-the-line V8 was the 426 CI Hemi, throwing 425 horsepower. 1971 saw a slight update to the Barracuda; namely, a cosmetic update which featured a four-headlight design for the front end. The V8 engine options (including the 426 V8) remained the same from the year before.
The oil crisis of the early 1970s had inflicted upon the Plymouth Barracuda lineup (as well as other popular sports and muscle cars) a drop in engine and transmission options and power output. The 1972 ‘Cuda went back to the two-headlight front end design like the 1970 model. The diluted versions of the previously famous and powerful ‘Cudas had only three engine options for 1972, a 225 6-cylinder and two V8s: the 318 and a detuned version of the 340. The 1973 Barracuda was available only with the 318 and 340 V8s, as that year, the 225 six was dropped. Due to dropping sales, as well as the devastating effects of the oil crisis, the ‘Cuda ended production in April 1974.