1970 Plymouth 340 Barracuda
The Plymouth Barracuda became widely known as the “Cuda,” and it was in production from 1964 to 1974. Because it was car markers’ goal to make compact race cars in mid-sixties, Chrysler-owned Plymouth company decided to base their new Barracuda brand on the former Valiant’s blueprint. This lowered Plymouth’s R&D costs associated with the vehicle, because basically the only new things about it were the metal and the glass. Fun fact: Plymouth execs wanted to name this car the Panda, until designers convinced them otherwise. What set the Barracuda apart from the competition at the time was the biggest rear glass window that’s ever been put in a car at that point: it was 14.4 squared feet in area, which was unmatched by any previous vehicle.
At 106” wheelbase, the car was 188” long, and 70” high. Plymouth Barracuda’s A-body platform featured the 2-door fastback coupe as the primary design. From 1967 to 1969, the side lights and reflectors were experimented with as federal safety regulations were introduced. These laws also affected performance car-makers, which explains why some Barracudas had engines not even capable of producing 200 horse powers, all the way to over 300 horse powers.
For a while, the Plymouth Barracuda was considered a pony car. Over years, though, upgrades to the engine, suspension, breaks, and transmission were introduced, which shifted the Cuda’s reputation. For example, in 1970, the 440 cubic inches 7.2L RB V8 engine was introduced. It offered double the power of the standard 3.6-liter engine, that wasn’t even a V8. Six-barrel carburetors were a requirement to have a 440 engine. Year 1971 was the only year the Cuda had four headlights; the only change this model had over 1970 was a different trim, a new grille, and some other minor feature changes. In 1972, big-engine options were no longer available due to the changing laws pertaining to fuel efficiency and emissions standards.
By 1974, the next-generation model (1975 Plymouth Barracuda) was designed as a running concept car, but it was never put into production. All Cuda prototypes weren’t made available because of the adding federal regulations and the changing consumer market who were out to buy cars. Plymouth instead focused on other models, like the Gran Fury.