Plymouth Barracuda

Plymouth Barracuda [1970-74]. The redesign for the 1970 Barracuda removed all its previous commonality with the Valiant. The original fastback design was deleted from the line and the Barracuda now consisted of coupe and convertible models. The all-new model, styled by John E. Herlitz, was built on a shorter, wider version of Chrysler's existing B platform, called the E-body. Sharing this platform was also the newly launched Dodge Challenger; however, no sheet metal interchanged between the two cars and the Challenger, at 110 inches, had a 2 in (51 mm) longer wheelbase than the Barracuda, at 108 inches.

The E-body Barracuda was now "able to shake the stigma of 'economy car'."[9] Three versions were offered for 1970 and 1971: the base Barracuda (BH), the luxury oriented Gran Coupe (BP), and the sport model 'Cuda (BS). In 1971 only, there also was a low-end model called the Barracuda Coupe, which (like other Coupe series Chrysler Corp. had in 1971) had a fixed rear passenger window and minor B pillar instead of roll-down rear passenger windows. The high-performance models were marketed as 'Cuda deriving from the 1969 option. The E-body's engine bay was larger than that of the previous A-body, facilitating the release of Chrysler's 426 cu in (7.0 L) Hemi for the regular retail market.

For 1970 and 1971, the Barracuda and Barracuda Gran Coupe had two six-cylinder engines available — a new 198 cu in (3.2 L) version of the slant-6, and the 225 — as well as three different V8s: the 318ci, the 383ci with 2-barrel carburetor and single exhaust, and the 383ci with 4-barrel carburetor and dual exhaust 330 hp (250 kW) SAE gross. The Cuda had the 383ci 335 hp (250 kW) SAE gross (same as Dodge's 383 Magnum) as the standard engine. It also had the 440ci 4-barrel Super Commando, the 440ci 6-barrel Super Commando Six Pak, and the 426ci Hemi. The 440- and Hemi-equipped cars received upgraded suspension components and structural reinforcements to help transfer the power to the road.

Other Barracuda options included decal sets, hood modifications, and some unusual "high impact" colors such as "Vitamin C", "In-Violet", "Sassy Grass Green" and "Moulin Rouge".

Swede Savage and Dan Gurney raced identical factory-sponsored AAR (All American Racers) 'Cudas in the 1970 Trans-Am Series. The cars qualified for three pole positions but did not win any Trans-Am races; the highest finish was 2nd at Road America.

A street version of the AAR 'Cuda was produced, powered by the 340 cu in (5.6 L) "Six Pack" (three two-barrel carburetors) engine.
The Barracuda was changed slightly for 1971, with a new grille and taillights, seat, and trim differences. This would be the only year that the Barracuda would have four headlights, and also the only year of the fender "gills" on the 'Cuda model.

The 1971 Barracuda engine options would remain the same as that of the 1970 model, except the 4-barrel carbureted 440 V8 engine was not available; all 440-powered Barracudas had a six-barrel carburetor setup instead.

Thus, in 1970 the big-block power options offered to the customer were 1) approximately 270 hp (200 kW) SAE net in the high performance 383-4V, 2) approximately 310 hp (230 kW) SAE net in the 440-4V and 3) approximately 335 hp (250 kW) SAE net in the 440-6V. In 1971 the big-block power options offered to the customer were 1) 250 hp (190 kW) SAE net in the 383-4V and 2) 330 hp (250 kW) SAE net in the 440-6V.

The 426 Hemi remained available with 350 hp (260 kW) SAE net, and the 1971 HemiCuda convertible is now considered one of the most valuable collectible muscle cars. Only eleven were built, seven of which were sold domestically, and examples of these cars have sold for US$2 million.

In 1970 and 1971, the shaker hood and the Spicer-built Dana 60 rear axle were available. The shaker hood was available with 340, 383, 440 4-barrel and 440 6-barrel, and 426 Hemi engines. The heavy-duty (and heavy) Dana 60, with a 9.75 in (248 mm) ring gear, was standard equipment with manual transmissions and 440 6-barrel and 426 Hemi engines, and was optional on those with the automatic transmission.

With a new grille and single headlights (very similar to the 1970 model) and four circular taillights for 1972, the Barracuda would remain basically unchanged through 1974, with new body side stripes, and minor changes to the bumpers to conform with federal impact standards being the only significant variations. Big Block engines (383, 440, & 426 Hemi), heavy duty suspensions and rear axles, and large (15" x 7") tires and wheels were no longer offered. Additionally; convenience/comfort items such as power seats, power windows, and interior upgrade (leather seats and plush carpeting) options were dropped, though a sun roof could still be ordered. For 1972 only, three engine choices were offered: a 225 six, the 318 (base engine for both 'Cuda and Barracuda) and a detuned to meet emission standards 340. For 1973 the 225 six was dropped, with the 318 and 340 V-8's being the only engine choices. For 1974 a slightly more powerful 360 V-8 replaced the 340, and the only real performance options retained were the 4-speed manual transmission (equipped with a Hurst shifter) mated to a performance ratio (3.55 to 1) rear axle for the 340 and 360 engine, giving the car a respectable (for the time) 0-60 time of 8.2 seconds.

As with other American vehicles of the time, there was a progressive decrease in the Barracuda's performance. To meet increasingly stringent safety and exhaust emission regulations, big-block engine options were discontinued. The remaining engines were detuned year by year to reduce exhaust emissions, which also reduced their power output. There was also an increase in weight as bumpers became larger, and starting in 1970, all E body doors were equipped with heavy steel side-impact protection beams. Higher fuel prices and performance-car insurance surcharges deterred many buyers as the interest in high performance cars waned. Sales had dropped dramatically after 1970, and while 1973 showed a sales uptick, Barracuda production ended 1 April 1974, 10 years to the day after it had begun.

Source: Wikipedia, 2012

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