The 1971 Barracuda was mostly carried over from the 1970 model, their sheetmetal almost identical. However, the usual model year changes were made to the front and rear facias, with new grille and tail lights, new seats and minor trim differences. And of course, the engine lineup and output changed. The biggest visual change, and the easiest way to spot a ’71 is that its the only year that had 4 headlights. It’s also the only year with the fender “gills” on the ‘Cuda. 1971 would also be the last year for the color-matched elastomeric bumpers (rubber or plastic).
1971 PLYMOUTH BARRACUDA AT THE END OF AN AGE
The Muscle Car Era was ending, thanks to federally-mandated low-lead/low-octane gasoline that was forcing car makers to reduce compression ratios. Those changes were coming rapidly, but Plymouth managed to hold on one more year, where others were dropping big engines off their order sheets and replacing high performance with garish stripe packages. But 1971 would be the last year for “the good stuff” in the Barracuda.
1971 PLYMOUTH BARRACUDA – THE LAST HOT YEAR
For the Plymouth Barracuda, 1971 would be the last year for some heady performance hardware. Things like the Shaker Hood and the Dana 60 rear axle would go away by 1972. Of course, horsepower was now being rated in “net” form, rather than “gross”, so the numbers were falling anyway, so it was hard for the public to see just how bad things were getting. The 440 4-barrel V8 was dropped from the lineup entirely. The only 440 available was the 440 Six Pack, now rated at a paltry 330 net horsepower, down from 390 gross hp the year before. The 383 big block V8 with single 4-barrel was now making 250 hp. Fortunately, they didn’t mess with the almighty 426 Hemi. It remained at 425hp, but then again, few were built.
1971 Plymouth Barracuda INTERIOR
1971 Plymouth Barracuda ENGINES
1971 PLYMOUTH BARRACUDA ENGINE OPTIONS
There was still a wide range of engines available for 1971. Of course, things always started in the basement with the 225ci Slant Six. Moving up to V8s, you could order your car with a 340 small block with single 4-barrel, a 383 big block with single 4-barrel, a 440 Six Pack with three 2-barrel carburetors, and on top of the heap, on top of everyone’s heap, was the ground shaking 426 Hemi, in its last year of production. Rare, expensive, insanely powerful, they were also pretty hard to drive on the street with two monstrous 4-barrel carbs and a cam with so much overlap that it didn’t like to run at low RPMs.