A Brief History of the 1964½-74 Plymouth Barracuda
During the early ‘60s, Chrysler got wind that Ford was building a new smaller, sporty vehicle based on the successful Falcon. In a blind rush, designers took their already successful Valiant model and added a fastback roof. The Barracuda was born… just a blink faster than Ford’s Mustang. It was a good attempt, but one that fell on its fishy face. The Mustang outsold the new swimmer over 5-to-1 in ‘64 half-year. However, that didn’t stop the Barracuda from selling almost 65,000 copies in 1965 - the best-selling Plymouth that year.
Starting in 1965, the Barracuda would come equipped with a 273ci, (4.4L) V8, and some 235hp. The performance was brisk, but not otherworldly and not in the same league as the Mustang’s 289ci, V8. For ‘67 the engine options would include big-block power and for ‘70 that options list would include the 426 Hemi - something the Mustang would run screaming from.
Barracuda’s sheet metal would become its own in 1967. The Valiant name was stricken from its image and the look became more of the car we think of today. Eventually, engine options abounded, bolt-on wings and spoilers were added and the most epic line of colors a car line ever had was included. The Barracuda would change from a mere sporty car to a full-fledged muscle car - one of the most coveted ever created.
The Barracuda would start as basically an option package off of the Valiant line, get its own identity in 1967, and eventually become an icon in 1970. In 1974 the fuel crisis completely consumed most muscle cars and the Barracuda was no exception. With a meager 11,000 units sold, it was the last time Barracuda’s name would be used on a Plymouth vehicle - with Plymouth’s demise in 2001.