The 1969 Barracuda came at the end of the second generation of Plymouth’s pony car which lasted from just 1967 to 1969. Chrysler introduced the Barracuda in 1964 as sporty performance cars were really gaining popularity in the U.S. 1974 was the last year for the model. In the early ‘70s, performance cars went downhill thanks to stricter safety and emission regulations. The Barracuda was one of many casualties.
Based on the Valiant A-body, the 1969 Barracuda and the other members of the second generation came in fastback, notchback, and convertible body styles. They also received significant restyling as compared to the previous generation of models from 1964 to 1966.
One Year Winners
Photo Courtesy of www.macsmotorcitygarage.com
In the world of automobiles, setting up an assembly line, creating tools and dies, and producing a new model takes a significant amount of work. This is one of the reasons why so many cars are made for several production years before major changes are made. Despite the work that goes into producing a car model, automakers have been known to occasionally create one-hit wonders – cars that were produced for only one year. Many times the cars were big losers on the lots, but in some cases the single year production cars were big winners. Here is a short list:
When Plymouth unveiled the Road Runner in 1968, the response was overwhelmingly positive and it still remains among the most popular of muscle cars. Because of its success, it was only natural that Plymouth attempted to up the ante shortly following its release. The Plymouth Superbird came along in 1970 and it served as a modified version of the ever-popular Road Runner. It was built with the intent to appear in the NASCAR circuit, and as a part of the NASCAR rules, there had to be street-legal versions of this beauty.
The First Personal Luxury Car: Ford’s Thunderbird
The ultimate American personal luxury car of the heyday of the Big Three had to be the Cadillac Eldorado, but the very first of the breed was the Ford Thunderbird. The car went into development in 1953 as competition for the new Chevy Corvette as a sporty two-seat convertible, and by 1954 the first prototype was introduced at the Detroit Auto Show, in February; by September of ’54 the T-Bird went into production. The first 1955 Ford Thunderbird models were offered to the public by the end of October that same year.
The Durable Dodge Dart
If you were a young driver looking for an inexpensive used car in the late 1970s, your elders were invariably going to recommend that you try to find yourself an old Dodge Dart. Now these sixties-vintage Darts were not going to turn many heads or have any cheerleaders asking you for a ride home, but they were reliable, durable, economical, and easy to repair.
As an elongated low-riding model, the 1965 Pontiac Catalina offered many options from color and performance to engine upgrades. The full size two-door hardtop and convertible versions of the Catalina had the ability to use Pontiac’s 421 cid engine, despite the infamous General Motors ban on engines larger than 400 cid. The ban was in effect for intermediate vehicles, allowing the Catalina to skirt the rule because of its status as a full-size vehicle. This fastback further impressed with the addition of the “2+2” package option, which included the bigger engine among a handful of other upgrades. This option was phased out only 2 years later, in 1967, because it simply didn’t achieve the overwhelming successes of the GTO.
3 of the Most Unique American-built Cars
There have been many unique cars built that each has their own interesting characteristics. Three of these cars are classics built in America during the 1940’s and 50’s; we’d like to take the time to showcase them today.
The Nash Rambler: The Big 3′s Competitor
The President of the Nash-Kelvinator Company, George Mason, saw that his company needed to design a car to compete with the “Big 3”, and it had to be something that those companies did not have. He decided to concentrate on a compact car that was small, yet still would fit 5 passengers comfortably. Finally, he wanted a car that would save Nash on materials but still get great fuel economy and that would compete with companies that were dominating the lower price segment of the market (i.e. Chevrolet, Ford and Plymouth). His outcome, the first successful modern American compact car, the Nash Rambler.