1971 Plymouth Barracuda
Part of the third and final generation of the nameplate, the 1971 Plymouth Barracuda came with several changes as compared to its predecessors. The original Barracuda came out in 1964 was an A-body, fastback coupe that shared its styling and body with the Plymouth Valiant. The Barracuda came out just as Americans were craving small, sporty coupes, and anything similar to the namesake of the pony car, Ford’s ever-popular Mustang.
While the first and second generation models were Valiant-based, the 1971 Plymouth Barracuda shook that connection and gave consumers a completely different car from the previous models. The 1971 Plymouth Barracuda no longer included a fastback model. Buyers had only two choices: the two-door notchback coupe or the two-door convertible. The convertible version was short-lived and was only available for 1970 and 1971.
The 1971 Plymouth Barracuda marked the beginning of the end of the big-engine, muscle car era in American cars. The rising insurance rates due to accidents, as well as environmental regulations meant the end of big-block engines. Performance in all cars declined around this time and the Barracuda was no exception. Ten years after the first one came off the line, Barracuda production was at an end in 1974. Today, these classic pony and muscle cars are true collectibles.
Especially valuable are the models with the big-block engines, or the larger V8s.With its new E-body, shared with the Dodge Challenger, and departure from the Valiant, the 1971 Plymouth Barracuda no longer carried the economy car stigma. Consumers could choose from four trim levels, which included the Coupe, the base, the Gran Coupe and the sporty ‘Cuda. The lower-end models came with a wide range of engine options from the 3.2-liter inline-six to the 5.9-liter V8. The ‘Cuda came with a standard 6.3-liter V8, but could also be given the 426 Hemi or a huge 440 V8.