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- 5 June 2013
Tag Archives: Barracuda
The 1969 Plymouth ‘Cuda 440
Most people are under the impression that the era of the “pony cars” started with the introduction of the Ford Mustang in the middle of April, 1964, but they have got it all wrong. Though the term was indeed built around the incredibly popular Mustang, a car that truly changed the face of the American automotive industry, another car that wound up in the pony car category was introduced before the Mustang. The Plymouth Barracuda was actually released on April 1st of 1964, making it the first true pony car.
In 1964, the Plymouth division of Chrysler rolled out a new 2-door: The Plymouth Barracuda. The car lasted a full decade before being discontinued and saw many changes in its short life. Throughout the evolution of the Barracuda, this pony car was Chrysler’s attempt to join the ranks of the Ford Mustang, at a time when American demand for sporty compact cars was becoming even more insatiable. Though it sold far fewer units than the Mustang, it was a valiant effort by Chrysler.
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.
The original Dodge Challenger, produced from 1970-1974, was Dodge’s attempt at entering the popular pony car market, epitomized by the Ford Mustang. The Challenger shared its Chrysler E-body platform with the Plymouth Barracuda, although it was slightly larger. Chrysler-Dodge intended the Challenger to compete with the more luxurious pony cars of the time. Unfortunately for the company, by the time the Challenger’s design was complete, it was a bit late and the pony car wave was already beginning to fade. For this reason, it did not have nearly the success that the Chrysler brain trust had hoped for.
The Landau Roof
In the 1970s and the 1980s, the landau top was a popular, yet confusing design style. But, the original use of the word landau is quite different. It was originally a reference to a carriage and the term is still used in the United Kingdom when referencing the royal carriages. In the 1950s, the Nash Rambler actually came with a removeable landau top that slid back from the windshield and stowed away in the trunk. If you drove past the Rambler with the landau removed, you might not even notice because of the unusual look. Later, the landau was a style design that took the place of the C-pillars in the rear of the car. In the 1970s and 1980s, the landau top became synonymous with a fake convertible. These were some of the cars that wore the landau top with some sort of pride:
1971 Plymouth GTX
The last model of the nameplate, the 1971 Plymouth GTX was the quintessential American muscle car. Plymouth was already famous for offering the public affordable pony and muscle cars with its Barracuda and Road Runner models. The GTX launched the brand into the performance stratosphere. The original 1967 GTX was a package for the Belvedere, and its subdued styling gave no indication of the power under the hood or the masterful engineering.
The Most Interesting Plymouths
In 1928, Chrysler created the Plymouth lineup as their own low priced collection. Sadly for fans of the brand, Plymouth ceased producing cars in 2001. Over the years, there were several interesting Plymouth models that have become icons today.
1960 Plymouth Fury Sunstar: This cool convertible was one of the last winged beauties. It was a truly unique looking car with many unexpected features, like the rotating driver’s seat that allowed easy in and out of the car. With the hooded headlights, pointed tail lights, two-toned paint, and excessive chrome, this car defined the idea of “more is more.”
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.
5 Fastest Muscle Cars: The Muscle Car Club has reported that Muscle Car Review Magazine has compiled a list of the top 50 fastest muscle cars. Of course, the list is too long to include here, but we will share the top 5 fastest muscle cars and a few interesting tidbits about each. The ranks are according to their speed at the quarter mile elapsed times. Take a look below:
5) 1970 Chevelle SS 454- topping out at 107 mph at the quarter mile, this model had a 4-speed transmission and a 450 horsepower rating. This muscle car could go 0-60 in about 6 seconds, and a quarter mile in just over 13 seconds. It was available as a coupe or a convertible.
Many believe that era of the pony car began with the introduction of the Ford Mustang, and of course the Mustang did inspire the term that was coined by the editor of Car Life magazine back then, Dennis Shattuck. Its stunning popularity also catapulted the concept into the public consciousness, so it can be said that the Mustang was the most important of the cars that went on to be considered pony cars. But it was not the first. The Mustang was offered to the public on April Fool’s Day in 1964, but the Plymouth Barracuda, which is also considered to be a pony car, was released a couple of weeks prior to the Mustang.