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 first generation Barracuda (1964-1966) set itself apart from other sporty cars with its wraparound black glass. The rear window was “the largest ever installed on a standard production car up to that time,” measuring a huge 14.4 square feet. Two versions of the slat-6 six-cylinder engines were available. The cars started at $2,512, or about $18,331.93 today. 1965 saw the introduction of the Formula S package, which featured the Commando V8 engine, larger tires and wheels, and a tachometer among other updates. New taillights came along in 1966.
For the second generation, the Barracuda saw drastic changes, such as a much smaller back glass and side contours inspired by a Coca-Cola bottle. During this Barracuda generation, federal auto safety standards were beginning to appear, which brought about sidemarker lights and reflectors. In 1968, around fifty fastback Barracudas were built with 426 cubic inch Hemi engines for Super Stock drag racing.
The third and final generation Barracuda included only a coupe and convertible model, and the fastback was eliminated. Two 6-cylinder engines were available for the Barracuda and the Barracuda Gran Coupe in 1970 and 1971. New, brighter colors (such as Moulin Rouge and Vitamin C) were now available. Additionally, decal sets and hood modifications became available. The last few years of the Barracuda saw relatively few changes. More safety and exhaust emissions regulations brought about a decline in performance, as was the case with most other American vehicles of the time period. Production of the Barracuda ended 10 years to the day after production began- April 1.