The Plymouth Barracuda has many of the same exterior parts of the successful Valiant model. Such as quarter panels, bonnet, A pillars and windscreen as well as the same floor pan. The Barracuda however looked sportier with its fastback rear and large shapely rear screen instantly recognisable as Barracuda.
The power came from the Chrysler Six cylinder engine in 2.8 or 3.7 spec producing 101 or 145 bhp respectively. The high powered option was an all new Chrysler 4.5 litre model producing 180 bhp, Typically American providing too much choice. The Barracuda showed America that the way forward was the Pony Car and was not willing to let Ford’s Mustang grab all the glory or indeed the buying public.
The Barracuda was the first Pony Car before the Famous and very popular Ford Mustang but failed to inspire as much with Plymouth marketing the car as functional instead of sport and exciting. 1965 saw a new model with Formula S upgrades including 235 bhp better suspension, larger wheels and a standard tachometer. These extras help keep the buyer keen with the pony car race intensifying.
The Plymouth Barracuda was the first pony car launched two weeks before the Ford Mustang back in 1966 as the Mustang was so well marketed when it was launched the Barracuda can be purchased for a relatively competitive price today. Here are some tips if you are looking to buy one.
As a general rule the slant six engines are very durable and have the ability to last a lifetime with regular maintenance, and most engine parts are still readily available today. There shouldn’t be any question with regards transmissions during this time as units took heavy punishment from larger V8’s.
Lubricate suspension at regular intervals as it will wear with time and check the front sub frame as back in the day younger drivers would push the Barracuda and end up in a ditch bending the front sub-frame.
The Barracuda came with four wheel drum brakes with optional front discs in 1965 and work well on lower powered models, make sure the system is properly adjusted to avoid directional pull under heavy braking.
Interiors can suffer from sun damage leaving cracked and brittle parts mainly down to the sheer size of the rear window being over 14 foot squared, look out for faded carpets and cracked door arm rests.
The rear screen on the Plymouth Barracuda was the largest single piece of glass ever used on a production car measuring 14.4 feet squared.
Mark Wilkinson, Managing Director Says:
“Contrary to popular belief the Ford Mustang was not the first pony car the Plymouth Barracuda was but failed to capitalise on this until it was too late. Despite this the Barracuda sold well and is an essential part of Americas pony car history.”