The first series of the Barracuda was produced from 1964 through 1969, distinguished by its A-body construction. From 1970 through 1974 the second series was produced using an E-body construction.
In 1964, Plymouth offered the Barracuda as an option of the Valiant model line, meaning it wore both the Valiant and Barracuda emblems. The base offering was a 225 cubic-inch six-cylinder engine that produced with 180 horsepower. An optional Commando 273 cubic-inch eight-cylinder engine was available with a four-barrel carburetor, high-compression heads and revised cams. The vehicle was outfitted with a live rear axle and semi-elliptic springs. Unfortunately, the Barracuda was introduced at the same time, separated by only two weeks, as the Ford Mustang. The Mustang proved to be the more popular car outselling the Valiant Barracuda by a ratio of 8 to 1.
The interior was given a floor-shifter, vinyl semi-bucket seats, and rear seating. The rear seats folded down allowing ample space for cargo.
By 1967, Plymouth redesigned the Barracuda and added a coupe and convertible to the model line-up. To accommodate larger engines, the engine bay was enlarged. There were multiple engine offerings that ranged in configuration and horsepower ratings. The 225 cubic-inch six-cylinder was the base engine while the 383 cubic-inch 8-cylinder was the top-of-the-line producing 280 horsepower. That was impressive, especially considering the horsepower to weight ratio. Many chose the 340 cubic-inch eight-cylinder because the 383 and Hemi were reported to make the Barracuda nose-heavy while the 340 offered optimal handling.
In 1968 Plymouth offered a Super Stock 426 Hemi package. The lightweight body and race-tuned Hemi were perfect for the drag racing circuit. Glass was replaced with lexan, non-essential items were removed, and lightweight seats with aluminum brackets replaced the factory bench, and were given a sticker that indicated the car was not to be driven on public highways but for supervised acceleration trials. The result was a car that could run the quarter mile in the ten-second range.
For 1969 a limited number of 440 Barracudas were produced, giving the vehicle a zero-to-sixty time of around 5.6 seconds.
In 1970 the Barracuda were restyled but shared similarities to the 1967 through 1969 models. The Barracuda was available in convertible and hardtop configuration; the fastback was no longer offered. Sales were strong in 1970 but declined in the years that followed. The muscle car era was coming to a close due to the rising government safety and emission regulations and insurance premiums. Manufacturers were forced to detune their engines. The market segment was slowly shifting from muscle-cars to luxury automobiles. 1974 was the final year Plymouth offered the Barracuda.By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2010