In our third installment this week of May 2016’s Ride of the Month we feature the 1970 Plymouth Barracuda presented by nominee William Wonder. Here is some general information about the Barracuda.
Note: This is not information about the actual vehicle nominated for May’s Ride of the Month, just general information on the vehicle itself. Please check the link at the bottom of today’s article to view all the actual vehicles nominated for this month’s Ride of the Month.
The third-generation Barracuda arrived in 1970, and Plymouth sold it as both a coupe and a convertible. The new “E-body” Barracuda was the first one not based on the Valiant since the brand made its debut in 1964. The Plymouth design team garnered additional attention for the all-new Barracuda by offering some dazzling new colors with enticing names like Bahama Yellow, In-Violet, Moulin Rouge and Sassy Grass. For those interested in a more upscale Barracuda, Chrysler offered the Barracuda Gran Coupe.
The E-body’s larger engine bay allowed Chrysler to offer various big-block engines as options. Altogether, there were seven different engines offered, including two new slant-sixes, a 198 cu-in model and a larger 225 cu-in power-plant.
However, it was the big block engines that got much of the attention. These included the 383 four-barrel, the 440 four-barrel Super Commando, the 440 “Six-Pack” Super Commando and the 426 Hemi. Plymouth engineers beefed up the suspension and reinforced the frame to accommodate these big engines.
The 383 was capable of up to 270 horsepower, while the four-barrel 440 was rated at 310 horsepower. The Six Pack version of the 440 came in at 335 horsepower, while the powerful 426 Hemi could generate an impressive 355 hp. Chrysler raced the Hemi ‘Cudas in France, eventually winning four Group One Class championships, three on the track and one in hill-climbing.
The Hemi ‘Cuda could complete the 0-to-60 scamper in just 6.3 seconds and the quarter-mile in 13.9 seconds. The small-block 340 Six Pack was actually faster in the zero-to-60 test than the big-block Barracudas. Their 0-60 time was 5.6 seconds, and they could compete the quarter-mile in 13.9 seconds. Only about 1,500 of the AAR Barracudas were built, and they are highly prized among collectors today.
Although both the Plymouth Barracuda and the Dodge Challenger were built on the same platform, the wheelbase of the Barracuda was 108 inches, two inches shorter than that of the Challenger.
A number of interesting options were available on the 1970 Barracuda, including a shaker hood and the Dana 60 rear axle. The Dana 60 was standard with the 440 six-pack and 426 Hemi when outfitted with manual transmissions. It remained an option on those with automatic transmissions.
In the early ’70s, the light and sporty Barracuda held its own even as the big muscle cars of its day succumbed to the simultaneous onslaught of new anti-pollution laws and increasing insurance rates. However, by 1973 the big-block Barracudas were no longer available. As a result, the 1970 big-block Barracudas are highly collectible. ‘Cudas in excellent condition command prices of $50,000 and up. Concours-quality restorations have sold for $200,000 or more.
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