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History of the 1970-1974 Plymouth Barracuda
The third generation Barracudas were based on cut-down intermediate bodies which had wider engine compartments fully capable of taking the tall deck big-block and Hemi engines, and the opportunity was immediately utilized for the new 1970 cars. All you need do is look at the Scottsdale, Arizona auction results for the last few years, and hone into the Hemi engine and Barracuda (“cuda”) combination, and you’ll see that Chrysler finally hit the sweet spot, just in time for the market to melt away like an ice rink on a hot, sunny April day. AAR ‘Cudas, for 1970, are highly prized (about 1500 built), given their high-RPM capable, large bore/short stroke, “six-pack” carbureted, 340 cubic inch small block, 290 hp engines and phenomenal handling capabilities (given the limitations of the era, of course). This era of car was built in convertible and hardtops with fastbacks thrown into the dust of history, ironic since Barracuda was first with a sporty car fastback. 440 tall-deck, big block Chrysler V8’s could be had, 426 Hemi tall-deck, massive head, big block Chrysler V8’s could be had, and increased power 383’s could be had as well as 340’s, 318’s and even sixes. 1970, 1971 and 1972 buyers could even opt for a Barracuda Gran Coupe with added luxury. While true muscle cars started to wither on the vine in the early 1970’s, “pony cars” held out awhile longer, but given the emasculation of the engines from increasingly strangulating and crude anti-pollution devices, there seemed to be less and less point to these cars as more and more buyers instead flocked to smaller, lighter, sportier cars. Pretty much similar to what the Barracuda started out as, ironically. It’s ironic that Barracuda would surely have had more success had it been sold as Gen II first, Gen III next and something more akin to Gen I to follow! By 1973, power was massively down and big blocks not even available in the Barracuda any longer, and by 1974, the largest V8 was the 360 family sedan engine with a mere 245 hp. The once powerful lslant six was so neutered that it had been discontinued from the line, but it mattered little since so few buyers lined up for Barracudas in the twilight year of production. Of course, the early third generation cars are highly collectible and desirable, especially in Hemi convertible form, 440 or Hemi form in any description, and 340 six-pack form.
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