1971 Plymouth Cuda 340
8-cyl. 340cid/275hp 4bbl Hi-Perf
With an experienced team and a lot of data.
The Plymouth Barracuda was changed in appearance for 1971, but Plymouth was pushing its mid-sized Satellite line, so advertising was restricted. The end of the Muscle Car era was coming anyway, as increasingly restrictive regulations diminished performance.
This was the last year for the legendary 425 bhp 426 cid Hemi, 440 cid 6-barrel and even the 383 engine. Chrysler pulled out of Trans Am racing, so the AAR Cuda was gone too. Convertible sales fell so far that this was the last chance to buy one. Prices were reduced slightly across the line, though some options were more expensive.
Barracuda sales plummeted from 55,499 to 18,690. Most obvious changes for the 1971 Plymouth Barracuda were in the front end. Barracudas now had four headlights and the grille was divided by vertical “fangs” which at least fit the name. Color-keyed bumpers were available, ’Cuda front fenders had chrome “gills” and enormous billboard graphics were available for the rear fenders, replacing the hockey sticks. Taillights were redesigned with adjoining reversing lights and ’Cuda rear panels were black. Three hoods were still available.
There were still three Barracuda model lines and nine engines, but the 440 Magnum was no longer available. A 3-speed manual was still the basic gearbox, but the Torqueflite automatic transmission gained a better kick-down system, and the 4-speed gear cluster was beefed up with the shifter moved closer to the driver.
The premium motors – 340, 440 6-barrel and 426 Hemi were little changed, though the base 340 gained a Carter Thermoquad carburetor. If you wanted to upgrade from either slant six or the 318 V-8 you could order the 383 V-8 standard, or pay $44.50 for the 340 V-8 (only on the performance-oriented ’Cuda), $253.20 for the 440 6-barrel, or a whopping $883.90. The 440 and 426 were available with a 4-speed for $198.10 or an automatic transmission for $229.30. Electronic ignition was standardized towards the end of the year.
Naturally, not many buyers stepped up for the most exotic packages, and these are the cars that command huge prices today. Rarest of all are the Hemi ‘Cuda Convertibles, but 440 6-barrel Convertibles and 383 Convertibles are quite rare as well.
Plymouth product information calculated the popularity of options during the year, with no real surprises. Among Barracuda buyers, 78.9% bought automatic transmissions, 78.1% ordered power steering, 31.9% purchased optional V-8 engines, 22.4% chose power disc brakes, 29.8% bought air conditioning and 49.1% fitted vinyl tops.
A total of 21 paint colors were offered, including six High Impact tones –TorRed, Curious Yellow, In-Violet Metallic, Bahama Yellow, Sassy Grass Green, and Lemon Twist.
Plymouth calculated the percentage of popularity of each color. From the top, they are: True Blue Metallic (10.4%), TorRed (10.1%), Rallye Red (9.6%), Curious Yellow (8.7%), In-Violet Metallic (7.2%), Sherwood Green Metallic (6.6%), Bahama Yellow (6.4%), Autumn Bronze Metallic (5.9%), Amber Sherwood Metallic (5.8%), Gold Leaf Metallic (4.9%), Sassy Grass Green (4.8%), Sno White (4.4%), Tawny Gold Metallic (3.8%), Evening Blue Metallic (2.8%), Glacial Blue Metallic (2.6%), Winchester Gray Metallic (2.2%), Formal Black (2.1%), Tunisian Tan Metallic (1.6%) and Lemon Twist (0.1%).
Interior colors included Blue, Green, Tan, White, Orange and Gold. Black and white vinyl tops and convertibles tops were offered, though the Mod Top pattern was discontinued.