1972 Plymouth Cuda
2dr Hardtop Coupe
8-cyl. 340cid/240hp 4bbl
With an experienced team and a lot of data.
As the muscle car boom busted, Chrysler’s two best candidates began their decline. Both the Plymouth Barracuda and Dodge Challenger were just not what they once were. Gone were the 426 Hemi, the 440 6-barrel and 383 engines, the Convertible and the Coupe. The 1972 Plymouth Barracuda was reduced to two hardtops, the base car at $2,710 and the ‘Cuda at $2,953. Sales dropped only slightly from 18,690 to 18,450 units, which could perhaps be explained by the handsome appearance of the redesign.
The most obvious change was a reversion to single headlights like the 1970 model, with gills dividing the two black grilles. The 1970 twin-scoop ’Cuda hood was optional instead of the flat hood, and it was possible to open up the fake scoops. The shaker hood was history, though, and tail lights were now four round lenses, the inner two for reversing lights. The ’Cuda back panel was black and if you ordered the 340, you got dual exhausts exiting through the valance.
Engine choices went down to three. Base engine was the 110 bhp slant-six, while V-8 options included the 150 bhp 318 cid V-8. The biggest engine was the 340 cid V-8, but it wasn’t the free-spinning motor of yore.
With the powerful 426 Hemi gone (though available on special order for racing), along with the 440 6-barrel V-8 and the high-performance 340, there seemed little need for heavy duty suspension or the Dana 60 rear axle, so both were canceled. A 3-speed manual gearbox was still the base offering, but buyers could get a 3-speed automatic and 4-speed with a pistol-grip shifter. A single vinyl interior was available; leather and cloth options were gone as were bench seats.
Plymouth recorded the most popular options, indicating that convenience was uppermost in buyers’ minds. Automatic transmissions were chosen by 80.2%, air conditioning by 34%, power steering by 82.6% and console by 67.8%.