1973 Plymouth Cuda
2dr Hardtop Coupe
8-cyl. 318cid/150hp 2bbl
With an experienced team and a lot of data.
1973 Plymouth Barracuda buyers were faced with a far smaller range of choices, and might have wondered if Chrysler was just clearing out the warehouse. The slant-six engine was no longer offered, which was a step in the right direction. Barracuda sales actually rose in 1973, perhaps because the cars represented memories of better days.
Though only two Hardtops were offered, 11,587 Barracudas and 10,626 ’Cudas were sold for a total of 21,713, which was well ahead of 1972.
The Barracuda appeared identical to 1972 except for the 5 mph front bumper and 2.5 mph bumper at the rear, required by new regulations. Bumpers were pushed away from the body, increasing overall length by nine inches.
The Barracuda still looked like a sports car, but stickers and stripes had replaced performance. The base 318 cid V-8 engine developed only 150 bhp while the 340 cid V-8 produced 235 bhp. Press mentions were restricted to options, such as the A51 Sport Appearance Package, which included the 1970 twin-scooped ’Cuda hood and side stripe on the base car. However, front disc brakes were now standard, as was electronic ignition. Base gearbox was a 3-speed manual, but the optional 4-speed still had the 1970 pistol grip and an automatic was preferred by most buyers, anyway.
Interiors had been limited to vinyl buckets with bench rear in 1972 and the seats were redesigned this year with full foam shaping, though the gold interior was no longer available. Remaining colors were Blue, Dark Green Black and White.
Plymouth did not track the popularity of paint colors in the 1973 Barracuda, but 14 were available. They were: Silver Frost Metallic (A5), Blue Sky (B1), Basin Street Blue (B3), True Blue Metallic (B5), Rallye Red (B9), Mist Green (F1) Amber Sherwood Metallic (F3), Forest Green Metallic (F8), Autumn Bronze Metallic (K6), Sahara Beige (L4), Spinnaker White (W1), Formal Black (TX9) and three High Impact colors for an extra $13: Lemon Twist (Y1), Honey Gold (Y3) and Golden Haze Metallic (Y6). Vinyl roofs, were available in Black, White, Dark Green and Gold.
When the Arab oil embargo struck in October 1973, Chrysler was caught completely flat-footed. The Duster and Dart had been selling well, but the company was overhauling their big cars to be even bigger. It couldn’t have come at a worse time and they lingered on lots for months, as gas prices tripled (once gas was available again). The Plymouth Barracuda and Doge Challenger twins were already on life-support and those gas price increases helped doom both models.