The Plymouth Barracuda (1964-1969)
In 1964, Plymouth released the Barracuda. Based on the Valiant, and the Barracuda was actually just a Valiant option package. Plymouth released the Barracuda on April 1, 1964, two weeks before Ford released its Mustang. L
ike the Valiant, the Barracuda was an A-Body. The base engine on the Barracuda was the 225ci slant 6, which put out 180 horsepower. Special order upgrades were available for a 273ci V8. Most customers ordered the upgraded V8. Even though the Barracuda was an inexpensive car and received strong reviews, the competing Ford Mustang outsold the Barracuda 8:1.
In 1967, Plymouth completely redesigned the Barracuda. The Barracuda no longed shared any body panels with the Valiant. There were two new body styles available, convertible and coupe, which added to the fastback body style. With the updated redesign, the engine bay was redesigned to accept a greater variety of engines. Along with the 225ci, and the 273ci, the Barracuda was now available with the 383ci.
The engine line-up changed again. The base 273 slant six was replaced by the 318. The 383ci received a boost in horsepower, mostly because of better heads. The new engine for this year was the 340ci. Chrysler rated the 340ci at 270 horsepower, but NHRA rated it at 290 horsepower!
Plymouth finally released the 'Cuda model, which was just a high performance version of the Barracuda. The 340 was almost unchanged, but the 383ci was designed with a more aggressive crankshaft which upped the horsepower for the 383ci to about 330 horsepower.
Then around April of 1969, Plymouth added the 440ci to the engine line-up. Even though the 440ci was rough handling, it could race from 0-60 miles per hour in 5.5 seconds, and race a quarter mile in 14.10 seconds at 104 miles per hour. Finally with the release of the 340 Formula S, Chrysler offered even more horsepower than the standard 340 engine with the handling of the standard 340.