The Plymouth Barracuda

Wednesday, May 21st 2008, 11:32 am
By: News On 6

The Plymouth Barracuda was manufactured by the Plymouth division of the Chrysler Corporation from 1964 through 1974.

From 1964 to 1966 all U.S. automakers were looking at making sporty compact cars. The Plymouth Barracuda fastback's release on April 1, 1964 beat the Ford Mustang by two weeks. Plymouth's executives wanted to name the car Panda, an idea unpopular with the car's designers. In the end, John Samsen's suggestion of Barracuda was selected.

The second-generation Barracuda was fully redesigned from 1967 to 1969. It had Barracuda-specific styling and its own range of models including convertibles, fastback and notchback hardtops.

From 1970 to 1974 higher fuel prices and performance-car insurance surcharges deterred many buyers as the interest in high performance cars waned. Sales had dropped dramatically after 1970 and Barracuda production ended April 1, 1974, 10 years to the day after it had begun.

The Barracuda is now among the most valuable muscle car sought by collectors, although the rarity of specific models and option combinations is largely the result of low buyer interest and production at the time.

In 2007, "Motor Trend" magazine reported a rumor that the Chrysler Group was considering reviving the Barracuda in 2009, alongside the revived Dodge Challenger to compete with the Ford Mustang and new Chevrolet Camaro. Because the Plymouth brand was withdrawn from the market in 2001, the new Barracuda would be branded as a Chrysler. However, a Chrysler official has called the Barracuda's reintroduction unlikely.