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Old 04-30-2014, 06:31 PM   #1
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Barracuda & Mustang

My brother got the following from his insurance company. Interesting read:

OVERLOOKED PONY: THE FIRST-GEN PLYMOUTH BARRACUDA ARRIVED 50 YEARS AGO

By: Jim Koscs
In case you missed the public relations and marketing onslaught from Ford, April marks the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Mustang’s introduction. Meanwhile, rumors continue to point to the next Dodge Challenger morphing into a model called the SVT ’Cuda.

That last item will give Mopar fans cause to celebrate, even if it misses the 50th anniversary of the “first” sporty car in the segment, the 1964 Plymouth Barracuda.

On April 1, 1964, two weeks before America went crazy for the Mustang, Plymouth snuck a sporty compact coupe, called the Valiant Barracuda, into showrooms. In essence, the new car was really just a fastback roofline on the Valiant coupe, with an enormous wraparound rear window. The Barracuda did have quite a sporty interior, including standard bucket seats. The car’s bulbous back window covered a carpeted trunk area, which could be expanded by folding down the rear seat. But the car had a conventional trunk lid; it was not a hatchback.

The Barracuda was a clever, attractive and low-budget way to field a model in what would soon become one of the hottest segments in the industry. The Mustang easily overshadowed the sporty Plymouth, though, mainly because it looked nothing like the Falcon on which it was based. The Barracuda was clearly a variant of its economy-car parent and was even identified as such by exterior badges.

The Mustang debuted with notchback and convertible body styles and added the fastback in fall 1964. So, if you want to get picky, Plymouth’s fastback beat the Mustang fastback to showrooms.

The Mustang sprang from the gate with a much wider array of options than the Barracuda, and customers embraced the ability to personalize their cars. Mustang offered a standard six-cylinder engine and three V-8 options, with up to 271 hp. The Barracuda offered two versions of the Slant Six and the 273 cu. in. V-8 with 180 hp.

Here’s a bit of trivia that Mopar fans can use to prod their Ford friends: The first Barracuda was officially a 1964 model. Despite the label “1964½” that’s been used for the early Mustangs for so long, all were officially 1965 models. The extended model year helped give the Mustang its huge production figure for 1965.

Here’s another: Two of the early design concepts for the sporty Ford coupe, called the Allegro and Avventura, very closely resembled the production Barracuda, including a huge wraparound rear window.

Plymouth built just over 23,000 1964 Barracudas for its short debut year, but that zoomed up to 65,000 for its first full season in 1965. It’s reasonable to assume that Mustang waiting lists at Ford dealers sent some customers to Plymouth dealers, but the optional Barracuda Formula S performance package also deserves some credit. In typical Chrysler fashion, the comprehensive package combined a new 235 hp version of the 273 V-8 with a suspension upgrade, wider wheels and appearance items. Road testers praised the handling. Oddly, the package did not come with the dual exhaust system seen on most of Detroit’s performance cars.

The Formula S Barracuda proved quick and agile. Motor Trend coaxed its 4-speed test car from zero-to-60 mph in 8.0 seconds and through the quarter-mile in 16.1 seconds at 87 mph, which was similar to a Mustang with its middle V-8 upgrade.

The Valiant badges were gone for ’65, and new fish badges appeared, giving the Barracuda a stronger identity. And the automatic transmission’s pushbuttons were replaced by a floor shifter.

For ’66, the sporty Plymouth got the Valiant’s boxy restyled front end. Production fell to about 38,000 in a year when Mustang exceeded 600,000. The public had spoken. A redesigned Barracuda with no Valiant body panels was in the wings for 1967.

A first-gen Barracuda is a distinctive and fun collectible, sure to start conversations at shows and cruise nights. But they can be hard to find and are perhaps not as affordable as one might think. Hagerty’s average valuation for a 1965 Formula S is about $18,000, with top values cresting $30,000.

And the Mustang? Average value for a 1965 fastback coupe with the 200 hp V-8 is $23,700 with top values hitting $40,000.
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Old 04-30-2014, 11:59 PM   #2
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That's a good read.

I personally discussed the possibility of a new Cuda with SRT president, Ralph Gilles. He specifically said that a Cuda would likely not happen.

Here is my post about it, Traded my Sixer in...for a Challenger...

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Originally Posted by Ish416 View Post
I talked to Ralph Gilles president of SRT for Chrysler in March at a cars and coffee meet in Carmel (Indianapolis) Indiana. Having been wanting to purchase a Challenger for a while, I asked him when the 'Cuda was going to be released. He said the 'Cuda project had been put on indefinite hold with the restructuring of Chrysler/Fiat and that the 'Cuda project would likely never see the light of day. He did say that in the next year or two (2015 - 2016 model year) that the Challenger would be receiving significant updates to make the chassis lighter and possibly smaller along with a new interior and drive train updates. He said a possible 2" - 3" reduction in wheelbase and a goal of 300 - 400 lbs lighter than the current Challenger with a stripped down SRT model being possibly 500 lbs lighter than the current car, which should put it around 3700 lbs.

He also said that they could change the name to Barracuda (not to be confused with the 'Cuda project) with the new/revised model at any point in time but that Chrysler was pretty sure they were sticking with the Challenger name.

Here is a pic of Ralph's brand new Viper.



I will also add that if you get a chance to talk to him, do it. He is 100% a car enthusiast and loves talking about cars, also he seems like a genuinely good guy.
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Old 05-01-2014, 05:47 AM   #3
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There is still one thing the Mustang has, that currently no other American sports car/pony car has: 50 years of continuous production. Not the Camaro, not the Corvette (lapse in 1983; only 44 were made; none sold to public). Only the Mustang has stayed true to its loyal owners. It stands alone as the longest running American "sports" car.
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Old 05-01-2014, 06:22 AM   #4
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+1 Bucko

and the Mustang was the First Pony car that started it all.




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Old 05-01-2014, 06:35 AM   #5
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That's a good read.

I personally discussed the possibility of a new Cuda with SRT president, Ralph Gilles. He specifically said that a Cuda would likely not happen.

Here is my post about it, Traded my Sixer in...for a Challenger...

Did you guys talk about the possibility of a convertible? They are really missing that market.
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Old 05-01-2014, 10:23 AM   #6
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Still love me a cuda. Really hoping dodge with bring it back as a special edition. I read in one interview, a representative let slip that it could have more horsepower than the viper. That'd be nuts.
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Old 05-01-2014, 10:25 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by GrabberMeBlue View Post
Did you guys talk about the possibility of a convertible? They are really missing that market.

I truly think that the reason Dodge wot do a vert is structural rigidity issues. It's already kind of a boat, I can only imagine that getting worse without the bracing that a roof provides.
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Old 05-01-2014, 12:36 PM   #8
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I truly think that the reason Dodge wot do a vert is structural rigidity issues. It's already kind of a boat, I can only imagine that getting worse without the bracing that a roof provides.

I think that there is a place in California that is doing them after the fact. You would think if they are doing it, the manufacturer could.

A quick search found this place:

http://www.droptopcustoms.com
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Old 05-01-2014, 12:45 PM   #9
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I think that there is a place in California that is doing them after the fact. You would think if they are doing it, the manufacturer could.

A quick search found this place:

http://www.droptopcustoms.com

May not meet safety standards, and again, could negatively effect handling. It does look good tho!
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Old 05-01-2014, 03:58 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrabberMeBlue View Post
Did you guys talk about the possibility of a convertible? They are really missing that market.
Ralph did say that they had looked into a convertible but that it wouldn't happen until the LX platform was revised or replaced. Then with the Fiat take over of Chrysler, a lot of the planned projects were put on hold.

He never went into specifics about which projects this included other than the 'Cuda being put on indefinite hold, I would assume that the convertible Challengers were part of that.
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