The tough-sounding ’70s ’Cuda was one of the last flowerings of America’s performance binge. Furiously fast, it was a totally new incarnation of the first ’64 Barracuda and unashamedly aimed at psychopathic street-racers. Cynically, Plymouth even dubbed their belligerent model lineup “The Rapid Transit System.” ’70 Barracudas came in three styles—the ’Cuda was the performance model—and nine engine choices, topped by the outrageous 426cid Hemi.
The Big Three weren’t slow to cash in on the Sixties’ youth boom. Ford couldn’t keep its Mustang project secret and the Chrysler Corporation desperately wanted a piece of the action. But it had to work fast. It took its existing compact, the Plymouth Valiant, prettied up the front end, added a dramatic wrap-around rear window, and called it the Barracuda.
The extraordinary Plymouth Prowler retro-rocket appeared in 1997, though this two-door roadster was actually unlike anything anyone had seen before. The Prowler had a tapering bonnet ending in a triangular grille, open front wheels with motorcycle mudguards, a crouching cabin and high, rounded rear that had unmistakable hot-rod echoes. This fanciful confection was enhanced by zingy paint finishes that boasted names like Purple Metallic, Candy Red, High-Voltage Blue, Inca Gold, Prowler Orange or Black Tie . . . you get the picture. Continue reading “Plymouth Prowler – 1997”
In 1970, Chrysler launched the third generation of its Plymouth Barracuda. Originally developed from the Plymouth Valiant to challenge Ford’s success with the Mustang, the 1970 Barracuda finally got its own platform and exclusive styling. It had Chrysler’s new, wider and slightly shorter E-body. It was a frame for a pugnacious automotive warrior, but only two-door coupes and convertibles were made available, in standard and luxury (Gran Coupe) versions, and a high-performance version was marketed separately as the Plymouth ‘Cuda. Continue reading “Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda – 1970”
The US motor corporations’ 1960s philosophy of ‘planned obsolescence’ meant that every one of them felt compelled to challenge every model of every series produced by a rival. Intense competition combined with rapid technical evolution often led to `junkyard styling’ — creating a ‘brand new’ car out of existing, disparate components. The Plymouth Duster is proof that it could work, and brilliantly. Continue reading “Plymouth Duster 340 – 1970”
In 1968, Mr Muscles met Road Runner, with Plymouth paying Warner Brothers a handsome fee to use the name of that speedy cartoon character who never quite gets caught by Wile E Coyote. Plymouth even developed a signature ‘beep beep’ horn for their lean new beast, which was introduced because muscle cars were getting plump with the passage of time.
1956 was the year of ‘The Forward Look’, when Plymouth sought to amaze its competitors and the US public with tailfin ‘developments’ and a series of ingenious in-car devices. In addition to the V8 ‘Hy-Fire’ engine from the previous year, the 1956 Plymouths could have push-button ‘Powerflite’ automatic transmission and ‘Highway Hi-Fi’, a record player designed to keep the stylus in the platter’s groove while you avoided potholes in the road.