A forgotten example: the Plymouth Barracuda, beat the Mustang!

A forgotten example: the Plymouth Barracuda, beat the Mustang!

The development of the Ford Mustang was indeed one of the most poorly kept secrets in the entire history of the car… This is undoubtedly one of the reasons why the Chrysler group accelerated the development of its “sports collection”! If it was originally called “Panda”, this beautiful Plymouth was eventually called “Barracuda”; A giant carnivorous fish probably conjures up a more “powerful” image than a friendly Chinese bear…

Budget problem…

Like the Mustang, which is based on the mass-production Falcon, the Plymouth Barracuda takes the underpinnings of the Plymouth Valiant, the Dodge Dart’s sister. Alas, the budget allocated by the Chrysler group for the development of this new model is nothing compared to what Ford had planned for its Mustang! Indeed, Chrysler at the time was focusing its efforts on what it thought would be the revolution of the future: the Turbine! At its launch, 1er In April 1964, the Barracuda therefore presents itself as a Hero with a sporty look. In terms of engines, nothing changes: Plymouth offers two in-line 6-cylinder engines and a 4.5-liter V8, with power between 100 and 180 horsepower. Finally, unlike the Mustang, only one body is planned: the “Fastback” coupe.


Faced with the more eye-catching Mustang, offering more muscle engines and benefiting from a completely insignificant marketing budget, the Barracuda struggles to seduce. So Plymouth begins a race for power, mainly by presenting the most sulphurous version, the Formula S! With its 235 horsepower “Commando” V8, stronger suspension, rev control and custom rims, it’s even more brutal than the Barracudas! What to do Ford cruel? Not true: on the contrary, a certain Carroll Shelby played with a Mustang and got a version of more than 300 horsepower from it…

In 1967, Plymouth then decided to revisit its model. The Barracuda begins a new life and will finally surrender its fury to the length of the feather: the V8 will be cuberont up to 7.2 l and will grow not far from 400 horse power! His story will end in 1974, after the law strangles the engine.


Today, buying a first-series Barracuda means opting for authenticity. Rare on this side of the Atlantic, the first Barracudas are not too expensive for all that, with prices starting at 15,000 euros for the 6-cylinder model under review. For a real “System S” in good condition, the estimate is even higher and can reach or even exceed 50,000 euros.

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Christiaens Jean-Francois

About the author: Christiaens Jean-Francois

Jean-François Christiaens has been an automotive journalist since 2005. Passionate about anything that drives, he enjoys discovering electric cars as much as driving a supercar. But his heart leans right instead towards the world of small bombinettes heiress of the GTI era. Although from now on, a nice relaxing break would not leave him alone. Is that where you get old?