This 1970 Plymouth ‘Cuda Is Ready To Rumble Its Way Into Your Heart

If a country could be defined by sound only, the U.S. would most definitely be represented by the rumble of a giant V8. There aren’t a lot of things that make us fizz like a big, shaky American motor, and this ‘Cuda packs a big one behind that lime-colored bodywork, so let’s dive. Before getting to the car itself, let’s glance over the models’ history, as it is a really interesting one.

The ‘Cuda story starts in the ‘50s. Back then, a wave of small, fuel-efficient European cars took America by storm. In the face of this threat, domestic manufacturers had to think quickly and pump out cars that could match.

Thus, cars like the Chevy Corvair and Ford Falcon came to life. Plymouth’s answer was launched in 1960 in the form of the Valiant. It was a daring design, and it did really well, being praised for its performance and reliability over the competitors.

In 1962, though, things changed, because Ford had big plans. Word on the street was that the Blue Oval was working on a sporty car for young people. Hearing that, Plymouth wanted to get ahead of the competition, so just two weeks before the launch of the Mustang, the Barracuda version of the Valiant was released – technically making it the first-ever pony car.

The Barracuda was a sporty version of the Valiant. It fell short of the Mustang, as the grandpa looks were still there – and the crummy, 180 hp (183 ps) power output didn’t help it either. Things were looking grim for Plymouth, so back they went to the drawing board.

So, in 1965, the Barracuda got even sportier. It also got competitive performance in the form of a 235 hp (239 ps) Commando V8. It paid off, as the new iteration tripled in sales compared to the previous one.

In 1967, the Barracuda became its very own model, which was amazing news, as people were still associating it with the boring Valiant. For the following years, things picked up quickly for Plymouth’s pony car. Engines got bigger, colors brighter, and the exhaust louder.

This excessive extravaganza hit its peak in the golden years of American muscle – ‘69, ‘70, and ‘71. In 1969, a performance package for the Barracuda was introduced, and it arguably has one of the best names a car could get – the ‘Cuda.

In 1970, the Barracuda entered its third iteration, and it was nothing like the previous ones. It switched from the A-body to the E-body platform, which it shared with the Dodge Challenger. Thus, it finally managed to get rid of the economy car stigma and fully grow into performance status.

You could get a Barracuda in 1970 in three configurations – the normal Barracuda, the Grand Coupe, and the all-mighty ‘Cuda, which is the car we are talking about today.
This 1970 ‘Cuda is finished in Limelight. If this color seems crazy, just take a look at what other options you had – Crazy Plum, Sassy Green, Curious Yellow, or Moulin Rouge.Advertisement

The bright green paint is complemented by a Rallye hood with dual scoops, 14-inch wheels wrapped in BFGoodrich Radial T/A rubber, and 440 decals – which hints at the monster that lays under the hood, but we’ll get to that later.

Stepping inside, you are greeted by bucket seats, and rear bench wrapped in black vinyl upholstery, and the ultra-cool Hurst Pistol-Grip shifter. The center console features woodgrain inserts, as does the steering wheel. Speaking of the steering wheel, behind it, you will find an AutoGage tachometer, a 120 mph (200 kph) speedo, and more auxiliary gauges.

Under the hood is where things get even more fun. As I said, the ‘Cuda package was the performance-oriented version of the Barracuda. Among the suspension and other goodies, the biggest changes of the go-fast variant were under the hood. The standard ‘Cuda came with a 383 ci (6.2 liters) engine. But this is no trivial 383 engine powering it, no.

This is the big dog, the biggest engine you could get, the humongous 440. With 7.2 liters rumbling under the hood, this ‘Cuda is good for 390 hp (395 ps). That said, this SuperCommando V8 with the six-pack carbs wasn’t the most powerful version of the ‘Cuda. If you think that almost 400 hp in a car from the ‘70s isn’t scary enough, you could opt for the 426 Hemi, which churned a massive 425 hp (430 ps).

Power from the massive 440 is sent to the rear wheels via a four-speed manual transmission and a Dana60 rear axle. Stopping, or better said, trying to stop that big lump of an engine are power-assisted disk brakes on the front and drums on the rear.

This ‘Cuda is currently up at auction in Huntsville, Alabama. It was resprayed in its original color previously and some more work has been done on the mechanical side. It comes with partial service records, refurbishment photos, and 800 miles on the clock (1300 km), but it most certainly has rolled over once. The car is offered with Alabama registration in the sellers’ name and it currently sits at 70,000 dollars with three days left on the auction.

After that, the Barracuda stuck around only until 1974, with the oil crisis claiming another victim. There was one more attempt at reviving it in 1975, with a Superbird-inspired look, but that didn’t happen. But surprisingly, there is good news. The Barracuda might be coming back, with a Dodge badge on the front in 2024.

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