Plymouth Barracuda 1970 and 1971 Big Muscle
The Plymouth Barracuda is all new for 1970 and has dropped the fast back on the coupe so all ties with the Valiant are severed and it can now shake the stigma of being an economy car. The new version, coins the moniker of “‘cuda” on all the higher performance models with the name taken from a performance option package offered first in ’69.
The all new ‘cuda is now on the Chrysler “B platform with the E body” and it shares this platform with the Challenger although there is no similar sheet metal-only sharing the chassis design but the ‘cuda is on a two inch shorter wheel base. The car is offered in two versions for ’70 and ’71-the entry level (BH) Barracuda and the luxuriously appointed Grand Coupe (BP). The 1971 model year also offers a plain jane coupe version with fixed rear passenger windows and a minor B pillar. The engine compartment now offers more space and has ample room for the newly released 426 cu in (7.0 L) hemi.
The 1970 Barracuda can be equipped with a choice of two six cylinder engines but four V8 options with a few power variations for the ‘cuda are on the table. The base is a single exhaust 318ci, then single exhaust two barrel 383ci, and the four barrel version of the 383ci with duel exhaust developing 270 hp (200 kW) SAE gross. The third V8 engine option is the 440ci four barrel giving 310 hp (230 kW), then the Super Commando is equipped with a “six pack” putting out 335 hp (250 kW) with the fourth engine being the 426ci Hemi offering 425 hp-almost one hp per cubic inch. The latter two big power options are basically equipped with a heavy duty suspension and also received structural reinforcement. The weighty but heavy duty Dana 60 rear axle is standard on the large engines equipped with the four speed but could be an option for some of the smaller V8’s equipped with an automatic. The shaker hood was also an option with the large engine choices.
The 1971 ‘cuda has some changes with higher fuel prices, increased insurance surcharges for muscle cars, and more stringent EPA regulations for emissions getting increasingly more oppressive for those that want to drive high performance V8’s. The result of this is reduced horse power rating on all high performance engines. Another result is the 1971 ‘cuda is not available with the four barrel 440 V8 with all the 440ci engines now equipped with the six pack with it putting out a modestly reduced 330 hp (250 kW) and the 383ci four barrel is now detuned slightly to develop 250 hp (190 kW).
Other options for ’70-’71 include hood modifications, decal sets, and some new in-your-face color choices such as “Sassy Grass Green” or “In-Violet” among others. The 1971 Barracuda has a face lift with renewed trim, grill, taillights, as well the ‘71 is the only year to have a four head light system and the fender “gills” or ribbing. The interiors on both years can be very luxuriously appointed if you like with power seat adjustment, leather seats, power windows, plush carpeting, as well as a sun roof are choices to be made.
Starting in the 1970 model year the cars are all heavier with the new rules for impact absorbing bumpers on all makes and models sold in the U.S. with all the Chrysler E body doors reinforced with heavy steel beams for side impact protection all adding pounds.
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