1970 to 1074 Plymouth Barracuda Guide

1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, & 1974 Plymouth Barracuda Guide: Specs, Performance & More

The era that THE American musclecar met its demise

1970 Plymouth Barracuda Hemi
Photo Source: Automobilemag.com

Here it is. The top echelon of muscle car status, performance, and design. Did the designers of the 1970 Barracuda realize that this was going to be the car of cars? Most likely not. It was redone due to dropping sales and the peaking muscle market. What it became was supernatural.

Built with a completely new design, the car’s height was lowered, length was shortened (by six inches), and was widened by some 4 inches. The new car had a much more broad stance and it gave a very drag-like profile. With a higher rear quarter (without the use of raisers) appearance, and widened front maw, this car now looked like it meant business.

Alongside its cousin, the first-generation Dodge Challenger and the successful reveal of the 1970 Challenger, the Plymouth Barracuda would thrive on the E-platform and would earn a cult following unlike anything else in the classic car world.

1970 Plymouth Barracuda Hemi
1970 Barracuda Photo Source: Barrett-Jackson
1967 Plymouth Barracuda
1967 Barracuda Photo Source: Barrett-Jackson

As you can see from the above comparison, the new car lost the full-fastback look and developed massive rear haunches. The lowered stance, bigger wheel arches and smaller looking wheelbase all made the car look aggressive and the performance matched. There would never be a more capable Barracuda than the ’70 & ’71 Cudas.

Model 1970-1974 Plymouth Barracuda
Type 2-door
Names & Trims Barracuda, Barracuda Gran Coupe, ‘Cuda, ‘Cuda Hardtop Coupe, Coupe + Convertible
Engines 170ci I6, 225ci I6, 318ci V8, 340ci, V8, 383ci V8, 440ci V8, 426ci V8
Price range 1970: $2,764-$3,433
1971: $2,654-$3,412
1972: $2,710-$3,029
1973: $2,935-$3,120
1974: $3,067-$3,252

*Consumer Guide: Encyclopedia of American Cars

1970 to 1974 Plymouth Barracuda Year Overviews

1970 Barracuda/’Cuda

1970 Plymouth AAR 'Cuda 340
Photo Source: drivingemotions.com

As I said before, the new body style was immensely more aggressive and hunkered. The engine list for ’70 would be the biggest in the ‘Cuda’s lifespan and would include everything from a wimpy 225ci I6, to a monstrous 426 Hemi V8. The fish now had a rocket pack strapped to its back and there was no longer a Ford Mustang capable of catching it (as good as the 1970 Mustang was, it simply didn’t have the horsepower).

Beyond the outward spec differences, the car received interior, suspension, transmission, exhaust, and aerodynamic upgrades that also made this more of a speed-demon than ever before. On top of that, you also had louver, wing and spoiler add-ons, decal sets, and the largest color palate in the automotive world.

1971 Barracuda/’Cuda

1971 Plymouth Barracuda 340
Photo Source: mosingmotors.com

Along the lines of the changes for the 1970 to 1971 Challengers, the Barracuda’s re-work for 1971 was slight. The grille-work was more aircraft-inspired, fake side vents were added, and the rear taillights were more accented. The overall performance was as intoxicating, however, with this Hemi being thought to be one of the quickest muscle cars produced.

In actuality, the ’70 Hemi Cuda was no less of a sprinter – carrying similar curb weight, same 4-speed transmission, and same 426 Hemi terror under the hood. More than anything, lower production numbers have made the ’71 the most prized and rare of the ‘Cudas – accounting for their more prevalent 6-figure price tags.

1972 to 1974 Barracuda/’Cuda

1973 Plymouth Barracuda
Photo Source: HotRod

1972 to 1974 Barracudas would grow more and more lethargic and by its demise, the high engine option would only carry 240hp. The interior and options lists would be relatively long just the same, but the overall feel of the car was growing steadier toward everyday-driver instead of the track-day star.

The Barracuda, like the Challenger, ended its reign before its time. Like the Challenger, it also stopped production at the end of 1974. The last three years of the Barracuda’s life was spent in the downward spiral of emission restrictions that just about choked the life out of it. Unlike the Challenger, however, its name would never return on a Chrysler product.

1970 to 1974 Plymouth Barracuda Specifications, Options, & Interior

The 1970 Barracuda’s physical dimensions:

  • Length: 186.6 inches
  • Width: 74.8 inches
  • Height: 50.9 inches

Interior

1971 Plymouth Barracuda interior
Photo Source: Barrett-Jackson

The new interior for the Barracuda was a refreshing change from old. The Seats were restyled-buckets and sat behind a simple, non-chrome laiden dash that was befitting of the typical Mopar racer. It was another example of the transformation into muscle supremacy versus simple muscle car.

It wasn’t all vigor and vim. The interior was wider than ever before; had wood grain accents and steering wheel; incorporated some newly designed transmission setups; and sat behind amazing new hood setups that prominently displayed the new power options. This was an exciting new place to be for sure.

1970 to 1974 Plymouth Barracuda Engines

1971 Plymouth Hemi Cuda 426ci engine
Photo Source: Barrett-Jackson

The 1970 engine list was long indeed. The base I6 engines would be enough to make the fish flop to the store, but the line of invigorating V8s would keep buyers busy trying to decide what was best for them. Was it a mild 318ci with a fair 230 horsepower or would it be a 390 horsepower, six-pack 440ci fire-breather?

Engine options would drop quickly, and by 1974, there would be just two engine options – the 318ci V8 and the 340ci V8. Power ratings would be tallied in “net” and would be as low as a Barracuda carried since its spawning.

1970 Plymouth Barracuda Engines

1970 Barracuda “Standard” Engine Specifications

Displacement/

Cylinders

198 ci I6 225 ci I6 318 ci V8 340 ci V8 383 ci V8
Bore & Stroke (in.) 3.4×3.64 3.4×4.12 3.91×3.31 4.04×3.31 4.25×3.38
Carburator 1bbl 1bbl 2bbl 4bbl 2bbl
Compression 8:4:1 8:4:1 8:8:1 8:8:1 8:7:1
Air Cleaner Single Single Single Dual Single
Exhaust System Single Single Single Dual Single
Crankcase 3¼ quarts – 4 quarts when replacing oil filter on all engines except the 440 and 426 when it is 5 and 6 respectively.

Closed crankcase ventilation with cleaner air system standard on all engines.

Coolant 10.8 qts. 10.8 qts. 13.3 qts. 12.5 qts 12.1 qts
Horsepower 125 @ 4400 145 @ 4000 230 @ 4400 275 @ 5000 290 @ 4400
Torque 215 @ 2400 320 @ 2000 340 @ 3200 390 @ 2800
Fuel Recommended Regular Regular Regular Premium Regular

1970 Barracuda “Performance” Engine Specifications

Displacement/

Cylinders

383 ci V8 440 ci V8 440 ci   SixPack 426 ci V8
Bore & Stroke (in.) 4.25×3.38 4.32×3.75 4.32×3.75 4.25×3.75
Carburator 4bbl 4bbl 3x2bbl 2x4bbl
Compression 9:5:1 9:7:1 10:5:1 10:25:1
Air Cleaner Double Double Unsilenced Unsilenced
Exhaust System Dual Dual Dual Dual
Crankcase 3¼ quarts – 4 quarts when replacing oil filter on all engines except the 440 and 426 when it is 5 and 6 respectively.

Closed crankcase ventilation with cleaner air system standard on all engines.

Coolant 15 qts. 16 qts. 16 qts. 17 qts.
Horsepower 335 @ 5200 375 @ 4600 390 @ 4700 425 @ 5000
Torque 425 @ 3400 480 @ 3200 490 @ 3200 490 @ 4000
Fuel Recommended premium premium premium premium

Performance

  • 1970 426 Hemi ‘Cuda, 425hp
    • 0 to ¼mile: 13.1 seconds @ 107 mph*
  • 1971 440 ‘Cuda, 390hp
    • 0 to ¼mile: 13.7 seconds @ 106 mph**
  • 1972 340 ‘Cuda, 240hp
    • 0 to ¼mile: 15.5 seconds @ 91 mph***

*Source: Car Craft, **Source: Super Stock & Drag, ***Source: Car & Driver

 Plymouth Barracuda Production Numbers

Sales for 1970 was a bounce-back from the 1969 Barracuda year. Doubling last year’s numbers, the Barracuda would then spiral into oblivion for 1974 with just over 11,600 total units. As impressive as the early generation-3 cars were, there were no stopping the ominous march of economy and frugality. Hopefully, the name will spawn again in the future.

1970 Plymouth Barracuda Production Numbers

Barracuda Hardtop

Barracuda Convertible

25,651

1,554

Barracuda Gran Coupe Hardtop Coupe

Barracuda Gran Coupe Convertible Coupe

8,183

596

‘Cuda Hardtop Coupe

‘Cuda Convertible Coupe

18,880

635

*Consumer Guide Encyclopedia of American Cars

1971 Plymouth Barracuda Production Numbers

Barracuda Coupe 2-door 9,459
Barracuda Hardtop Coupe
Barracuda Convertible 1,014
Gran Coupe Hardtop Coupe V8 1,615
‘Cuda Hardtop Coupe 6,228
‘Cuda Convertible Coupe V8 374

*Consumer Guide Encyclopedia of American Cars

1972 Plymouth Barracuda Production Numbers

Barracuda Hardtop Coupe 10,622
‘Cuda Hardtop Coupe 7,828

*Consumer Guide Encyclopedia of American Cars

1973 Plymouth Barracuda Production Numbers

Barracuda Hardtop Coupe 11,587
‘Cuda Hardtop Coupe 10,626

*Consumer Guide Encyclopedia of American Cars

1974 Plymouth Barracuda Production Numbers

Barracuda Hardtop Coupe 6,745
‘Cuda Hardtop Coupe 4,989

*Consumer Guide Encyclopedia of American Cars

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