Thursday, May 4, 2017

Woulda shoulda Barracuda

My heart skipped a beat when I saw this ride. A 'cuda sitting on the sidewalk next to the BQE? Not any of your Williamsburg BQE either; this is the Gowanus Expressway section where they still have porn shops and XXX video rental places. WHAT IS IT DOING HERE???
I asked the dudes hanging in the open shop if it was a '70 but they said it was a 1973.
From the top: this is a 1973 Plymouth Barracuda with a slight misting of what could be Blue Sky on the corner closest to us. This looks like a truly legendary muscle car. Looks like one.
If you ever see one of these with 4 headlights it's a 1971.
*Special shout-out to the inspection sticker sitting int he windshield.
By 1973 the mightiest engines of yore had been plucked from availability leaving only the 318 and 340 V8s as the engine choices. To be fair the 340 is a great power plant with some racing cred. However as recently as 1971 the 383, 440, and 426 Hemi V8s were options.
The body shell itself is a holdover from 1970 when Plymouth finally divorced the Barracuda from the Valiant line. It certainly looks fun and athletic with its tall haunches big wheel wells. Funny enough in the early days of this generation you could order the reliable but unexciting 225 Slant 6 cylinder. To go even further in a miserly direction you could order a diminutive 198 Slant 6 in 1971 only. If you really hated yourself and wanted to be sad you could've ordered the A93 Barracuda Coupe which had an especially cheap interior and fixed rear quarter windows! To have a hardtop body style and deny the ability to roll down the rear windows is just cruel and odd. Very few were ordered and you can bet almost none exist today.
Those round taillights are '72-'74 only and I think they're the best looking example.
Beginning in '73 there were large federally mandated bumpers added front and rear. They actually looked alright on the Barracuda as they weren't quite as huge as they could've been. I'm assuming that our hero here is stripped for bodywork and that the components are inside.
Not that you can tell but the grill has an aggressive split example with a pronounced vented pointy center. On each side were individual rectangular cutouts outlined in red. The hood is original with its dual mock scoops. They look great when the "scoops" are painted black.
The 1970-1974 Barracuda is so popular that even later models like this are worth real money. I was once taken on a hairy test drive of a 'cuda that had either the 360 or 383 in it. The seller wanted to show it off so a friend of mine and myself climbed in and the guy slammed the gas to the floor! It was by FAR the most absurd test drive I've ever witnessed; donuts, drifting through corners, burnouts, and more donuts! The tires were screaming the entire time and I was flabbergasted and exhilarated. The 1992 asking price was super low, like $1,200 or something yet neither of us bought it. Then again we knew a local teenager with a yellow and white convertible 'cuda he was thinking of selling for $2,000! Woulda shoulda Barracuda.

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