Barracudas received new styling for 1967, when notchback coupe and convertible body styles joined the existing fastback.

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Introduction to 1967-1969 Plymouth Barracuda

Ten years after Chrysler dramatically captured the styling initiative from GM with Virgil Exner's "Forward Look," the 1967-1969 Plymouth Barracuda almost repeated the feat -- but Chrysler itself was modest.

One designer frankly acknowledged GM's leadership when he said the Barracuda followed "GM's flowing styling" -- referring to the techniques rather than any outright copying. "Stylists attend the same schools, live and work in similar environments, and are influenced by one another's work."

Of course, that kind of thinking has spawned recent generations of Buicks that look like Oldsmobiles, and Eldorados that look like Toronados. The Barracuda may have followed a set technique -- smooth, flowing curves blended to form a palatable whole -- yet it was distinct, not easily confused with a Mustang or Camaro.

As in the past, the new Barracuda shared the Valiant under structure, but the skins were entirely different. The wheelbase was lengthened by two inches, the overall length by five, and a sleek hardtop and convertible joined the fastback.

Engineering features remained the same: torsion-bar front suspension, leaf-springs out back, unit body/chassis. Wheel size increased to 14 inches for better load capacity, and several mandated safety features, such as a collapsible steering column and dual braking system were added.

Plymouth also placed the Barracuda in more competitive price territory: The hardtop started at only $2,449, the convertible around $2,775 -- exactly in line with Mustang.

It was darn good marketing, and it paid off. Production of 1967 Plymouth Barracudas totaled more than 60,000; 4,228 of these were convertibles, and the rest were about evenly split between coupes and fastbacks. The latter represented a much larger proportion of the total than did the Mustang fastback, suggesting the appeal of the handsome new Barracuda design to customers.

The new design brought more underhood room for a big-block engine, and Plymouth wasted little time in making a 280-horsepower version of the 383 V-8 an option. This could be combined with the familiar Formula S package.

See the next section for details on the 1968 and 1969 Plymouth Barracudas.

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Few changes were evident for the 1968 Barracuda though the base V-8 grew from 273 to 318 cid.

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1967, 1968, 1969 Plymouth Barracuda

Due to its success, the Plymouth Barracuda was not drastically changed until 1970. A vertical-bar grille appeared for 1968, a checkered grille and redesigned taillights in 1969.

Federal smog regulations were now in place, and Plymouth was altering its engines to meet the emissions mandates. For 1968, the 273 was replaced as Barracuda's base V-8 by the "detoxed" 318.

A small-block 340 V-8, created by virtue of a bore increase to the 318, became an option. This was good for 275 horsepower with its four-barrel carburetor and 10.5:1 compression. The big-block 383 returned, now with 300 horsepower.

Plymouth also issued a limited number of Hemi-powered Barracudas for quarter-mile action, mostly for the factory team of Ronnie Sox and Buddy Martin. Like other Plymouth "drag specials" of the early to mid-1960s, these Hemis were lightened considerably, possessing only the barest of necessities to be street-legal.

In 1969, the third and final year for this body style, a new performance option was introduced, appropriately dubbed the 'Cuda. At first, it came only with the 275-horsepower 340 or an upgraded 383 with 330 horses. Later came a whopping 440 engine, rated at 375 horsepower.

Information on the existence of Hemi-engined 'Cudas in 1969 is sketchy, with conflicting information on how many, if any, were built.

However, the Barracudas most people bought were powered not by Hemis or 383s or 440s but rather 273s, 318s, and 340s. The best ones had four-speeds and the tight Formula S suspension and the most flexible back axle ratio-3.23:1, not one of the stump-pulling lower ratios.

With this setup, the typical Plymouth Barracuda was as good or better off the line than a Triumph TR4 or an Austin-Healey and could equal either one of them around a hairpin without embarrassment.

Despite being the most popular model, the fastback body style would not be offered for the 1970s.

©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

The 'Cuda basically understeered but could be made to oversteer with a judicious poke at the throttle, and it would drift around a turn in the classic sports car fashion with as much grace as an English import.

The stiff suspension "did tend to show its teeth on poor surfaces," one road tester admitted, "but it's something we would be loathe to pass up if we were buying a Barracuda, because we feel its benefits far outweigh its drawbacks." One of its benefits was embarrassing sports cars.

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The little-changed 1969 Plymouth Barracudas were the last of this generation.

©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

1967, 1968, 1969 Plymouth Barracuda Specifications

The 1967-1969 Plymouth Barracuda offered smooth, flowing curves and solid performance -- all at an competitive price. Find specifications for the 1967-1969 Plymouth Barracuda below.

Specifications

Engines: ohv 1-6, 225 cid (3.40 x 4.13), 145 horsepower; ohv V-8, 273 cid (3.62 x 3.31), 180-235 horsepower; 318 cid (3.91 x 3.31), 230 horsepower; 340 cid (4.04 x 3.31), 275 horsepower; 383 cid (4.25 x 3.38), 280-330 horsepower; 440 cid (4.32 x 3.75), 375 horsepower

Transmissions: 3-speed manual; 4-speed manual, 3-speed automatic optional

Suspension front: upper and lower control arms, longitudinal torsion bars

Suspension rear: live axle, leaf springs

Brakes: front/rear drums; front discs optional

Wheelbase (in.): 108.0

Weight (lbs): 2,793-2,940

Top speed (mph): 118

0-60 mph (sec): 5.6

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