’Cuda was the moniker officially applied to the highest performance versions of the Plymouth Barracuda beginning in 1970. There were, in addition, nine very bright unconventional colors to choose from and a large choice of decal kits, and the shaker hood was also on the options sheet. Added together, these features gave the new ’Cuda a menacing, in-your-face look. The Barracuda was an all-new model and no longer only an option package and bore no resemblance to its economical Valiant beginnings. The sheet metal on this “E” platform Plymouth is model specific, and Plymouth enlarged the engine compartment to accommodate the largest power plant that Chrysler made. Both the 440 and the 426 have the same suspension with some structural reinforcing to handle the amount of torque and horsepower generated by these high output engines. The Barracuda was on the Chrysler “E” body, which was a little wider and shorter version of the existing “B” platform. The entire Barracuda lineup is 186.7 inches (4,742.18 mm) long overall, on a 108.0-inch (2,743.2mm) wheelbase and has a curb weight in the neighborhood of 3,395 pounds ( 1,539.95 kg).
Any Barracuda from the third generation was one of the most coveted muscle cars ever made, but if it had a 426-cubic-inch (7.0L) Hemi engine under the hood, the car was in a class shared by very few vehicles. This generation Barracuda seemed to transcend manufacturers, with dedicated Chevy and Ford fans also admitting the model as an achievement that’s hard to match.
1970 Barracuda with the shaker hood but without the Hemi engine
All the street Hemi ’Cuda units were assembled in the Hamtramck Detroit plant, and 652 of them, including 14 convertibles, went out the assembly room doors in 1970. The fender tag was on the driver’s side under the hood and read from bottom to top/left to right, but required some skill to decipher. For example, in the fourth three-digit grouping from the left, on the bottom line, the last character should be a “B” to show it was vehicle manufactured at the Hamtramck plant. All the information on what options were originally installed on the vehicle from the factory was on the tag, but it needed decoding to accurately decipher the meaning. The basic 1970 ’Cuda as ordered from a showroom set you back around $3,164 MSRP, although if you could come up with an extra $871.45, then the 426 street Hemi engine was an option.
The transmission was a three-speed standard, but an optional four-speed manual added $194.85, or the “727” TorqueFlite three-speed automatic had a similar price. There were 368 of the automatic transmission, 264 with the standard four-speed, and the balance had a three-speed. You could have also optioned an AM radio with a built in eight-track stereo tape deck for an extra $196.25, and a rear speaker for full stereo sound upped the ante another $14.05, but a working version of this setup may be a priceless option to have now.