The 1970 Barracuda is no longer a Valiant option it is now a separate model and shakes off the image of being an economy car emphatically with the introduction of the ‘cuda Hemi power option in the “E” body type. This new body has a larger engine compartment making room for the Chrysler 426 cu in engine. The ’70 and ’71 “cuda comes in all new vibrant colors like “Vitamin C”, “In Violet”, ‘Sassy Grass Green”, and “Moulin Rouge”; if you liked the decal sets could be added as for an even more aggressive look.
© Raytags | Dreamstime.com – Plymouth Cuda Photo
A convertible is offered along with the three new versions – the base Barracuda, the luxurious Grand Coupe, and the sport model; with the high end models marketed as a ‘cuda. All models are on 108” (2,743.2 mm) wheel base, 186.6” (4,739.6 mm) long, 74.9” (1,902.5 mm) wide, and 50.9” (1,292.9 mm) high with an approximate curb weight of 3,395 lbs (1,540 kg). These two years will make it into any top ten list as contenders for among the best ten muscle cars of all time.
© Raytags | Dreamstime.com – Plymouth Hemi Cuda Convertible Photo
Under the hood the entry level options are a 198 cu in (3.2 L) and a 225 (3.7 L) “slant six” six cylinder engines and then moving up there were three V 8 engines offered; the 318 ci (5.2 L), the 383 ci with a two barrel carburetor and single exhaust, or you could bolt on a four barrel to the 383 (6.3 L) and duel pipes; then it puts out 330 hp (250 kW). The power options also available are the 440 ci (7.2 L) four barrel Super Command with a six pack with 310 hp (230 kW), the 426 Hemi, and a 440 Wedge producing 335 hp (250 kW). The latter three power options all came with upgraded suspension and structural reinforcing but the heavy front end makes for poor weight distribution particularly with the larger engines; it does make the car a bit hard to handle in the curves and turns. The base transmission offer is a three speed standard with the three speed TorqueFlite automatic or the four speed standard as optional equipment.
© Raytags | Dreamstime.com – 1971 Cuda Front Grill Photo
The 1971 Barracuda had cosmetic changes to the grill, tail lights, and some trim details. The ’71 ‘cuda is also the only year that has a four headlight system and is the only year with fender “gills”. All the options are pretty much the same as the ’70 model except the 440 four barrel is not available as all 440 power option are equipped with the six barrel set up. The “shaker hood” is a popular option for both years as is the heavy Dana 60 rear axle. The Dana axle is basic equipment on most of the power options and with the four speed transmission.
Two American racers qualified for three pole positions for the 1970 Trans-Am Series in the Barracuda but did not win or place. They ‘cuda did place second at the Road America race in street versions equipped with the 340 and the six pack – three 2 barrel carburetors. There were four 1970 Hemi equipped ‘cuda’s that fared much better in France. One of these Hemi race cars went on to win three on track races and one hill climbing race of its two year racing life.
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