Car: Plymouth Barracuda
What makes it special: The Barracuda was manufactured by Plymouth for the 1964 to 1974 model years. The first-generation Barracuda, a hardtop fastback, was based on the A-body platform shared with the Valiant model. The first generation car featured distinctive wraparound back glass and was marketed from 1964 to 1966.
What made it famous: In 1965, the 225 “Slant-6” became the base engine for the U.S. market. New options were introduced for the Barracuda as the competition among Pony Cars intensified. The 273 engine was made available as an upgraded Commando version with a 4-barrel carburetor, 10.5:1 compression, and a more aggressive camshaft, still with solid tappets. These and other upgrades increased the engine’s output to 235 bhp. Also in 1965, the Formula ‘S’ package was introduced. It included the Commando V8 engine, suspension upgrades, larger wheels and tires, special emblems, and a tachometer. Disc brakes and factory-installed air conditioning became available after the start of the 1965 model year.
Why I would want one: I love Valiants, and I love Barracuda’s, so this is the best of both. Totally love its huge rear window look.
Fun fact: Plymouth’s executives had wanted to name the new model Panda, an idea unpopular with its designers. In the end, a suggestion of Barracuda won. The success of the Mustang has long obscured the fact that the Barracuda actually predated the Ford’s introduction by two weeks, and in reality is the actual first “Pony Car.”