Car: Plymouth ‘Cuda 440 Six-Pack Coupe
What makes it special: Although Chrysler Corporation’s Plymouth Division beat archrival Ford to market by two weeks with the launch of its sporty Barracuda fastback for 1964, sales were consistently poor for the compact Valiant-based Plymouth compared to the Ford Mustang and later Chevrolet Camaro. Design and development work on the new E-Body Barracuda and its Dodge Division stablemate commenced as early as 1965, with styling led by Chrysler designer John Herlitz and carefully refined to virtual perfection by Carl Cameron. By 1968, prototypes were created and fine-tuned. Released for sale in late 1969 for 1970, the Barracuda and Challenger assumed “instant legend” status.
What made it famous: While the new Barracuda offered a classy, GT-themed experience in standard and luxury Gran Coupe guises, most performance-minded Plymouth buyers opted for the aggressive ‘Cuda. Externally distinguished by a revised rear treatment, the base ‘Cuda carried a standard 383 cubic-inch stick underhood, and the 440 big-block was optional in 375-hp 4-barrel and 390-hp “Six Pack” triple-carb form. The Street Hemi occupied the top tier. Both 440- and Hemi-powered cars were equipped with standard high-performance underpinnings including carefully selected rear leaf springs no additional cost. Interestingly, the easy-to-maintain 440 Six Pack ‘Cuda ran closely with the vaunted Hemi, all at a far lower price point and with easier maintenance and tuning requirements.
Why I would want one: It’s the best year of all the ‘Cuda models. I’ll take anything 383 V8 and up!
Fun fact: The first thing many rookies to the collector car worls ask when they come across a ‘Cuda is, Is it a Hemi?” But to the investment minded collector, having an original numbers matching ‘Cuda with the 400 Six-Pack is just as worthy as the Hemi ‘Cuda.