Beauty was in the eye of the beholder when Chrysler/ Plymouth added the Barracuda to their lineup in 1964.
The concept was based upon the addition of a giant sloped greenhouse-style fastback window on what was essentially a Valiant.
‘The arrival of the 1964 Barracuda preceded the more famous Mustang in that era, and the ‘Cuda played in the shadow of the celebrated Pony from Ford in the mid-60s.’
The 1964-66 Barracuda was a radical design by anyone’s standards. The question was whether you loved it, or hated it. There was little middle ground on the ’64-66 Barracuda.
I was one of the people who loved this design. It was a new direction for Chrysler; a company that had taken a fairly conservative design philosophy since the legendary Virgil Exner put some of the best fins in the business on his Forward Look 50s cars.
After the last Mopar fins bit the dust in the early 60s, Chrysler wanted to stay the course on production models- until the 1964 Barracuda hit the showrooms. All bets were off after the Barracuda made its debut.
As I said earlier, I always liked the big-windowed Barracuda. And I loved the outrageous “ Hemi Under Glass” wheel-stander and show-stopper from the drag tracks of the mid 60s.
My only experience behind the wheel of a first edition Barracuda occurred during my early high school days in the 70s. One of my classmates owned one and he was stupid enough to let a 15-year-old me drive his 273-powered ‘Cuda.
That little small block could really dance and it is still a mystery how I survived some of the worst stunt driving ever done by a kid with about ten seconds worth of driving experience. The car’s owner marveled at my ability to drive the wheels off his Barracuda, but he never factored in that I was barely able to hold his car on the road. We were always mere nano- seconds away from dead teenage legend status during that entire escapade.
So the 1964-66 Plymouth Barracuda definitely makes our 24 Cars of Christmas list.
Maybe they weren’t the best-loved cars ever made, but they always made an impression on people.
Jim Sutherland @mystarcollectorcar.com
DENNIS: “The 1st generation Barracuda was a great little car. The high revving 273 V8 had a lot of potential. Of course if you were trying to sit in those little tiny back seats, you wanted to have plenty of sun block on.
GORDIE:”I LOVED this car! Brother Bob and I worked at Northwest Motors in Red Deer when the first one came in – It was “catch me” red, 273 Hi Performance (big square tailpipe); and we “test drove” it a bunch; before Tony Purnell took delivery of it. It was bad ass; and sounded great”.
BUTCH:”I remember the car well Gordie………Ross St. west to C.P.R. station…….go back east to Plaza shopping center……….repeat course about thirty five times a night…….maybe mix in atrip through Dog and Sud’s………then go home. SIDE WALKS WERE ROLLED UP AT 11 P.M. BACK THEN”.
RYAN: “I’m gonna be completely honest… those 1st gen Barracudas were very ugly… that’s just my opinion. I think that car is a bit of an acquired taste”
STAN:” It will grow on you….(may take another few years haha)”