MARCH 17, 2013: THE UNLOVED MOPAR: THE 1967-69 PLYMOUTH BARRACUDA-A FISH WITH A SMALL FOLLOWING

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I was at a recent car auction and two 1969 Barracudas came up on the block.

 

These were Formula S 340 cars and they were clearly in the project phase of life.

 

Both sold in the 7000 dollar range and these were two cars that required varying degrees of work.

 

I was curious how much more these cars would have raised if they were born a year later because ’70 E-body Barracudas are the gold standard for Mopars.

 

 

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The difference is simple math–the same cars with a birth date in 1970 would have been in the 20K range thanks to their much bigger following.

 

These ’69s at the auction were well-optioned cars with factory AC and disc brakes so they were high-end models with low production but they carried the wallflower stigma hung on these 2nd Gen Barracudas.

 

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I remember when the 2nd Gen ’67 Barracudas came out and they blew me away. I was a big fan of the 1st Gen Barracuda (another unloved fish) but I thought they raised the fastback up to an art form on the 1967 version. The car took a lot of heat in the magazines at the time despite the fact that the 383 was a monster under the hood of these lightweight cars.

 

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The 340 just added fuel to the Barracuda fire in ’68 because they still had fury under the hood plus they could handle well when pushed to the limit. Automotive journalists simply didn’t like the look of the Barracuda but it didn’t matter because most guys just saw the tail lights.

 

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My pre-teen mind thought that most automotive writers carried a bias against all things Mopar and I realized later that magazines like Popular Science did push Ford and Chevy to the front at the finish. In one memorable article they tested a ’69 Barracuda against a Camaro and a Mustang. The Plymouth thumped them in every way possible but they still failed the the Barracuda because they didn’t like its “outdated” looks.

 

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The two auction cars were big restoration jobs-they both ran but the one that looked the roughest in primer was actually the better prospect because the painted ‘69 Cuda was a far bigger project.

 

That wouldn’t matter if these were both ’70 Cudas with factory 340s under the hood because the upside, ROI (return on investment) might work out but these ‘69s will top out in value long before you break even.

 

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Maybe that’s the magic part of the equation because the guys who bought these cars might be doing it for all the right reasons. Reasons that are simple like an actual fondness for these Door Number Two Barracudas.

 

That would be heroic in my opinion because the 2nd Gen ’67-69 Barracuda is like the card you dump in a game of poker…it might be good enough to win a game but most guys like the sure thing of an ace or in this case, a ’70 Cuda.

 

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The old Seinfeld show said it best, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that”.

 

But if these two auction cars rise from the ashes I truly believe the world is a better place.

 

Jerry Sutherland

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