1971 Plymouth

"Hemi Cuda"


Configuration: Longitudinal Front Engine, Rear Wheel Drive

Engine: 7.0 Liter (426 C.I.) Hemi V8

Displacement: 426cid/6.98L

Horsepower: 425hp @ 5000 RPM

Torque: 490 ft-lbs @ 4000 RPM

Transmission: 4-speed manual

0-60 MPH: 5.2 Seconds

Top speed: 140 MPH

Weight: 3721 lbs.

The Plymouth ‘Cuda was the third generation of the Plymouth Barracuda, originally introduced in 1964. This specific Cuda has matching numbers and one of 59 built with a 4-speed manual. The interior is finished off in white which contrasts nicely against the mainly black exterior.

With Ford set to release its Mustang midway through that year, and Chevrolet already having great success with the Corvette, Plymouth came up with the “Pony Car.” Plymouth took inspiration from the rear end of the Mustang and the rear windshield of the Corvette to create the Pony Car.

Clearly, Plymouth was unconcerned with the unoriginal appearance of the car, so long as it performed and sold well. In fact, they were so unconcerned with originality that Plymouth advertised the new Barracuda to be an extension of their Valiant line, a moderately successful compact car. While the second generation of the Barracuda had started to become slightly more individualized, it was still largely based off of the Valiant line. The Barracuda wasn’t taken seriously as a muscle car until a run of 50 cars were sent to Hurst Performance in 1969 to be prepped for the NHRA and SCCA race season. All 50 cars were equipped with the 426cid Hemi engine, the first ever from Plymouth, fitted with largely fiberglass bodies to lighten their loads, and completely illegal on the streets.

By the time the third generation of Barracudas was released, they had finally made a name for themselves in the muscle car world. The ‘Cudas hadn’t, however, created their own unique bodystyle. In fact, they shared the same E-body platform as the recently released Dodge Challenger. The Plymouth Barracuda was sold with the same body as the Dodge Challenger from 1970-1974, but was offered with six different engine choices: a 340cid, a 383cid, a 440cid Magnum, a 440cid six-barrel, and the 426cid Hemi. Only the more performance-oriented models were sold as  “Cudas.”

To demonstrate the power and prowess of the new ‘Cudas, Plymouth hired Dan Gurney’s All American Racers to prepare and race two ‘Cudas at Laguna Seca. The cars were driven by Dan Gurney at the SCCA Trans Am Championships against the Camaro, the Mustang, the Javelin, and even the Dodge Challenger.

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