By Sam Lockin
We believe that Chrysler-Fiat is on the verge of making a big decision that helps the Cuda Brothers cause; “Preserving the Barracuda Legend.” The rumors that have been floating around for a few years now is the reintroduction of the Barracuda as Chrysler’s way to compete with the Camaro and Mustang, which have each outperformed the Challenger in sales by 2 to 1. Rumor also has it that Chrysler-Fiat also plans on ending the production of the Challenger as part of the plan.
Most of the pictures of the new Barracuda and rumors appear to be good choices if you did not understand what made the Plymouth Barracuda and ‘Cuda the iconic and best muscle car of all time. Some of the rumors floating around including even the name of the car are deal breakers in the mind of the Cuda Brothers and other Barracuda enthusiasts. For example, one rumor was to call the car a Dodge. Even though we like Dodges and the name falls under the Mopar name, a Barracuda should never be a Dodge. This article aims to summarize most of the key rumors floating while providing our opinion as to the direction we feel that Chrysler-Fiat should take.
The Barracuda was introduced in 1964 just 14 days prior to the introduction of the Mustang as an A body car. The Valiant was the platform from which the Barracuda was born. Windows and badging along with other minor changes were implemented for the Barracuda and some of the early year Barracudas were called Valiant/Barracuda. There was a slight change in design in 1966 and then they muscled up the car a bit for the 1967-1969 models before the introduction of the E body in 1970. The E “body” style continued with minor differences between 1970 through 1974. A slight variation occurred with the 1971 Barracuda as this was the only year with 4 headlights and gills on the front fenders. The last production year for the Barracuda was 1974. For the sake of focusing on the new rumored Barracuda, we will save the history of this great car to another blog. For a real nice way of seeing the differences between all the production cars between 1964 through 1974, we encourage you to check out ‘Cuda Brother Flickr favorites photo gallery of these cars which you will see had a great influence in what we hope to see in the near future.
The Mustang never stopped production and Chevy reintroduced the Camaro after being out of production for a short period of time. We are sure Chrysler executives often questioned why they stopped production of the Barracuda, thus the reintroduction of the Challenger. Now that Plymouth was gone, making the decision to reintroduce the Dodge Challenger instead of the Barracuda made sense to some. There is not a lot of information out there about the Orange ‘Cuda shown here other than the thought that Chrysler put this car our there at SEMA 2007 as a feeler to see if there was interest. This looks a lot like the 1970 AAR Cuda with a shaker hood that was typically installed on the Hemi Cuda. ‘Cuda Brothers really like the look of this car but it is too close to the original and in today’s world of smaller cars, this is not likely to be the new car that is introduced. If you want to see more pictures of this ‘Cuda you can check them out here.
‘Cuda – SEMA 2007
There were even rumors that a new Barracuda would be called a Dodge Barracuda. Next came the rumor that the new Barracuda would join the SRT (Street and Racing Technology) division. You can check out the current SRT cars at www.drivesrt.com/street This next paragraph is a direct insert from their website. Notice that they even indicate, “Whispers of rumors”. It is no accident that Chrysler occasionally leaks out rumors but are keeping the overall look and plans a deep secret.
“You may know them as phantoms in the urban landscape. Whispers of rumors. Hovering on your peripheral vision. Or always just ahead, rear lights taunting. Now the entire SRT® lineup is captured under glass, awaiting your examination. An entire brand fueled by passion for street and racing technology. Adhering to five hallmarks that set SRT apart: awe-inspiring powertrain; outstanding ride, handling and capability; benchmark braking; aggressive and functional exteriors; and race-inspired and high-performance interiors. Time may stop but it never stands still.”
The SRT models introduced have varied from year to year. The 2013 SRT models include the Chrysler 300, Charger, Challenger, Grand Cherokee, Charger, and Viper. Currently the only 2014 model listed is the Grand Cherokee. This might explain the rumor that the new Barracuda is going to be introduced in 2015, which is believed to be replacing the Dodge Challenger. There are also rumors that the Viper is coming to an end. Current rules for the Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, program mandate an average of about 29 miles per gallon, with gradual increases to 35.5 m.p.g. by 2016. Having too many high mileage cars in the Chrysler fleet would drastically impact their options which may also explain the reason for adding a 4 cylinder engine to the Barracuda line along with a 6 cylinder and yes, one or two Hemi engines.
Car and Driver Rumors
Car and Driver displays the following pictures as the most likely Barracuda to be introduced in 2014 as a 2015 model. The Barracuda is expected to lose more than six inches from the Challenger’s wheelbase and about eight inches in overall length. The width will be slightly smaller and the overall weight will be about 300 pounds lighter than the current Challenger. The Car and Driver report provides more details including some information about Fiat’s desire to introduce a rear-drive Alfa Romeo using the same platform as the rear wheel drive Barracuda. For just a bit more information, click here.
It is expected that the powertrain will include the new 2.4 liter inline four, a 3.6 Liter Pentastar V-6, and a Barracuda is not a ‘Cuda without a Hemi engine. Which one is anyone’s guess? It is our belief that the SRT badge will require at least one of the cars to include a high performance Hemi.
There is a real good chance that the new Barracuda will look something like this car. ‘Cuda Brothers likes the look of this car but not necessarily with a Barracuda name. The front end is a bit too futuristic to resemble the Barracuda that we all remember but it does look fast.
Photos from Allpar
The following pictures are from Allpar
The two yellow cars here are the most current updates as of 1-21-13 and the first two cars posted here have been posted for at least 6 months, maybe longer.
‘Cuda Bro Sam’s View
The Barracuda has been part of my life since the late 70’s and it is important to me that the new Barracuda resembles the older Barracuda in some way rather than looking like a Kia or Honda. I have nothing against those cars but they are not Barracudas.
‘Cuda Bro Dan’s View
The ending of the Barracuda in 1974 meant nothing to me at the time. In 1977, at the age of 16 my eyes were open to what a great car this was when I rode in my brother’s Barracuda. I was hooked from that day on.
Chrysler came out with a 4-banger Mitsubishi built Challenger for Dodge in 1978 that lasted through 1984. A ‘Cuda was not produced at the time, but to be honest I was happy that they chose to not include the Barracuda name on a foreign built car. As time passed it seemed likely that they were never going to resurrect the ‘Cuda name. However, the rumors started to seem like it might be possible when Chrysler showed a concept Challenger in 2006. Still no concept car for the Barracuda and disappointment set in again in 2008 when the Challenger returned as a very close resemblance to the original. Once again, no ‘Cuda.
Chrysler dumped the Plymouth name so once again more disappointment. I thought they must have not been thinking about bringing back the Barracuda, but to my surprise the rumors kept growing stronger. My excitement grew strong again and now I may finally get to see my hopes become a reality. I have viewed several pictures and concepts of what the next Barracuda might look like and have picked my favorite. I like the yellow convertible posted at end of this blog. I like the fact that it has a similar front end as the 1967 to 1969 Barracuda’s. Rumors have indicated that there will be several engines that might be available. As long as a fire breathing V-8 is included in the mix I suppose I can live with the fact that there might also be 4 and 6 banger models too.
‘Cuda Brothers Summary
If we had to make an educated guess as to what the new Barracuda is going to look like, it is most likely to be the blue Barracuda posted by Car and Driver. The write up on this car makes a good argument for the teaming up of Chrysler and Fiat. Using this platform will make it easier for Fiat to incorporate at least one of their cars into the plans.
So as it stands today, all we have is the ongoing rumor discussions as Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Chrysler and of Fiat, majority owner of Chrysler, has indicated that there are no plans for a new car introduction in 2015. There may be a possibility that the Barracuda will be reintroduced in 2016 but that is a big Maybe. Our thought is that the focus will be in the reintroduction of the Alpha Romeo to the United States first. Even so, how about some feedback on views about a possible new Barracuda.
‘Cuda Brothers – Preserving the Barracuda Legend
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