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Preserving the Barracuda Legend
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2015 Barracuda – Learn From the Past
Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

By Sam Locklin

It is now time to stand up and speak out about what it will take for Chrysler to build a new successful Barracuda that will not loose the mystique of the older ‘Cudas. If success to Chrysler means putting out a mass-produced car that meets the needs of everyone, name it something else and do not ruin the namesake and legend of the Barracuda.

Rumors about the release of the new Plymouth Barracuda are starting to surface again and it is important that Chrysler learns from the past and gets it right. Talk is that the new Barracuda is going to be released in 2015, look like half the new cars on the road today, and even have a 4-cylinder engine option. The good news is that a 6.2 liter supercharged Hemi, rated somewhere from 520-650 hp — remains (and has all but been confirmed), according to  Allpar.com . Anyone that has ever built a 650hp car knows that it will not be cheap. The pictures below show the proposed Barracuda and other cars that don’t look all that too far off from the Barracuda. The 2007 Hyundai Genesis Concept car looks the closest with the bulging rear fenders. Are these the cars you think of when you say American Muscle?

SRT Barracuda-artists-rendering

2013 Honda Civic EX-L Coupe

Kia Optima

Hyundai Genesis Concept 2007

Taking my ‘Cudas to car shows and seeing the look on the faces and reactions of the young and the old is a great feeling. Many people have told me over the years the ‘Cuda is the car they always dreamed of owning. I hear this all the time. The thing that made the Barracuda the ultimate and iconic muscle car of it era besides it’s relatively limited production from 1964 – 1974 was its clean lines and muscular stance that shouted “Don’t Mess With Me”.  Sit low in the seat, look over the bulging hood of a ‘Cuda, start the car, hear the distinct Mopar rumble, and hold on as you feel the power.

The 1970 Barracuda I owned back in the 70’s with a 318 V8 and two-barrel carburetor was exciting to drive even if it was not the more infamous Hemi. It was flat out quick. It was not as fast as the 340 ‘Cuda’s I own today but it held its own. I always liked muscle cars, but for some reason I loved that car and so did everyone that saw it. I knew at the time that I had something that was rare and special.

My 70 Barracuda-Purchased in 1975

It was a very sad day when someone hit my car and totaled it. The eyewitness driving behind them was a friend of theirs who told the police that I ran a stop sign two blocks from my home. They were supposedly going 30mph when they hit my car, spun it around in a complete circle, and the Barracuda ended up in someone’s yard. All that damage happened while they were going 30mph or so they say. I was a poor college student who could not afford full coverage insurance so my car got parted out. It took about a week to get over the shock and realize that I lost the car. I even saved a paint chip off of the car and still have it to this day. The memories of that car will remain with me forever.

I needed a car but finding another Barracuda, even in 1977 was no easy task. I bought a 1972 Challenger with a 383 Magnum. It was a pretty good car but for some reason did not seem to have the power of my old Barracuda. I kept the car for a month and traded it in for the 1972 Plymouth ‘Cuda with a 340 that I still own today. It took a lot of looking before I finally found my ‘Cuda. The people that owned ‘Cudas did not want to sell them.

My 72 ‘Cuda-Purchased in 1977

The Same 72 ‘Cuda restored in 1993

After graduating from college I was in the market to buy a new car and retire the ‘Cuda as my daily driver. Being raised on Chrysler products did not leave me much to choose from and the 4-cylinder Mitsubishi built Dodge Challenger was about my only affordable choice. What was I thinking? The 1980 Challenger was my first brand new car or was it a 1979?  To this day, I barely remember the car. I totally forgot that it got wrecked until I ran across some old pictures. What I do remember is an OK car but pretty boring to drive. Not that a car has to be a head turner, but darn it, we are are talking about a Challenger. Plymouth’s version was a Sapporo and I am so glad they did not name it a Barracuda.

1980 Dodge Challenger-My first new car
What was I thinking

Wrecked the car a couple of years later

Then we come to today’s American Muscle cars. The Dodge Challenger of today is a huge improvement over the so-called Dodge Challenger of the 80’s. Chrysler must not be happy that it is not selling as many of the Challengers as Chevrolet’s Camaro and Ford’s Mustang. The Challenger is bigger and heavier than the Challenger of the 70’s and the cost is on the high end of today’s muscle cars which may have something to do with sales. Mustang did something right because the cars have stayed as close as possible to its origin.  When you see a Mustang, there is no mistaking it for any other car out there. That is the direction Chrysler needs to take. Keep the unique Barracuda styling while giving it a modern look. Make it fast with its own distinct sound and make it a car that its owners are proud to own. Make it a car they will never forget.

Come on Chrysler. Do the right thing, even if it means going back to the drawing board. You waited this long. We have received much feedback from fellow Barracuda enthusiasts on Facebook and without fail, they all agree with my assessment.  If you can’t or won’t take my advice then call it a Sapporo and allow the Plymouth Barracuda to remain the iconic muscle car of all time.

Enjoy the Ride,

’Cuda Brothers – Preserving the Barracuda Legend

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My Two ‘Cudas
Come on Chrysler – Do the right thing and maybe I will own 3 – ‘Cuda Brother Sam

Posted in Human Interest by cudabrothers
2015 Barracuda – Or maybe 2016
Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

By Sam Lockin

Introduction

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.

History

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.

Early Rumors

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

SRT Rumors

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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Posted in Auto News by cudabrothers
Gabriel Interview – Future Hall of Fame Drag Racer
Thursday, June 28th, 2012

By Sam Locklin

Watch an entertaining video of one smart 7 year old that knows more about muscle cars than most adults at: http://vimeo.com/43791816

‘Cuda Brothers met Gabriel at the Cruizen’ Sherwood car show on June 9th, 2012.  It did not take long to realize that Gabriel’s passion for race cars and Mopars in particular make him one of the most knowledgeable auto enthusiast 7 year olds in the country.  ’Cuda Brother Dan interviewed this very young expert as he discussed drag racing and his memories and experiences at the Woodburn drag strip. He knew all about how the Tiki Warrior funny car ran over 200 mph in the quarter mile, almost breaking a world record.  He also talked about the Mopar Nationals, alcohol race cars, his dad’s Dodge Charger, Cuda’s and Barracudas.  This interview was totally unscripted, unrehearsed, and entirely his own words.

Enjoy the Ride

‘Cuda Brothers – Preserving the Barracuda Legend

 

Posted in Human Interest by cudabrothers