Wednesday, June 1, 2011
San Francisco Street Sighting - 1967 Plymouth Barracuda
As you probably know, I'm a sucker for '60s muscle cars. However, like most people I've always been dedicated more to the Fords and Chevys than the Mopar products. It's not that Chryslers, Dodges and Plymouths of this period were bad; far from it. Some of the greatest muscle machines ever made came from the Pentastar. And in 1967, a slow-selling variant of the Plymouth Valiant economy car came into its own.
While it may be an exaggeration to call the 1967 Plymouth Barracuda "all new", it was a significant departure from the inaugural 1964 model which heavily resembled a two-door Valiant with fourteen square feet of glass on the back, was released on April Fools Day and was nearly called the Panda. I don't know about you but I'm glad that moniker ended up on a Fiat instead of a Mustang competitor. It might have been lazy like a panda though, with the choice of two Valiant slant-sixes and a 273 ci V8 making up to a whopping 180 hp.
The car was freshened and improved until, in '67, the stylists struck gold with one of my favorite designs of the era. The new Barracuda featured the Coke-bottle body shape popular at the time, with unique sheetmetal that made the staid Valiant look like the box the Barracuda came in. In addition to a fastback, one could also order a notchback coupe or a convertible. Powertrain options picked up steam with more displacement and a lot more power available, up to a 383 ci big block.
These cars are seldom seen today, partly because so few people bought them in the first place. This is one of 30,110 Barracuda fastbacks built in 1967, making it relatively common when compared to, say, a 1971 Hemi 'Cuda convertible. In terms of automotive sales in a market dominated by domestic brands, during an era when baby boomers were getting their licenses and the muscle car wars were heating up, 30,000 cars isn't that many. The 1967 Mustang alone (472,121) handily outsold every Barracuda ever built between 1964 and 1974 (about 380,000). And you wondered why I generally choose not to feature Mustangs.
In terms of condition, this Barracuda's definitely a driver. I've seen it cruising around the city multiple times - and it may actually belong to the same person who owns the green '65 Barracuda I posted a long time ago. The body is solid but clearly not concours, with a lot of dents and scrapes. Color may or may not be Turbine Bronze, which has faded to a dull brown over the years. Dual exhaust tips suggest V8 power. It's a handsome car with a lot of potential in the hands of a motivated restorer. It might be a challenge to straighten the thin brightwork around the taillight panel and align the front end so the hood doesn't stick up around the edges, but it would do the car a world of good. A nice coat of paint couldn't hurt, either.
Or just enjoy it as-is and have fun. That works, too.