(car revving) – It’s one of the most powerful and stylish cars of its era. And it was only produced for 10 years. It was underrated and overshadowed by the Mustang, despite having the largest engine at the time. That’s cool and all, but did you know that it was the very first pony car? It was, find me in the comments. This is everything you need to know to get up to speed on the Plymouth Barracuda. Ooh, Barracuda. (dramatic music) Hi, I’m James Pumphrey. It’s an old rumor that humans only use 10% of their brain. That’s not true. We use 100% of our brain, 10% of the time. And maybe, it’s because we lack focus and energy.
I don’t know, I’m no brain doctor. But I do know that NOS Energy Drink gives me energy. And if you’re a human, you need energy to do stuff. Like this kinda stuff. I think that’s everything. Now, back to the show. Before we get into the thick of it, I wanna explain something real quick. There’s the Barracuda and then there’s the CUDA. Yes, they are kind of the same. But they’re the same in the way that Hafþór Björnsson and The Mountain are the same person. One of them is the Icelandic actor from Reykjavík, and the other is the 400 pound side piece of Cersei’s that slices men in half and crushes’s this dudes’s eyes out.
The story of the Barracuda starts in a little corner of North America called America. It was the 1950s and, oh boy, is this gonna be like one of those videos where you talk about history for 70 years? Aren’t you like a huge fan of this show? You’re here every week. And no, it’s not, it’s a pretty short history. Pinky promise? Sure.
In the late 1950s, American car manufacturers were getting a little bit sweaty. Compact cars from places like Europe. JK, we have a lot of viewers in Europe and we love you. These European cars were quickly encroaching on the American car market. Chrysler president, and guy with the coolest name ever, Lester Lum Tex Colbert, told ya, saw cars like the Fiat 500, Volkswagen Beetle, and Renault Dauphine, eating up profit shares like a Frenchman going to town on a duck sandwich. All we celebrate is honkers. We need a little baby car that will send these Europeans back to whence they came. Heehaw. Other American car manufacturers followed suit and released compact cars of their own. American Motors had the Rambler, Ford had the Falcon and Chevvy had the Corvair.
What is a Corvair? What is it named after? I think it’s named after a blow dryer? Oh, its a portmanteau of Corvette and Bel Air. Anyway, it was time for Plymouth Chrysler to clap back. And in 1960, they debutted– – The car you want is Valiant. It looks and drives like twice the price. (upbeat music) – The design was daring and looked like a lot of the European cars that it was designed to compete with. It had shark tail fins, a fake spare tire imprint on the back, and a little tail end shaped like cats eyes. (cat noises) Smash that like button if you like kitty cats. The valiant could haul six mid century Americans, which is impressive for a compact car.
And performance-wise, it was more solid than my poopoos after scaddy night. The engine was praised for its dependability and could out perform the Corvair and Falcon on both power and fuel economy. That’s the two best things. The Valiant also had a race inspired upgrade package called hyper-pak. This upgrade included increased torque, a larger fuel tank, duel exhausts and a higher compression ratio. The Valiant was a success, and people loved it, just like Nolan. Cut to 2008, an Icelandic man by the name of Hafþór Björnsson was achieving his own success in professional basketball. This was years before we knew him as an actor. He might have been young and lanky, but he was making money, dunking on fools, and had everything figured out. Cut back to 1962, John Glenn becomes the first man to orbit the flat hollow Earth. Western Samoa gains its independence from New Zealnd. And Ford is doing a really bad job at keeping a secret. Word on the street was that they were designing a sporty new compact car targeted towards young people.
Plymouth, not wanting to stand by the wayside as their competitor, was about to dunk on ’em. So they snapped into action. A stylist at Chrysler named Irv Ritchie, sketched out a sportier version of the Valiant with a fast backend. Everybody at Plymouth freaken loved it. There were a couple issues, however. Mainly, naming the car. We love the design, we’re thinking something like, the Plymouth Panda. Big strong paws, so scary. Who’s it scary to, don’t you know? Freaken bamboo, don’t you know? That name’s stupid, don’t you know? Then what do you suggest we name it? Maybe the Bear (sneezes) Ooh, Barracuda. That’s good, yes, I love Barracuda.
That’s true, that’s exactly what happened. The design of the Barracuda was based off the A-Body Valiant. It had a 106 inch wheel base, a pushbutton automatic transmission, 13 inch wheels, and a backseat that could fold down, creating seven feet of storage space. It was sporty and practical. Is it also single? The design called for a massive wraparound rear window. The biggest ever installed in a car, which had a total cubic area of cubic feet. This piece of glass was so unusual and complicated, that Chrysler needed the help of a company called Pittsburgh Plate Glass to produce it. This turned out to be the most expensive part of the design, not surprisingly. Engine options included that trusty Slant-Six from before, which made it about 101 brownies, an upgraded, bigger Slant-Six, that made 145 tween horse boys, and Chrysler’s all new 273 cubic inch, LA V8, that made 180 horse awakenings, for that extra (car sounds) (car revving) Plymouth kicked production into high gear in order to debut the Valiant Barracuda just in time for the 1964 model year.
Beating the Mustang to market by two weeks, and making it the first ever pony car. How is it a horse, if it’s also a fish? Let me know in the comments below. You don’t do that. Let me know in the comments below. Don’t do that. Follow me on Instagram at. Alas, it was quickly overshadowed by the Mustang for a number of reasons. One, it was too similar to the Valiant, which people did not associate as a performance car. Second, the Barracuda came with only one V8 option, but Ford offered three different V8s, including the 271 hrsprs high performance 289. (car revving) The Mustang outsold the Barracuda five to one, and things were looking pretty dire. Wolf. Which reminds me, it’s exactly like when, in 2008, Hafþór Björnsson, had just shattered his ankle while playing pro-basketball. For a guy of his height and stature, this meant that he probably wasn’t gonna be able to play professionally. So, like Plymouth and their failing Barracuda, Hafþór needed to figure out what to do next. That’s when he started hitting the gym.
Back to the Barracuda. It’s 1964, and the engineers over at Plymouth returned to the drawing board, to beef that CUDA up. Does this analogy work for you guys? Good, perfect, me too. For the 1965 model Barracuda, Plymouth got rid of the small Slant-Six altogether. Gone was the optional LA V8. And in its place, the new Commando V8. Not only was it not wearing any underwear, it had a four-barrel car to carb, and hotter cam shaft and higher compression ratio. This bumped the output up to 235 polite little baby horses. (car revving) 1965 also saw the introduction of the Formula S Sport package. The S got you the Commando V8, a tachometer, huge, ginormous, 14 inch wheels.
You also got the super cool Formula S medallion over the fender and, an optional racing stripe. To let your neighbor know, sorry Phil, I’m not gonna be (beep) with anymore. It could’ve gone either way, but the move to make the Barracuda sportier, paid off for Plymouth. Sales tripled in the second year of the car’s production. (car revving) In 1967, the Barracuda became its very own model. It still shared many parts with the Plymouth Valiant, but for the first time, it wasn’t just a sporty trim level. Cut back to latter day Iceland. After only a few years of strength training, Hafþór Björnsson one Iceland’s Strongest Man and Strongest Man in Iceland, which apparently, are two different contests. He was reborn as a strongman, but this wasn’t even his final form. Just like it wasn’t the Barracuda’s final form. The second gen Barracuda’s got a longer wheel base. The styling was completely original. And now it came as a fastback, a notchback, and a convertible. The designers deleted the signature gigantic back window, in lieu of thinner glass and a sleeker profile.
The engine bay was bigger by two inches, and because of that, engines really started getting out of control during this gen. Out of control in a good way. Like Nolan when he dances. ♪ Pop, pop, pop, pop up up and down headlights ♪ ♪ Pop up up and down headlights ♪ ♪ Pop up up and down headlights ♪ Barracuda was still competing with the Mustang, which now offered a 390 cubic inch V8. But, they weren’t the only competition anymore. The ’67 Comaro offered a 396, and the Firebird offered a 400 cubic inch V8. Plymouth responded with a 383 cubic inch B-Wedge V8 in the updated Formula S package, with its dual-barrel cars, it was good for 280 hrsprs. (car revving) You can get a Barracuda with a 340 or a 383 made into a four speed manual, or an optional automatic. This mill was upgraded from the original Commando, and it could squeeze out 300 hrsprs. But that wasn’t even the coolest option. Hurst Performance made 50 fastback Barracuda’s for Plymouth that were powered by Hemi’s. Oh, its got a Hemi in it? These super stocked Barracuda’s were equipped with a 426 Hemi, and were heavily stripped down for the track. They could do a 10 second quarter mile at 130, in 1968.
(car revving) Cut back to 2014, Hafþór makes his acting debut on Game of Thrones. Gone was the lanky Icelandic basketball player of 2008. And in his place, Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane, the transformation was complete. 1969 was the first year Plymouth used the name CUDA. The CUDA trim level was an enthusiast package that meant a few appearance upgrades, paired with the Formula S performance parts, which now had, I’m only doing it once, more power baby! (car starting) The CUDA package came with two black hood stripes, cast aluminum wheels, a pair of non-functional hood scoops, and of course, those classic CUDA fender decals. But maybe the best thing to come out of the CUDA transformation, the song? Plymouth didn’t write that song.
That was the band Harp. Ah no, I’m pretty sure it was Plymouth that made that song. Nope. Can I keep going or? Do what you want, it’s a free country. The best thing about the ’69 CUDA was the 375 horsepower, 440 cubic inch, four-barrel, Super Commando V8. Super Commando means you’re not wearing underwear or pants. With this big hulker of an engine, Plymouth secured the title of largest displacement engine in a pony car up until that point.
(car revving) The third generation Barracuda they debuted for the 1970 model year, was nothing like its former self. The body was completely redesigned to look wider, lower and more aggressive than ever before. It was finally able to shed its economy car stigma by switching from the A-Body, to Chrysler’s E-Body, which it shared with the Dodge Challenger and thus, gained four inches of width. The Barracuda came painted in bright colors with funny names like curious yellow, sassy grass, plum crazy and Moulin Rouge, which I assume is similar in tone to Lady Marmalade.
♪ Real Lady Marmalade ♪ The car came in three different versions, the Barracuda, the Gran Coupe, and the CUDA. Plymouth offered eight different engines, ranging from the Slant-Six, to an upgraded 440 Super Commando, which now, came with three two-barrel carbs, aka, six pack. (car revving) But the most powerful engine offered was the 426 Hemi which put out 425 passive aggressive horses. 426 Hemi CUDA, driven by French race car driver, Henri Chemin, won more than 45 FIA sanctioned races.
It was a three time French Group 1 champion. And then he tuned it to do hill climbs with it, which he also won. Can you imagine doing hill climbs in a freaken muscle car, built in 1969? (car revving) The 1971 Barracuda got a redesigned grille and four headlights. Which was specific to this year only. Drivers could opt for a shaker hood, rubber bumpers, and a Spicer built Dana 60 heavy duty rear axle. Another feature that only made it to the ’71s were the gills. Enthusiasm towards the car started declining around this time, and Chrysler stopped offering big block engines altogether.
The ’72 Barracuda got a new grille, and four circular headlights. But for the last two years, not much changed. There was a model planned for the 1975 Barracuda that featured a super bird inspired aerodynamic design, but the ’73 gas crisis and rapidly changing market made it hard to justify another expensive car. So, it was scrapped. And that was the end of the Barracuda line. Or was it? Dodge recently filed for a trademark of the CUDA and Barracuda names, so that makes me pretty hopeful. Whatever it will be, I’m sure that die hard fans will complain. (car revving) (upbeat music) (mumbles) I appreciate the effort. (laughing) I’m really trying over here. I love you. .
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