Here is a great example of Plymouth’s contribution to the 1960′s muscle car wars…the 1968 Plymouth Barracuda Formula S. This car has good looking lines and a powerful engine.
The Plymouth Barracuda Pony Car
An historical fact is that the Plymouth Barracuda was the first Pony Car coming on the market about two weeks before the Ford Mustang. The first Barracuda (1964) was actually an option package for the Plymouth Valiant model. By the time 1967 came around the Plymouth Barracuda had no resemblance to the Valiant model from which it came although there were mechanical similarities. The connection with the Plymouth Valiant would entirely end with the 1970 Barracuda model.
The base engine for the 64 Barracuda was a 225 slant six. There was also a 273 cubic inch V-8 available delivering 180 HP. These engines would continue to be employed with the 1965 and 1966 Barracudas.
The 1968 Plymouth Barracuda was among the second generation models. Many would say that the second generation Barracuda was what should have been designed for first generation models.The second generation Plymouth Barracuda was available in fastback, notchback and convertible styles.
The Plymouth Barracuda was designed by John Samsen who also did design work for the first Ford Thunderbirds. It was also Samsen who chose the word “Barracuda” for this new Plymouth line. The Barracuda name prevailed over management’s suggestion of “Panda”. Barracuda was probably a good choice for what would become a true muscle car.
Plymouth Barracudas were produced from the 1964 model year through 1974.
The Barracuda Formula S was available since 1965. The Formula S package for 1968 included engines of either a Commando 340 or the 383 cubic inch design. In addition to this the Formula S came with.heavy-duty suspension and wheels, heavy duty shock absorbers and E70-14 Red Streak tires. front fender badges and special hood inserts. The Barracuda Formula S was known for superior cornering and general handling.
Your 68 Plymouth Barracuda Formula S would have cost you new about $2,700 for the hardtop, about $2,900 for the fastback version and about $3,050 for the convertible.
1968 Plymouth Barracuda Production Numbers
Total 1968 Plymouth Barracuda production was 46,018 units. Out of that number there were a total of 28,775 V-8 models. Total Formula S 340′s were 3,917 units and total Formula S 383′s were 1,270 units. These production numbers are estimates only. There are some variations depending on source.
1968 Plymouth Barracuda Formula S Specifications
As mentioned above, the 68 Formula S as built with either a Commando 340 or the 383 cubic inch engine. The 340 was rated at 275 HP and the 383 cubic inch at 300 HP. The car’s speedometer had a top speed indicator of 150 MPH. The 1968 model year also saw a 426 Hemi package put into only about 50 Barracudas.
Brakes on this model were either four wheel drums or an option of front discs and rear drums.
Suspension on the 68 Barracuda included a front independent wishbone and a live axle rear with leaf springs.
Dimensions for the 68 Barracuda Formula S included a wheelbase of 108.0 inches, an overall length of 192.8 inches, a width of 71.6 inches and a height of 52.8 inches. Weight was 3,340 lbs. The second generation wheelbase was increased by 2 inches.
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Reference material and excellent books regarding the Plymouth Barracuda include…Barracuda Model Portfolio 1964-1974 by author R.M. Clarke. Also Challenger and Cuda, Mopar’s E-Body Muscle Cars by Robert Genat and Dodge Challenger and Plymouth Barracuda by author David Newhardt.
1960′s Plymouth Barracuda Collector Cars
The Plymouth Barracudas from the 1960′s ate true muscle cars. As mentioned above, the Barracuda was the first Pony Car, coming on the market a few weeks prior to the Ford Mustang.
As of this writing you’ll likely see asking prices for 1968 Plymouth Barracudas in the range of $15,000 to $29,000 depending of course on overall condition and mileage. Restored Barracudas will be on the high side and priced to the quality and degree of restoration.
You’ll also see the limited edition 426 Hemi priced perhaps in the high $100,000 area. There were only about fifty of these Hemi models built for 1968 and of course they are rare.
(Article and photos copyright 2015 Auto Museum Online)