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Car Tales: The Human-eating Plymouth Barracuda

‘Known for its fearsome demeanor and aggressive deportment, the scavenging, scary barracuda is known for its predatory behavior: though primarily a fish eater it has been known to take a snap of its considerable teeth at passing swimmers.
1971 Plymouth Barracuda Hardtop Coupe for sale
‘Bold and inquisitive, living near the top of the water, the barracuda is found in tropical and subtropical seas; its name is often abbreviated to ”cuda’.

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‘In modern parlance, the barracuda also can be a slang term for a sexually aggressive woman, eager for new conquests about which she can boast: danger, stranger!
1971 Plymouth Barracuda Hardtop Coupe side view
‘And of course it is also the brand-name for a definitive muscle-car of fifty or so years ago: the Plymouth Barracuda, produced from 1964 to 1974 – its starting year clearly marking it out as an intended rival to the Ford Mustang.
‘From 1970 to 1974, with a brand new design, the third generation of the Plymouth Barracuda – also sometimes known itself as ‘cuda’ – was based on the Chrysler E-body, and therefore longer and wider than its predecessors.
‘Clearly intent on creating the ultimate Barracuda, this latest version came with a barracuda-resembling front nose, emphasized by its strong grille featuring dual headlamps highlighting the new front end. This new Barracuda’s front section concealed, amongst its several engine choices, a V8 motor that unleashed some most acceptable sporty behavior, not the least of which was a top speed of 155 mph and a 0-60 figure of 8.4 seconds.
‘This third generation Barracuda came courtesy of the design talents of such key figures as Elwood P Engel and John Herlitz, under the direction of Dick Macadam – Macadam would become Chrysler Vice President following the retirement of the splendidly named Elwood P Engel in 1973.
1971 Plymouth Barracuda Hardtop Coupe rear view
‘It is an example of this third generation of the model that we presently have at Beverly Hills Car Club, an eye-catching 1971 Plymouth Barracuda Hardtop Coupe finished in a distinctive color scheme of Plum Crazy Purple (a regal color that is certainly distinctive – in fact, utterly wild…) combined with a black interior.
‘Equipped with an automatic transmission, 440 V8 engine, Holley four-barrel carburetor, air conditioning, power steering, three-spoke steering wheel, pedestal tachometer, side decals with Plymouth logo, dual headlamps, dual exhaust outlets, Centerline wheels with Futura GLS Super Sport tires, and a Sony radio. This is a superb, mechanically sound American muscle car. In addition to its listed equipment, this car also comes with a signature on the glovebox from the famous stock racing driver Richard Petty.
‘Nicknamed – for very apparent reasons – ‘The King’, Petty, from a rural southern background in Level Cross in North Carolina, was a legendary American stock car driver who became the most accomplished figure in motor-racing history.
‘Petty’s father, Lee Petty, had his own racing company, Petty Enterprises: until 1958 Richard Petty worked as a a mechanic for his father, who became one of the first NASCAR champions, with three national championship titles. During this period stock car racing transmogrified from a back country eccentricity to a major spectator sport. Meanwhile, Lee Petty’s son Richard immersed himself in knowledge of the mechanics of racing cars, which greatly enhanced his soon-to-be racing skills – which commenced the day after he turned twenty-one.
‘Then, from 1958 to 1992, Petty raced in the NASCAR Grand National and Winston Cup Series, the first driver to become seven times winner of the Cup Series championship. During the course of his career Petty created a further record: the first driver to win 200 races, including seven wins at the Daytona 500 and 27 races in the 1967 season.
1971 Plymouth Barracuda Hardtop Coupe engine
‘In 1962 a near-fatal crash obliged Lee Petty to retire from racing. Thereupon Richard Petty took on all of Petty Enterprises’ driving duties, his father from then on working in the pits. Two years later his son won his first Grand National championship, his first Daytona 500, and eight other victories: in that twelve-month period Richard Petty also earned a then extraordinary $98,810 in prize money.
‘Unfortunately the 1972 oil crisis signaled the end-of-the-road for the gas-thirsty Plymouth Barracuda. And Chrysler brought the brand to an end after the 1974 model.
‘But since then the Cuda has only increased in value. For example, take the case of the Plymouth Barracuda owned by Ed ‘Eddie the Eagle’ Belfour, former professional goalkeeper for the National Hockey League. And 2011 inductee into the Hockey Hall of Fame. A car freak, Belfour had gorgeous sets of several wheels. And when he came to sell off one of his prides of joy, his gorgeously restored Plymouth Barracuda, guess what it was listed as…Yes, that’s right: a staggering $1.2 million.
‘Once upon a time, who’d have thunk it?
-Alex Manos, Owner
1971 Plymouth Barracuda buyer Alex Manos

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