Cool Car Find: 1970 Plymouth Barracuda

Meet one of the rarest and most unique of collectable muscle cars, the very first Hemi ‘Cuda off the production line. 

One of a Kind 

1970 Plymouth Barracuda -

1970 Plymouth Barracuda-  |  Shop 1970 Plymouth Barracuda on

The Plymouth Barracuda carries two major notes of distinction among the host of muscle and pony cars from the mid-1960s through the early 1970s. The first being the Barracuda was technically the first pony car, a sub-genre of muscle car focused on lightness and affordability and targeted to a youthful demographic. The Barracuda debuted in 1964 just two weeks ahead of the Ford Mustang’s arrival. The other distinction is that even among tough-sounding names like Charger and Firebird, the meanest most aggressive name for any muscle car of the era was the Barracuda. Ironically, the new Plymouth was almost named the Panda before cooler heads prevailed.

Luckily, they got the right name, one that evokes speed and danger and is most perfectly personified by the early third-generation Barracuda. That is why we have chosen one of the rarest examples we have ever come across, a 1970 Plymouth Barracuda 426 Hemi for this Cool Car Find. And this is not just any 1970 Barracuda; it is in fact the first of its kind off the production line.

The Best Barracuda 

1970 Plymouth Barracuda 426 C.I HEMI V8 -
1970 Plymouth Barracuda 426 C.I HEMI V8 -

The Plymouth Barracuda began its run in 1964 based off the Valiant and its A-body platform. Basically, the new Barracuda was a Valiant with a fastbacked sloping rear end dominated by a massive, curved glass rear window. As nifty as the rear window was, the new Barracuda had not yet reached its potential with most cars carrying slant-sixes under the hood. The second-generation, arriving in 1967, saw major changes to the Barracuda. Though still based on the Valiant, the new Barracuda added a host of V8 options including the 440 and 426 Hemi V8s.

The Barracuda’s third generation kicked off with the 1970 model year and an all-new platform, the E-body it shared with the Dodge Challenger. Aesthetic upgrades put the car included the adoption of the popular “Coke bottle” body lines and amore squat and therefore aggressive-looking stance. Of course, the list of V8 options continued to be lengthy. In addition to two slant-six options, V8s ranged from a 318 at the low end of displacement to the 440 at the top. That 440 cu.-in. made 390 horsepower, but the 426 Hemi topped things off with a full 425 horsepower and 490 lb.-ft. of torque. Trims included the base Barracuda, “luxury” Gran Coupe, and the performance oriented ‘Cuda.

1970 Plymouth Barracuda -
1970 Plymouth Barracuda -

The 1971 model stayed the same mechanically while updated the visuals with a new grille and trim pieces like rear fender “gills.” Starting in 1972, the Barracuda, like most of the muscle car segment fell victim to increasingly stringent emissions regulations that choked horsepower, and it was not long before the Barracuda was canceled entirely after 1974.

This Cool Car 

1970 Plymouth Barracuda -
1970 Plymouth Barracuda -

That historical arc makes the 1970 and ’71 models arguably the apex for the Barracuda, both mechanically and aesthetically. Today’s Cool Car Find would already be notable just for its 1970 model year and 426 Hemi, an expensive and therefore rare option, but as we noted above, this car’s bona fides are truly extraordinary.

1970 Plymouth Barracuda -

1970 Plymouth Barracuda-  |  Shop 1970 Plymouth Barracuda on

Finished in Alpine White with a black interior, this 1970 ‘Cuda was a pre-production car built in August of 1969, third off the line and the first fitted with a 426 Hemi, making it the very first Hemi ‘Cuda. Among its notable features are a shaker hood scoop, four-speed manual with Hurst pistol shifter, tach delete, and a Gran Coupe body. The car is numbers matching and carries Chrysler Registry documentation. It also has an exceptionally low original 17,755 miles.

This exceptionally rare and historically significant 1970 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda is priced at an even $2.2 million.

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Chris Kaiser

With two decades of writing experience and five years of creating advertising materials for car dealerships across the U.S., Chris Kaiser explores and documents the car world’s latest innovations, unique subcultures, and era-defining classics. Armed with a Master's Degree in English from the University of South Dakota, Chris left an academic career to return to writing full-time. He is passionate about covering all aspects of the continuing evolution of personal transportation, but he specializes in automotive history, industry news, and car buying advice.

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