By Patrick Smith
During the late 1960s, muscle cars roamed the streets, most of them with macho names or numbers to intimidate their less endowed brethren. One such car was the Plymouth Barracuda, named after the ferocious fish with long rows of razor sharp teeth. The high performance version was called Cuda starting in 1969. A brand new design for 1970 heralded the golden age of brawn with a wide hood able to accommodate any engine from the 318 all the way to the 426 dual quad hemi.
A saturated market triggered a major styling change for 1971, with a new op art grille, four head lamps and fish gill inserts on the fenders for the Cuda series. (A 1971 Cuda was anything but subtle.)
The big block engines were eliminated from the Cuda for 1972, and by 1974 the Barracuda was gone.
Today, it’s a legendary collector’s item, and one of the prettiest of them lives here in the GTA, in Georgetown. Owned and restored by Mopar authority Alan Gallant, this beautiful hardtop is finished in “Sassy Grass” green, features the 340 four barrel V8 and Torqueflite three speed automatic transmission with the infamous ‘Slap Stik’ ratchet shifter. The bucket seat interior is trimmed in white with black appointments. A basic AM radio is the only frill; this car was built for speed, not pleasure-cruising.
Gallant, who also restored a ‘barrelcuda’ a few years ago (a 440 Six Pack car done in the same colour but with a black vinyl top), says restoring a 1971 Cuda can be expensive, “but this car was a nice project.”
“Other than the usual parking lots dents and scratches covered by large amounts of body filler, the body was in good condition and restoration went smoothly,” he says. “It’s like a new car, inside and out.”
Eye Candy: Have you spotted a beautiful vintage or exotic car in your neighbourhood? Do you know someone who owns one? Send us your photo and two to three paragraphs about the car and if we choose it, it will run online and in Toronto Star Wheels. Email your jpegs to email@example.com with “Eye Candy” in the subject line.
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