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The '67 Barracuda was a fearsome fish

The sleek, muscular 1967 Barracuda Formula S had a distinct personality.
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The new 1967 Barracuda was 4.5 inches longer with more
rounded lines than the previous generation. The fastback style
outsold the new hardtop coupe 30,000 to 28,000.

What began in 1964 as a sporty, optional compact car model evolved three years later into a separate three-model line named Barracuda. And with the right choice of options, it was a legitimate muscle car.

In late 1966, when the 1967 models arrived in dealers’ showrooms, the terms “muscle car” and “pony car” had not yet been coined, but those genres were developing distinct personalities. Pony cars, so-called because they copied the Mustang formula, would be sporty cars. Muscle cars were intermediate hardtops, coupes or convertibles fitted with the manufacturers’ biggest V-8 engines, following the lead of Pontiac’s GTO.

Plymouth brought out the first Barracuda in the spring of 1964, two weeks ahead of the Mustang’s intro. It was a single fastback body style in the compact Valiant line, built to show Ford and the world that two could play the compact sporty car game.

By the end of the Valiant’s styling cycle in 1966, the Barracuda had gained enough of an audience that Chrysler determined it should stand on its own as a separate line, like the Mustang. Although it was still based on the Valiant platform, the Barracuda’s styling was all its own. The model offering was expanded to three, again matching Mustang, with a hardtop coupe and a convertible joining the fastback coupe. The fastback outsold the hardtop about 30,000 to 28,000, with the convertible trailing at about 4,000 for 1967; a similar ratio prevailed for the three-year styling cycle.

With smooth-flowing rooflines on both the fastback and coupe and curved side glass, the new 1967 Barracuda styling was more rounded than that of the previous Valiant-based models. At 192.8 inches, the overall length was 4.5 inches greater than before. More importantly, the wheelbase was stretched two inches, to 108 inches, and the front tread width increased 1.5 inches to 57.4 inches. That created enough room in the engine bay to stuff in Chrysler Corp’s. B-block 383

V-8. Granted, it was a tight fit without room for power steering, brakes or air conditioning. Also, due to the tight engine bay space, the exhaust manifolding was restricted, limiting the 383’s output to 280 hp compared with the 325 hp available in the bigger Plymouths. The engine had a compression ratio of 10.0:1 and was fitted with a Carter four-barrel carburetor.

In 1965, the Barracuda’s first full year of production, Plymouth had developed the Formula S high-performance package for the sporty fastback. It consisted of a 235-hp small-block V-8, heftier suspension components and the all-important special badging. The Formula S was an image-builder so, naturally, it was continued on the redesigned 1967 and subsequent models.

The Barracuda line had a separate introduction on Nov. 25, 1966, nearly two months after the rest of the Plymouths and Valiants. The 273-cid/235-hp Formula S option was carried over intact from the 1966 models. The 383 V-8 backed by a four-speed manual or TorqueFlite automatic became the beefier of two Formula S options for ’67, and probably came along some weeks later. Along with a high- performance power train, the Formula S package also included heavy-duty front torsion bars, rear leaf springs and shocks, and a front anti-sway bar.

Ray Seiler of Plum, Pa., pointed out that his ’67 Formula S 383 shown here also came with a tachometer that was optional on other Barracudas, and a 150-mph speedometer. Besides the four-speed, it also has the standard 8-3/4-inch rear end with 3.91:1 gears, front disc brakes and 10-inch drums in the rear.

He long ago ditched the stock wheels for a set of 14-inch Keystones with P205-70R14 Performance Radial GT tires.

Seiler bought his dark green fastback from the previous California owner 30 years ago. It has the original bucket seats and black vinyl upholstery. Continuing a feature from the original Barracuda, the fastback has a fold-down rear seat back and no bulkhead between the interior and trunk, providing a ski-length cargo area when needed.

The second-generation Barracuda design was treated to only trim changes during its three-year run. It had split grille openings containing single headlamps and what Plymouth called Rally lights. Taillamp lenses were fitted into the outer ends of a cove running the full width of the rear end.

Bright trim was limited to moldings around the wheel and grille openings and the rear cove. The rear wheel openings were only marginally lower than the front ones, exposing most of the wheels which could be fitted with small or full-wheel covers or special bolt-on, open-style wheel covers.

For 1968, the 383-cid B-block in the Formula S received a boost to 300 hp, and a new 340-cid small-block V-8 replaced the 273. A relatively stock 1968 383 Barracuda with a four-speed and 3.23:1 rear gears was reported to have run the quarter-mile in 14.20 seconds at 100-plus mph.

Also, Plymouth eventually bowed to arm-twisting from drag racers and, with help from Hurst, fitted 425-hp Hemi V-8s into less than 100 Barracudas (and a similar amount of Dodge Darts), allowing such teams as Sox and Martin and Judy Lilly (drag racing’s Miss Mighty MoPar), to further their careers and reputations.

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