What Engines Came In A Barracuda?

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While the 426 Hemi gets all the glory in pony cars like the Plymouth Barracuda, several other viable motor options existed. What engines came in a Barracuda?

Ten engine choices were offered during the production of the Plymouth Barracuda (1964 - 1974), from the 2.8L slant six to the 7.2 440 Magnum engine. Although the 426 Hemi gets the most attention due to its rarity, pushing the value of these iconic Hemi-powered muscle cars into the millions.

Considering that people have been paying millions of dollars for rare classic pony cars like the 426 Hemi ‘Cuca for years, it is easy to forget that the Hemi wasn’t the only engine Plymouth offered. While not all of them had the swagger the Hemi commanded, several were capable powerplants. I think these other engines don’t get the respect they deserve. So, I want to salute all the engines Plymouth offered during the Barracuda’s ten-year production run.

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What Were The Engines In the Plymouth Barracuda?

The Plymouth Barracuda was a two-pony car manufactured by Chrysler for ten years from 1964 - 1974. The first generation was a fastback version of the Plymouth Valiant, with the same front fascia and body lines.

The second-generation Plymouth Barracuda continued to be offered as a part of the Valiant line (until 1970). The Barracuda emerged as a separate entity using the E-body platform and newly redesigned body styles. We have listed the engines be

The Slant Sixes (2.8L, 3.2L and 3.7L)

Plymouth offered three slant sixes during the production run of the Barracuda. The earliest standard engine for the Barracuda was the 2.8 L slant six-cylinder that produced a meager 101 hp and 155 lb-ft of torque. With a small bore and stroke of (3 ⅖ x 3 ⅛), this early base engine was used in the North American market for various Chrysler vehicles.

The “Super 225” is probably the best-known of the slant sixes used by Chrysler. The 3.7L engine produced 145 hp and 215 lb-ft of torque when offered as an option for the ‘64 Barracuda. The engine had been in production since the early sixties, and Chrysler used it in many of their full-sized models.

The engine would be a part of the Barracuda lineup until 1972 but with less power in its final year. The 318 V8 was the standard engine for the final two years of the Barracuda. (In 1965, this was also when factory-installed air conditioning was added to the Barracuda).

The 3.2L (198 ci) was a slant six used for the 1970 - 71 model as a more potent version of the 170. It lowered the production costs because it used the same raised block of the 225. It continued to be produced through 1974 for the Valiant, Scamp, and Duster models.

The “All-New” 4.5L V8 Engine

The highest engine choice for the 1964 Barracuda was the 273 cubic inch V8, producing 180 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. With a 3..63 bore and a 3.31 stroke, the engine was tweaked after its first year to 235 hp and offered as the standard engine choice on the Barracuda’s Formula S package. The new engine was called the “Commando” by Mopar and seemed well-received since Barracuda sales tripled from ‘64 to ‘65.

The 318 V8 Makes Some Noise

In 1968, Plymouth was halfway into its second generation Barracuda (1967 - 69), offering the 5.2L 318 as its smallest V8 option. The engine produced 230 hp and 340 lb-ft of torque and would continue to be a part of the Barracuda lineup through 1974. Unfortunately, after 1971, the engine would be “detuned” to a lower power output (155 hp) and then again to 150 hp for the ‘72 - ‘74 model year. As the early seventies dawned, the desire for large V8s decreased, and impending emissions regulations forced automakers to lower the compression ratios to ensure compliance.

The 5.6L V8 (340)

The 5.6L V8 was also introduced in 1968 as an engine that could be just as suitable on the track as on the street. The 318 small block was bored out to 4.04 inches with larger valves, a dual plane intake manifold, and a four-bbl carburetor. The engine produced a compression ratio of 10.5:1. What this meant for the street was a Barracuda with a car that could zip down the street in a 6.2 second 0 - 60 mph time.

The engine had 275 hp and 340 lb-ft of torque. The small block 340 V8 was offered as part of

the ‘Cuda 340 performance package in 1969. The package included shaker hood scoops, a more aggressive camshaft, dual racing stripes, and a four-speed manual transmission. (During the ‘70 production cycle, over 9k units were made with the 340 V8, with Plymouth rolling off over 55k Barracudas off the assembly line).

The 360 V8

In 1971, Plymouth developed the 360 V8, but it would be a couple of years before it entered the Barracuda. The engine was larger in displacement than the 340 it replaced in 1974. Still, since Plymouth already knew that it would discontinue its line of muscle cars, the engine didn’t play much role in helping to develop the muscle car legacy.

The 383 Is The Golden Commando

Mopar used the 6.3L 383 V8 throughout the sixties across multiple lines (Dodge, Desoto, Plymouth, and Chrysler). For 1967 - ‘68, Plymouth used a more subdued version of the 383 V8, which only produced around 300 hp due to smaller exhaust manifolds because of the Barracuda’s shortened engine bay. The primary quality of the 383 V8 was its reliability and willingness to hold up under severe driving conditions.

Like most big block V8s from this period, the Golden Commando soon fell victim to impending emissions regulations. Plymouth lowered the compression in ‘70 and then again in 1971. By then, the Golden Commando was dead and phased out along with the 426 Hemi V8.

The Hemi Rules the Roost

When the Plymouth Barracuda began its third and final generation, it was offered in three trims: the base, luxury Gran Coupe, and the ‘Cuda trim. While most everyone knows how rare the 426 Hemi is, the Hemi was an expensive engine for Mopar to build. Plymouth charged extra for the powerful option (almost $1000), and very few people wanted to incur the extra expense. The Hemi produced 425 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque, making it the most powerful V8 Mopar and the most valued. (A recent 1971 Plymouth Barracuda with a Hemi garnered a $4.8 million bid, but it did not sell). Plymouth discontinued the Hemi in 1971 as it moved toward lower compression engines.

The Magnum 440

The 440 was a V8 engine that was produced from 1965 - 1971. (Mopar released a high-output version in 1967 called the Magnum engine). The HO 440 V8 Magnum did not debut in a ‘Cuda until 1969, and only in a limited number of ‘Cudas and 440 Dodge Darts. When Car and Driver tested a 1970 440 AAR ‘Cuda, it ran a 5.6 second 0 - 60 mph time and a quarter mile time of 14 seconds. Owners could order the 440 V8 with a couple of different carburation methods (either a dual four-barrel carburetor or a “six-pack” - with 3 - 2 bbl carbs and an oversized intake manifold), The peak power output during the 390 hp with 490 lb-ft of torque.

The 440 would be the last raised block engine that Mopar would produce, and according to Mopar production records, it accounted for about 9,000 units during the 1970 production cycle (1,704 were built with the Six-pack).

Plymouth would discontinue the 440 in 1971, although the engine would find its place in other uses until 1978.