Our photo last week showed the rear of a 1965 Plymouth Barracuda, a fastback that was utilitarian, economical and sporty. Debuting in 1964, Barracudas carried the name “Valiant” on the rear.
We asked only for the make and model and didn’t disqualify those who guessed the wrong year nor cited the Valiant. Chosen randomly from the correct entries was Jeff Brown, of Evans, who wrote:
“The car in the picture is either a 1964 or 1965 Plymouth Barracuda. Those two years were virtually identical, so it’s hard to tell which of the two years it is, based on the picture. I think it might be a Formula S model because it has the chrome around the rear wheel well.
“The Barracuda was based on the Valiant platform for those years. Some car enthusiasts call it the ‘Rodney Dangerfield’ car because it gets so little respect. As a restored car, its very nice, in my opinion!”
Brown wins a prize from The Augusta Chronicle.
We had to trim entries to get everyone in, but they run in full online. Here are the other readers identifying the vehicle:
AIKEN: Raymond Richards
AUGUSTA: Dr. Dalton Brannen wrote: “The photo is one of the 1964-66 Plymouth Barracudas. Which (year) cannot be discerned from the photograph, or at least I cannot. These were based upon and were essentially the Plymouth Valiant in terms of chassis, engine and transmission options. It featured the ‘glassback’ rear window and a fold-down back seat for such things as skis or surfboards. They cost about $2,400 to $2,500 at the time. The photo is most likely of a ‘64 or ‘65, but I if had to pick one I will go with the ’65.”
Norman Lewis wrote: “This week’s car is a 1965 Barracuda Formula S. The fastback look came from the rear window, which went from one side to the other and almost to the rear fender lights. The engines came from Chrysler, a 2.8-liter six with 101 horsepower, a 3.7-liter six with 145 horsepower and a 4.5-liter V-8 with 235 horsepower. The Formula model also had a stripe that started at the hood and ended at the rear bumper and was the predecessor to what was known as a ‘pony car’ by Mustang.
“I didn’t have the pleasure of driving one of these, but my grandmother let me drive her Plymouth Valiant that had the 225 six with push-button transmission. I think that’s where the expression ‘punch it’ for shifting came about. It was a fun car to drive.”
Walker Mobley Jr. wrote: “This appears to be a 1965 Plymouth Barracuda. I don’t remember seeing too many of these on the street. I have been told that if you are restoring one of these and have to replace the rear window, they are mega-expensive if you can even find one!”
Lowell Fritsche said: “Barracuda was one of my favorite-looking little cars at the time, but as tall as I am it wasn’t for me.”
Craig Kerins wrote: “It is one of the most beautiful cars ever made by Chrysler Corp. A close friend of mine ordered a blue ’67 Barracuda with the base slant six-cylinder engine (still pretty peppy), a floor mounted four-speed and a front bench seat. He loved that car, owned it for over 20 years, and put well over 100,000 miles on it.”
Also, Robin Shellito, Bob Wilkes and Willie Thomas.
CANTON, GA.: David Anderson wrote: “This is a first generation 1964-66 Plymouth Barracuda, possibly a 1965 model because of the Formula S striping down the center of the roof. The Barracuda was introduced in 1964, the same year as the Mustang, and actually beat the Mustang to market by two weeks – a fact I’m sure every self-respecting Mopar fan already knows.
“The huge, wrap-around back glass, known as the ‘fish bowl,’ according to the Plymouth Barracuda Owners Club, is the identifying mark of these first-generation cars. I always enjoy seeing these cars in their original form at car shows and cruise nights. The 1970-74 ’Cudas are what are primarily seen in this area, and they are usually so far hot-rodded or over-restored that they no longer retain any of their original character or appeal.
“Earlier in the year, one of the cable channel car restoration programs was restoring one of these first-gen cars and the shop owner told his crew to absolutely, positively ‘Do not break the back glass!’ Yep, you guessed it; they broke the back glass just as soon as it was removed from the car! I laughed until I cried. They had to buy another complete car that was about to be crushed just to get the back window out of it.
“I remember not thinking too much about this car – or any other Mopar, for that matter – back in the day. With the passage of time, however, I look at these cars from the early to mid-’60s and, in my opinion, they are some of the most elegantly styled, character-filled cars ever made. Rather than everybody trying to look like everybody else, the stylists back then made fashion statements with steel, chrome and paint that simply have not been matched since.”
EVANS: Wayne Wilke wrote: “The 1964-’66 models all looked alike. It actually debuted in 1964 two weeks before the famous Ford Mustang, making it the original ‘pony car’ – although it was named after a fish. The 273-cubic-inch, 180-horsepower V-8 was the engine to have. The Barracuda’s huge rear window makes it instantly recognizable.”
Jerry Paul wrote: “This week I believe it is a 1965 Plymouth Barracuda.”
Bill Harding wrote: “On April 1, 1964, Plymouth introduced its Barracuda, a car hastily cobbled together using most of the components from the Valiant. It beat Ford’s Mustang to the market by about two weeks, but really didn’t make much of an impact regarding sales.
“That wrap-around rear window glass (plus the availability of a 273-cubic-inch V-8) were among the few things that separated it from the Valiant. Standard was a 170-cubic-inch ‘slant 6’ engine, with a 225-inch version optional. A convertible wasn’t offered until the second generation debuted in 1967. Mustang was perceived as being totally different from its Falcon parents. Styling was unique. Three body styles (notchback, fastback and convertible) were offered. Any Mustang could be ordered with Ford’s new solid-lifter, 271-horsepower, 289-cubic-inch V-8 delivering real performance.
“Plymouth’s Barracuda was no contender in the pony car market until the ’67s were released. By then, they had to compete with not only the Mustang, but also the Mercury Cougar, Chevy Camaro, Pontiac Firebird and, later on, the AMC Javelin.”
Larry Heath wrote: “The rear window style is the same for the ’64-66 model. However; the photo shows the stripe that came with the Formula S package introduced in 1965. The Barracuda was the original pony car in that it was introduced a few days before the Mustang in April 1964. The engines ranged from the trusty slant six used throughout the Chrysler lineup to the 273-cubic-inch V-8.
“A friend owned a 1966 Dodge Dart GT, which was mechanically the same car. I recall it was a very good performance car for this time period.”
James Pilgrim said: “I used to own a 1965, and it was a nice. car.”
Also, Jim Williamson.
GIBSON, GA.: Patricia Jones
HEPHZIBAH: Carol Montgomery
KEYSVILLE, GA.: Glenn Widner wrote: “Plymouth Barracuda fastbacks from 1964-66 all looked the same to me from the back.” He pointed out that the 273-cubic-inch engine and push-button “typewriter” Torqueflite transmission were options.”
LOUISVILLE, GA.: Robert L. Holbert wrote: “The car is a 1964 or 1965 (probably the latter) Barracuda. The initial offering predated the Mustang by two weeks but never competed well in the pony car market. The distinctive feature of the fastback model pictured was the huge, 14.4-square-foot rear window especially designed by PPG for that model. It was the largest auto glass ever installed to that time.”
MARTINEZ: Christopher C March Sr. wrote: “This week’s auto is a 1965 Plymouth Barracuda Formula S. This car came with a 273 Commando engine, with 235 horsepower with a four barrel carburetor. It had a special emblems, tachometer, disc brakes and factory-installed air conditioning.”
Joe Bert said: “This weeks car looks to be a ’64-’67 Plymouth Barracuda fastback.”
Perry Austin wrote: “I know it’s a Plymouth Barracuda; I’m just not sure exactly which year. I’m going to take a stab at it and say it is either a 1964 or a 1965. I know that was a massive piece of glass for the rear window. I like the 1970s styling better.”
Lloyd B. Schnuck wrote that the 1965 Barracuda Formula S also had suspension upgrades, larger wheels and tires. Disc brakes and factory-installed air conditioning became available.”
Jim Muraski wrote: “This design was produced from 1963-66 with only minor styling changes each of those years. I believe the one pictured to be a 1965 model.”
Cheryl Cook wrote: “I think the car is a 1964 Plymouth Barracuda, first year they were made. Thought it could be ’64, ’65, ’66. Finally decided you would go with the first year they were made. Love the old cars!”
NORTH AUGUSTA: Ernie McFerrin wrote: “On first blush, my immediate thought was to blurt out 1966 Plymouth Barracuda, but after a bit of thought I think this is actually a 1966 Plymouth Valiant. These were fairly popular during a time that was dominated by the muscle car craze. I believe they were powered by anything from a slant six-cylinder up to a 318-cubic-inch V-8 and were generally a push-button-on-the-dash automatic transmission. Very reliable cars known well for their fuel economy.”
Erich Prahl said: “I had one, then I traded it off and got a 1970 Dodge Super Bee.”
Glenn Chamberlain said: “I had one, as a matter of fact.”
Ted Wasserlein wrote: “This is a first-generation Plymouth Barracuda. This body style was offered in 1964 through 1966.”
PERRY, FLA.: Larry Anderson wrote: “Looks like a 1965 Barracuda, maybe a Formula S model, because of the racing stripe.”
THOMSON: Jeff Pagac
WARRENVILLE: James Covar said it is a 1965 Plymouth Barracuda Formula S.
WATKINSVILLE, GA.: Joe Arp wrote: “I believe this week’s car is a 1965 Plymouth Barracuda Formula S package because of the racing stripe. The Barracuda’s back light, or rear window, was the largest single piece of glass ever used in a U.S. production auto, and it added 100 pounds to the weight of the Barracuda over the Valiant hardtop.”
WAYNESBORO, GA.: Ken Huff
NO CITY LISTED: Max Blanco, Barbara Crowley, Rick Farris, Bill Roberts and John Stewart.