Rare & Original: Unrestored 1972 Plymouth Barracuda Find

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Rare & Original: Unrestored 1972 Plymouth Barracuda Find

The third-generation Plymouth Barracuda, introduced in 1970, marked a significant departure from its predecessors with the debut of the E-body platform. This version boasted a more aggressive design and offered Chrysler’s high-compression big-block V8 engines as regular options.

Despite their availability, these powerful engines, including the 440-cubic-inch (7.2-liter) RB and the 426-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) HEMI, didn’t attract much popularity due to soaring insurance costs.

In 1970, only 3,436 customers opted for them, accounting for just 7% of total production. This number dwindled further in 1971, the final year for both units, with Plymouth delivering only 368 examples, a mere 2.2% of the total output.

Rare & Original: Unrestored 1972 Plymouth Barracuda Find

Combining these figures, we find a total of only 3,804 units equipped with these engines over two model years, making the 440- and 426-equipped Plymouth ‘Cuda a rare and highly coveted classic, particularly the HEMI variants, which can fetch million-dollar prices.

However, the dominance of these high-compression engines overshadowed the later third-gen Barracudas produced through 1974.

While it’s understandable why post-1971 Barracudas may not be viewed as traditional muscle cars due to their lower horsepower, they still offered respectable performance. Models like the 318-cubic-inch version produced 150 horsepower, while the 340 V8 delivered a healthy 240 horsepower, and the 360 unit boasted 245 horses by 1974.

These figures are based on net output, as the pre-1971 method for determining gross horsepower was no longer used. However, the estimated gross output would likely be around 300 horsepower, which is commendable for a more compact car like the Barracuda.

Many enthusiasts argue that the 1972-1974 models are even better looking, thanks to Plymouth’s decision to incorporate round quad taillights and a V-shaped nose.

Despite their merits, post-1971 Barracudas often go unnoticed and undervalued, exacerbated by decades of neglect leading to scarcity of well-preserved examples. Thus, the emergence of survivors like the 1972 hardtop in Basin Street Blue, featured on YouTube’s “Nobody’s Show,” is particularly exciting.

This particular Barracuda, recently unearthed from long-term storage, exhibits significant wear but remains surprisingly solid considering its neglected state.

Its all-original and unrestored status, coupled with being a one-owner vehicle until recently, adds to its allure. Wrapped in its factory-applied Basin Street Blue hue with white stripes and featuring an untouched white interior, this Plymouth retains its authenticity.

Under the hood, the numbers-matching 318-cubic-inch (5.2-liter) V8 engine pairs with an automatic transmission with a console shifter. The only alteration noted by the host is the exhaust manifolds, although the original components are included in the trunk for restoration purposes.

Despite requiring substantial restoration work and displaying some rust issues, this Barracuda stands out as one of the cleanest unrestored survivors, showcasing that it doesn’t need a HEMI engine to command attention and appreciation.

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