1973 Plymouth Cuda – The Comeback Kid
In our third installment this week for the Cool Rides Online March 2016 Ride of the Month, here is some background information on the 1973 Plymouth Cuda.
Note: These are not the actual vehicles nominated for March’s Ride of the Month, just general information on the vehicles themselves. Please check the link at the bottom of today’s article to view all the actual vehicles nominated for this month’s Ride of the Month.
Rolled out in the dying days of the muscle car era, the 1973 Plymouth Barracuda remains something of an enigma. Though it debuted to a less-than-encouraging critical response, the 1973 Cuda has gone on to become one of the most highly sought-after muscle cars in the collector market. Although it received few changes from the previous model year, the venerable E-body offered an appealing blend of sleek design, power and performance.
How the 1973 Cuda Became “The Comeback Kid”
By the time it began rolling out of the factory in 1973, the Plymouth Cuda was already facing an uphill battle. As with many of its competitors, the Barracuda’s sales had been steadily declining as strict new emissions and safety regulations, oil shortages and changing consumer tastes slowly put an end to the muscle car era. Still, the relatively streamlined design and respectable performance made the 1973 Cuda an appealing alternative to other bloated late-model pony cars, and Plymouth saw a considerable spike in sales. This unexpected success earned the 1973 model the unofficial moniker “The Comeback Kid.”
The various forces that had conspired to snuff out the muscle car era were also directly reflected in the 1973 Barracuda. Once known for its assortment of beefy, high-powered engine options, the 1973 model featured just two. The previously popular 225 slant-six was dropped, leaving consumers to choose between a pair of V8 engines: a 318 that produced 150 horsepower and a detuned 340 that generated 240 horsepower. On late-production 1973 models, the 340 was replaced by a slightly bigger 360 V8, which provided a slight bump in power.
Keeping Up Appearances
Other than a set of rubber impact-absorbing bumper guards, which were added in accordance with new federal safety regulations, the 1973 Barracuda saw no significant changes in styling. While other muscle cars became increasingly bulky and unwieldy, the Barracuda remained relatively sleek and sporty in its design. The reworked grille and taillight assemblies were carried over from the previous year, and a non-functional twin scoop hood was again available with the 340 engine package.