Any muscle car enthusiast knows why is Plymouth famous cars back in the past. Now the brand is long gone, spending its last years just as a producer of badge-engineered Dodge and Chrysler vehicles. In the late 60s Plymouth blow the minds of customers by presenting fast-and-cheap Roadrunner, stylish Cuda and more classic-looking road cruiser borrowed famous Fury name. There was also compact Duster to compete with Chevy Nova and a few modification of Roadrunner, including ultimate GTX and NASCAR road legal Superbird.
In this article we reviewed the most commercially successful and memorable muscle cars made by Plymouth.
Big old Plymouth cars – the Fury
Plymouth Fury has been in production since 1956 till 1978. It was mainly an ordinary mid-size and full-size cars with sporty character. The most interesting in terms of appearance and performance is 1970 Plymouth Fury. 1970 was a pretty successful year for a brand, and Fury was completely redesigned – gained new look with fashonable hidden headlights and rear end highly remains 1971 Dodge Charger. It was a truly full-size muscle car, so called road cruiser.
The most notable modification called Sport Fury GT. It was equipped by enormous 7.2L 440-cubic inch V8 engine with three two-chamber carburators. Just imagine the output, which is unofficially exceed 400 HP. 1970 Plymouth Sport Fury GT was also packed with hi-tech features of its time – stereo audio system with cassette deck, power sunroof, etc.
Sport Fury GT was more like a luxurious version of Dodge Charger.
The most famous Plymouth car models – Roadrunner and Barracuda
When you say Plymouth muscle car – you could definitely imagine something of those two – long overhang, simple lines, and Roadrunner cartoon character depicted; or wide, agressive looking ‘Cuda.
This car has not very long but so bright life in car history – just like a rock star. Debuted on 1968 as the simplest, cheapest but fastest – it win hearts of many. Not only drag racing enthusiasts, but also for ordinary people who need simple but powerful car able to beat almost any in light-to-light racing. Plymouth gained markable success in next two years, Roadrunner received Car of the year Motor Trend award, sales exceed 80,000 copies. The most powerful Roadrunner was equipped by 440 CID V8, the same as Charger and Fury. However lightweight “bird” was way more fast.
In 1970 sales started to decline massively – the car looked two simple and old-fashionable in comparison with competitors. So, in 1971 along with many other Chrysler brands models, Roadrunner received completely new design, overall wheelbase and length was increased, the car recieved more round shapes. Unlikely, the engine output started to decline, and to 1974 Roadrunner lost its ‘horses’ completely, the basic engine became 318 cubic inch V8 producing just 170 HP.
Started as a Plymouth Valiant modification, in 1970 Barracuda became a stand-alone model. The car designed to compete with the best muscle cars from GM and Ford, was available as coupe and convertible. Barracuda shared its Chrysler E platform with Challenger, however Barracuda was a little bit shorter. Barracuda was available in three modifications – BH, BP and BS, each has its own naming – Barracuda, Gran Coupe and ‘Cuda respectively.
‘Cuda is the most important model – it features the most powerful engines, more expressive styling and nowadays it is a jewel in any car collection. Barracuda was equipped with wide variety of engines, starting with I6 engines of 198 cubic inch displacement (3.2L) up to 440 and 428 Hemi, available for ‘Cudas.
In 1970 new ‘Cuda was successfully debuted on Trans-Am racing, homologated version called Cuda AAR was released, equipped with 340 CID Six-pack engine.
Just like same-platform Challenger, Barracuda was in production until 1974, underwent only very minor changes which is now calling facelift. The model was discontinued due to a big sales decline, stroke all muscle cars which finally leads to its extinction.
Duster – one of the smallest Plymouth muscle cars
After Barracuda got rid of Valiant platform, Chrysler managers decided to fill the niche of compact performance cars by introducing of Duster. It was a compact car made on Chrysler E platform, sharing it with many other Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth cars. The very first 1970 model year Duster wasn’t as powerful as bigger Plymouth muscle cars, it was equipped only with 340 CID engines as a top-end version. However, 275 HP is more than enough to provide excellent performance for such a compact car.
In 1972 Duster underwent a restyling, got new front end, front and rear lights. 340 engine lost part of its power – the output was decreased to 245 HP. The overall image of small angry powerful car slid to ordinary compact 2-door.
Unlike many other muscle cars, Duster has survived 1974 oil crysis. Moreover, sales continued to increase. The power output paused in 245 HP figure, then received from 360 cubic inch block, instead of 340.
1975-1976 model year Duster began to equipped with catalyzer, which leads to more power decline – to 235 HP. Then, in 1976 the model was discontinued.