The Chrysler Group is either having a really good time driving us diehard classic muscle car lovers bat$#*% with bringing back classic car titles on cars that just barely miss the mark:
- First the return of the lauded “HEMI” name resulted in an iron-blocked, aluminum headed 5.7L small block, a noticeable departure from the 7-liter 426ci HEMI of yesteryear. Later iterations would include a 425hp 6.1L and a 470HP 6.4L 392ci performer, both of which still employing iron blocks.
- The nouveau four-door 300C is named after the C-300 from 1957, wherein all following 300 model years changed the letter, concluding with the 300M
- The modern 4-door wagon Magnum was named after the “intermediate-sized” two-door coupe that replaced the Dodge Charger in 1978
- The current Charger is closer in styling to its most famous predecessor, the second-generation Charger, but still retains the four-doors and snout grille from its 2006 progenitor
- The newly minted Dart, although sharing some DNA with the Alfa Romeo Giulietta is a wider, longer, and more aggressively tuned FWD four-door A-Class sedan, rather than the full-sized, mid-sized, and eventually compact-sized RWD coupe it is hearkening to
- The resurrected Challenger is the closest to its namesake in both design and execution save for its gross disproportions.
…or they are truly attempting to rekindle a passion within Mopar enthusiasts and the general public alike by tapping into its long history.
Well, whether Auburn Hills is purposely screwing with us, or really wanting to appeal to the car lovers out there, the latest rumor rattling down the coconut telegraph is that Chrysler will be resurrecting the infamous Barracuda moniker.
Introduced back in 1964, rushing onto the market on April 1, just two weeks before Ford released their soon-to-be-famous Mustang pony car, this classic muscle car won over the Plymouth fan base with its sporty looks and even sportier engine options. Although it lasted through the muscle car wars, the car saw its end in 1974, having converted from a smallish A-Body to the racy E-Body in 1970.
For a split-second, Plymouth had considered dusting off the abbreviated ‘Cuda name in 1985, but opted out of the performance package. Only recently, Chrysler attempted to reapply for the ‘Cuda trademark, but was denied as Dan Gurney’s All-American Racers of Santa Ana, California, held the trademark since its days racing in the SCCA.
But the loss of the ‘Cuda name hasn’t deterred the automaker, and managed to leak its intentions of replacing the current LX-platform Challenger in 2014 with a all-new RWD chassis carrying the Barracuda name. Fiat execs have expressed interest in developing new architecture for the would-be Barracuda to also profit Alfa Romeo in both coupe and four-door sedan configurations.
Although tales of the Challenger/Barracuda swap are ardently denied, the Challenger is becoming long-in-the-tooth, riding on a five-year old platform, the latter-day Challenger is outclassed in all aspects by fellow pony cars Mustang and Camaro and is overdue for a redesign.
In fact, chatter has surfaced that Chrysler is intending to sway from the Challenger’s retro looks and design a “completely fresh” look for the Barracuda, effectively stamping out hopes of a retro ’71 convertible…
Although the resurrected model hasn’t been confirmed, the recent confirmation that Chrysler is working on a supercharged 6.2L HEMI engine is raising eyebrows about the real possibility of a return, most likely under the SRT badge, stripping yet another performance model from Dodge.
While we don’t know if a modern Barracuda is in the works for Chrysler or not, we like the idea of the classic muscle car making its way back into the market. Our only hope is that if a remake is in the works, that the classic styling of the original Barracuda is brought back rather than just the name.