Revisiting the 1971 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda

The Plymouth Barracuda lasted from 1964 to 1974, putting the 1971 Hemi ‘Cuda closer to the end of the model’s history. With the Hemi Barracuda, Plymouth took advantage of the popularity of muscle cars to deliver an icon that is now incredibly rare and sought after by collectors. In fact, the Hemi ‘Cuda was rare back in 1971, and that has only become truer over the years. After all, there were 16,159 Barracudas sold during 1971, but only 11 of those had the sportiest option, the 426 Hemi with a convertible. With that knowledge in mind, it is no surprise that a few years ago, a 1971 Hemi ‘Cuda Convertible sold for $3.5 million.


Looking at the ‘Cuda

If you get lucky enough to spot a 1971 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda, you will be in for a treat. Most Barracudas got features like silver Rally wheels, black stripes on the rear quarter panel, and a factory rear decklid wing. Even the more “stripped down” versions had shaker hoods, chrome side vents on the front quarter panel, and dual exhaust pipes tipped in chrome. In the case of that sole Hemi that sold at auction a few years ago, you can admire the contrast of the black canvas top on the blue. The black is continued on the rear fascia and the shadow-covered louvers in the front grille.

Sitting in the Hemi Barracuda

The front passengers of the Plymouth Barracuda got to relax in high-backed leather bucket seats while their feet rested on high-pile carpet. You may also spot a ‘Cuda with black or tan leather or vinyl seats plus carpet colors that coordinate. The instrument cluster was framed by wood grain. It included an oil pressure gauge, a clock, a voltage gauge, a temperature gauge, an 8,000-rpm tachometer, and a 150-mph speedometer.

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Powering the Plymouth

In addition to the rare 426-cubic-inch V8 Hemi, the 1971 Barracuda also came with the choice of two slant-sixes and four V8s. The 1970 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda is the most sought-after and powerful of the bunch. It delivered 425 horsepower thanks to the twin Carter AFB carburetors with four barrels each. Other mechanical components included the Dana 60 rear end, 9.75-inch gears with a 4.10 ratio, 26-inch radiator, and optional power brakes. Models with the Hemi also got a reinforced chassis and upgraded suspension. Driving a 1971 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda (in peak condition) will let you get up to 60 mph in around 6 seconds or finish a quarter-mile in just 13. Both of those are truly impressive numbers for the time.

Unfortunately, for those who want to get behind the wheel of a 1971 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda or even see one, these models are incredibly rare with a price to match. However, you can admire all the photos and videos you want or consider a non-Hemi 1971 Barracuda. Even so, expect to pay a pretty high price since even the models with less-powerful engines are sought after.

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