Largest Glass Ever: 1965 Plymouth Barracuda Fastback – Sold!
The first “Pony Car” was not the Mustang. While the launch of that car helped coin the term, Plymouth beat Ford to the punch by two weeks with the launch of the Plymouth Barracuda. Fastback rooflines were quickly becoming the rage by U.S. automobile stylists and Plymouth again beat Ford by one model year by offering a unique glass-back Plymouth Barracuda version. The glass has the distinction of being the largest such piece ever produced for a car. Showing off that glass is this black-over-red vinyl, 273 cubic inch V8 powered example recently listed on Craigslist in Phillipsburg, New Jersey with an asking price of $13,000. Checking the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms this private seller has his Barracuda priced $1,000 below the current #3 “Good” estimate of $14,000.
Hagerty Insurance provides a nice overview of the first generation Mustang on their appraisal guide:
“This era of Plymouth Barracuda always seems like the Rodney Dangerfield of automobiles to many Mopar aficionados. The car seemingly just “gets no respect”. Despite being introduced about two weeks before the Ford Mustang to the same sporty compact new car market and despite having a thoroughly competitive and hot new optional 273 cubic inch, 180-hp V-8 engine with more displacement than the initial eponymous “pony car” offering out of Dearborn, the Barracuda started life as a red-headed stepchild in the marketplace and never gained the market acceptance of its crosstown rival.
It wasn’t for lack of flair, given that the Mustang didn’t even offer a fastback body style until the 1965 model year. The backlight was the largest piece of glass ever engineered for any car up until that time, and was tinted in order to help prevent the solar cooking of inhabitants of the four seats. The rear seats folded down flat to allow some utilitarian use of the vehicle or even for – ahem – an impromptu sleeping quarters. Naturally enough, this was never mentioned but the advertisements of the day often showed the car stowing a surfboard in the rear.
A small trunklid was also standard, as was a far more powerful (and far more reliable than Ford’s) six of 225 cubic inches and 145 hp, compared to the initial Mustang offering of 170 cubic inches and 101 hp. Nearly 45 percent more power, standard, compared to 1964 ½ Mustangs…and at a competitive price with competitive equipment. Barracuda became a specific model-line rather than a sub-series of the compact Valiant for 1965, and gained a new Formula S package, which included an uprated 273 V8 good for 235 hp, more powerful than the commonly ordered 1965 Mustang 289 V8 of 225 hp. In fact, the 1965-1966 Formula S Barracuda is regarded as a Milestone car. Another little known fact is that the Barracuda could be had with front disc brakes from 1965 on as an optional extra. These Kelsey-Hayes units were ironically also optional on period Mustangs.
The problem with the Barracuda was that the vision for a specific market was correct, but marketing and design decisions hobbled it once the Mustang came out. Spending the extra money to differentiate the styling of the Mustang was the gamble that Lee Iacocca took at Ford (given that the Mustang was based upon the econobox Falcon just as the Barracuda was based upon the econobox Valiant), and Ford’s toss of the dice won fair and square. This doesn’t detract from the Barracuda, if you want something a little out of the ordinary. These cars are fun drivers and often gain more attention at car shows than do Mustangs from the same era, simply because they’re less often seen.”
We also found this Plymouth Dealer film strip summarizing the features and benefits of the 1965 Valiant and Barracuda line:
Equipped with a new set of tires and what appears to be a number of major mechanical items sorted, this reportedly rust-free Barracuda appears to be a nice driver-quality example you can enjoy now and restore as your time and budget allow. Good luck with the purchase!
Here’s the seller’s description:
“Garaged, no rust, 273 small block 8 cylinder, power steering, rebuilt differential, rebuilt transmission, front disc power brakes, replaced starter, alternator, starter relay, water pump, 4 barrel Edelbrock carb, gas tank, electronic ignition (no points), new muffler, Radiator, has Cragar mag wheels, rear drum brakes, registered and inspected. Has 4 new tires (BF Goodrich). Interior red, Also have original carb and have extra front and rear bumpers. Price reduced, email me for information. Thank you.“
Do you have a Barracuda story you’d like to share? Comment below and let us know!