April 17, 2014 is the fiftieth anniversary of the Ford Mustang. This isn't just the year of Ford's legendary pony car, though. It also marks the fiftieth anniversary of the debut of Chrysler's entry into the pony car wars - the Plymouth Barracuda.

The 'Cuda, as it would become known, was originally a performance-minded trim level of the ho-hum Valiant. This much we know. But did you know the lengths that Chrysler went in order to learn what Ford was up to with the Mustang project, and to develop the Barracuda accordingly? Let's just say there were private investigators involved.

In honor of its fiftieth birthday, Hemmings has a great recap of the car's history, from its time as the Valiant Barracuda, through to the 1968 model shown above, to when it simply became known as the Cuda and on to its untimely death in 1974. It's a great read for fans of not just Chrysler history, but for those of the classic era of muscle and pony cars in general. Hop over and give it a read. You can also scroll down and have a look at a period advertisement for the 1966 Barracuda that we found on YouTube.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 1 Year Ago
      Remember folks Barracuda had the jump on the Stang by 2 weeks. It was just stupidity from Chrysler as to how to get the public's attention. Lee Ioccoca had then savy. The rest is history. But, the Cuda was and is a superior car to the Stang
      • 1 Year Ago
      I love muscle cars, but this generation of the Barracuda is not a good looking car.
      Soccer Mom
      • 1 Year Ago
      Looks as great, sporty and elegant as a chunk of pig iron.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Soccer Mom
        Oh, you're probably just mad that it didn't have 4 doors and third row seating.
      • 1 Year Ago
      I love classic cars, but the Cuda always looked a little awkward. Too much visual weight above the wheels vs the more lithe Camaro/Mustang of that era.
        • 4 Months Ago

        Yes its akward and a bit odd, But I have a 65 and due to the fact that there are none around, it gets all sorts of interest at every car show and normally wins trophys.  It did particularily well at a show last year parked between two modern mustangs, they were a bit unhappy everyone passed them by to look at the barracuda.  Won a people choice at that one.  

      • 1 Year Ago
      still looks great at 50? must be eyes and memory going. it's competition at the time has held up better imo
      • 1 Year Ago
      "Plymouth Barracuda still looks lame at 50" FTFY
      • 1 Year Ago
      68 Barracuda was one of my favorite Hotwheels.
      • 1 Year Ago
      • 1 Year Ago
      Highwaymen made me fall in love with it.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Yes it does! My first car was a '67 Yellow Baracuda notchback, with a 273 V8. I would love to have a hatchback of that vintage.
      William Abernathy
      • 1 Year Ago
      My first new car was a 1967 Formula S Fastback 383 4 speed sure-grip rear. My wife had a 66. I still have the Wife but neither of the Cudas.
      Bill Burke
      • 1 Year Ago
      Some muscle cars are classic in design and possess a rare longevity of appeal. In my opinion, the most beautiful of these muscle cars is the 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T. Dodge just got this car perfect. A 44 year old Challenger looks absolutely stunning, even to this day. Yes, the new Dodge Challenger has benefited from this classic design with it's very popular current Challenger, but the original has no rival.
        Alfonso T. Alvarez
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Bill Burke
        This was a PONY car, not a MUSCLE car. MUSCLE cars at that time were mid-sized sedans with the biggest engine available stuffed in. Chrysler had the Plymouth Road Runner, Dodge had the Charger, Ford the Torino and Fairlane, GM had the GTO, 442, Regal and Malibu SS's. Please make a note of it ...
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Alfonso T. Alvarez
          Plymouth had the Roadrunner, GTX, Sattelite.......Dodge had the Charger, Coronet, All these could be had with the standard 383 or go for the 426 Hemi,,440 Magnum.........All better than Ford/GM.......As matter fact there was a small manufacture called AMC.........You had the Rebel/Matador/Ambassador.....Ho-Po 360/390-Go Pac/401......And yes they did beat the big boys quite a bit......
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