As Seen on Craigslist – 1973 Plymouth Barracuda

This falls on the expensive side of the cars I normally feature, but I couldn’t resist because of the chocolate brown color and the unfairly maligned model year.  ’73 is generally considered the end of the muscle car era, as the combined effects of increased insurance scrutiny, emissions and safety regulations, and the switch from SAE gross to net horsepower ratings resulted in emasculated and ungainly cars.  Because of this, the late Chrysler E-bodies are shunned in the collector car world and are seen as not as cool as the earlier cars – despite the fact that they are virtually identical to the untrained eye.

This car does have the unfortunate rubber bumper overriders and the far less attractive taillight design that mark it as one of the later cars, and the generic aftermarket wheels have to go, but the paint is shiny, the engine compartment is spotless, and Chrysler 340s can be made to scream.  The brown hue is likely a turn-off for the average muscle car buyer, but I like it.  I prefer the ‘Cuda to its Challenger cousin, and I’d be doubly interested if this one has a pistol-grip-shifted four-speed.  Much like the modern retro-Challenger, this car is bigger, heavier, and probably outgunned in terms of horsepower by the competition, but has a unique appeal that outweighs all of that.

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