As 1970 rolled around, another redesign was in order for the Barracuda. The performance version was badged and advertised as the ‘Cuda. This year’s new design looked quite a bit different from the previous models. One of the reasons was that it was now built on a new, slightly shorter, wider, and sportier version of Chrysler’s existing B platform, the E-body. This new generation eliminated the fastback, but kept the two-door coupe and convertible versions. It also had a Dodge near-twin known as the Challenger; however, not one body panel interchanged between the two cars and the Challenger had a slightly longer wheelbase. Both were aggressively and cleanly styled, although they were clearly influenced by the first-generation Chevrolet Camaro. After the switch to the E platform, which featured a larger engine bay than the previous A-body, Chrysler’s famous 426 in³ (7.0 L) Hemi would now be available from the factory in the Barracuda. The HemiCuda had about a factory rating of 6 MPG, and was sold without warranty.
Race car drivers Swede Savage and Dan Gurney drove identical factory-sponsored Barracudas in the 1970 Trans-Am Series, although with no success. With the 440-6 and 426 Hemi, the performance from these production Barracudas ended up being legendary. The 1/4 mile times for these were 13.7 s @ 103 mph and 13.4 s @ 108 mph – both among the fastest times of the day. These engines were very easy to slightly modify and drop into the 12s, but either way – stock or modified – one could virtually have a 5-passenger race car. Barracudas also came with decal sets, hood modifications, and some unusual colors (“Go Mango”, “Plum Crazy”, and “Panther Pink”).
The Barracuda was changed slightly for 1971, with a new grille and taillights. This would be the only year that the Barracuda would have four headlights, and also the only year of the optional fender “gills”. The 1971 Barracuda engine options would remain the same as that of the 1970 model, except for the fact that a 4-barrel carbureted 440 engine was not available; all 440-powered Barracudas had a six-barrel carburetor setup instead. The 426 Hemi option would remain, and the Hemi-powered 1971 Barracuda convertible is now considered one of the rarest and most desirable collectible automobiles.
In 1970 and 1971, two options were available that are now highly sought-after by collectors. They are the shaker hood and the Spicer Dana 60 rearend. The shaker hood was available on 340ci Six-Pack, 383ci, 440ci and Six-Pack, and 426ci Hemi-equipped ‘Cudas. The heavy Dana 60, with a 9 3/4 inch ring gear and considered nearly indestructible, was standard on manual transmission 440 Six-Pack and 426 Hemi equipped ‘Cudas, and was optional on those with the automatic transmission.
After another grille and taillight redesign in 1972, the Barracuda would keep its overall look the same through 1974, with dual headlights and four circular taillights. But like other pony cars of the time, these years showed a major decrease in the Barracuda’s power due to stricter emission laws. The largest available engine in 1972 was the 340 4bbl; a 360 was available in 1974. New safety regulations would also force the vehicle to have large front and rear bumper guards in 1973 and 1974. The Barracuda hung on through 1974, after which it was discontinued in the midst of the 1973 oil crisis. Production ended ten years (to the day) after it had begun. Although today they are sought-after collector cars, the third generation was a marketplace failure and never successfully competed with rival offerings from Ford and General Motors. The rarity of specific models and combinations today is primarily the result of low original-buyer interest and production.