When the Ford Mustang was officially introduced on April 17, 1964 at the New York World’s Fair, it became one of the most successful new car rollouts in Motor City history. Truly an overnight sensation, the Mustang sold more than 121,000 units in its first few months of production and established a whole new vehicle category among American car buyers, the pony car.
Nearly lost in all this hoopla was the introduction of a similar sort of car by the Plymouth division of the Chrysler Corporation, the Barracuda, on April 1, only a few weeks earlier. While the original Mustang and Barracuda are rather different products—the Barracuda was not a true pony car, many will say—they were targeted at the same audience and they do share some interesting similarities.
Extra-cost options included a wood-rimmed steering wheel, simulated-mag wheel covers, and a pushbutton radio—a typical range of equipment choices, but far short of the extensive list of options that allowed Mustang owners to virtually design their own vehicles. The modest advertising campaign launched with the Barracuda focused on the fastback roof, seating for five, and a list price under $2500.
So on paper at least, the Barracuda’s features and specs stacked up well against the Mustang, but in the marketplace it wasn’t much of a contest. Plymouth’s sporty coupe racked up over 23,000 sales in the first model year, a respectable number but not in the same league with the Mustang, which outsold the Barracuda by five to one. Plymouth would eventually get a real pony car with the second-generation Barracuda, but that would have to wait until 1967.
Article courtesy of Mac's Motor City Garage.