But the baddest ’Cuda of all came in on a wave that crested
mid-year. Feeling pressure again from rival big-block pony cars,
The engine bay was once again too crowded to allow a power steering pump. And with 57 percent of the ’Cuda 440’s 3400 pounds over the front tires, that was as much a drawback as it had been with the original 383. Neither was there enough room for a booster that was needed to energize the front disc brakes that were standard on other ’Cudas. So the 440 did without those as well, to the detriment of stopping distances.
Finally, MoPar engineers
feared that a four-speed manual transmission would encourage speed shifts that
would destroy the 440 ’Cuda’s rear-end hardware. So this muscle fish came only
with the TorqueFlite. Though it turned a respectable 14.01 at 103.81, Car Life magazine
said it was disappointed in the 440 ’Cuda’s drag-strip performance. It was
difficult to get the rear tires to bite off the line, and the
Plymouth wasn’t finished with big-block Barracudas, however, not by a long shot. Production of the MoPar compact dipped to 31,987 in this, the last year before a wholesale change would reshape the Barracuda for 1970.
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