Although they appeared within sixteen days of each other in April 1964, there were were several things that differentiated the Barracuda from the Mustang. We won’t go into all of them here, having covered the somewhat-sad Barracuda story here, but two of the more obscure ones were the fact that the Barracuda was technically a Valiant in its first year, and the that it was really a 1964 model year, unlike the Mustang, which was a 1965 model from day one.
Here’s the tell-tale that this is a ’64, with the Valiant script on the lower right side. That was dropped for 1965, and the Barracuda became its own distinct model. So would the Mustang have had a less successful start if it had been called the Falcon Mustang?
Well, Plymouth was just being truthful, as the Barracuda really wasn’t anything other than a Valiant Signet with a fastback roof. Which of course was the big problem. The Mustang may have had a lot of Falcon under the skin, but it was all rearranged, with a new body that was totally distinct.
This is actually almost exactly like the one I spent a few days in, exploring the rugged back country of Wyoming in May of 1972, inasmuch as it has the slant six and push-button automatic. I should have gotten more shots and replaced the shiny red one in my CC. But we were walking briskly (in Portland) and I didn’t want to hold up the party getting to lunch.
That probably explains why the shot from the front has soft focus, as I was feeling a bit rushed. There’s a world of difference between this mild-mannered Valiant in drag from the wild E-Body ‘Cuda from 1971, even if it was only six years.