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2019 Dodge Barracuda: rumored midsize, rear-drive muscle car

From 2012 onwards, there was talk of a new mid-sized rear-drive car for Dodge and Alfa Romeo, eventually confirmed in mid-2013 by CEO Sergio Marchionne himself... but it might not have been what it seemed.

SRT Barracuda

Ralph Gilles wrote that the company had originally planned to create a 2014 Barracuda SRT8, based on the new Challenger. Afterwards, there was speculation in the Mopar community as to whether it would be a renamed or special edition Challenger, a smaller coupe on the same architecture, or a new car using the new “Giorgio” platform/architecture, jointly developed by American and Italian FCA engineers and first seen in the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Stelvio.

Something still seems to be in the works; a Barracuda with modern styling, cues from the 1999 Dodge Charger concept, sized a bit smaller than the current Challenger for easier competition against the Mustang and Camaro, was shown to dealers at the 2015 Nevada event.

green cuda

FCA renewed its trademark application for the Barracuda name in 2017, and one rumor has it being made in small numbers in Italy. This seems unlikely.

The car itself — a coupe smaller and more modern-looking than the Challenger — seems to be in the long-term plan, as an “if the market still supports it;” it would be a 2022 or 2023 model, after the new Dodge Charger and Challenger, and perhaps a new Chrysler 300.

The car is still being planned as both a coupe and convertible, and could use a twin-turbo straight-six as its top powerplant — or as a replacement for the 5.7 Hemi, with the 392 or Hellcat still pencilled in as the tip-top engine. Responsiveness should be aided by an electric motor, for nearly instant-on acceleration (like the Wrangler’s eTorque system). The base engine would likely be either a Pentastar or the four-cylinder eTorque setup, under a different name; that mild-hybrid setup provides fine responsiveness in the Wrangler, which most likely weighs more than the Barracuda/Avenger/mini-Challenger would.

Dodge SRT Cuda

Will it really be made, and will it carry the Barracuda name? FCA probably hasn’t decided yet. As for the name, Barracuda is a Plymouth name, while Avenger is a recent, sporty-sounding Dodge name (going back, it’s a Hillman name, but Dodge used it for quite a while). The name likely hinges on market research and, more importantly, the feelings of a small number of executives. The company could decide to downsize the Challenger instead of having two coupes, or ignore the niche entirely, or create a new name, or dredge up another sporty-sounding Dodge name (Daytona, Super Bee, Magnum, Nitro, Rebel, Shadow... but not Lancer, which Mitsubishi’s picked up).

Chances are, Dodge will wait for the last possible moment, and then base a decision on sales, segment profits, and market research — so hope that both Camaros and Challengers keep selling, if you want to see a Barracuda, under any name.

Past hints and clues

In 2012, sources said the Barracuda was much more modern than the Challenger, with only a few “Barracuda cues.” In April 2013, we were told that some body parts were being made for testing. The 2015 Dodge Barracuda seemed to show up on Chrysler’s 2012 long-term plans as a new model. However, it was missing from the 2014 five year plan.

2014 dodge barracuda

In June 2013, we were told that the name Barracuda had been dropped, after enthusiasts were less than enthusiastic about re-use of the name by Dodge, on a car that bore little outward resemblance to the original.

See our FauxPar feature on recurring rumors that the Cuda is coming soon.

The original Plymouth Barracuda

The original Plymouth Barracuda started out as a Valiant with a fastback rear, praised for its fine “European style” handling — some said the Formula S version could beat comparable German cars on twists and turns. In 1970, the name was moved over to a brand new car, largely so Plymouth could stuff the big 440 and 426 Hemi engines into it; ironically, the Plymouth Duster, which had the same formula as the older Barracudas, was a major sales success... with nothing larger than a 340 under the hood.

1965 plymouth barracuda

2014 SRT Barracuda

E-Body Barracuda • 2015 Challenger2015 Challenger Hellcat2015 Charger Hellcat

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