In the early years of the 1970s was the start of the decline for the American muscles. Several models were cancelled due to the strict emission laws. Petitions against the high powered muscle cars were passed and deemed the muscle cars unsafe for the road. These heavily affected the sales of most muscle cars such as the Chrysler E-Body Plymouth Barracuda and the Dodge Challenger models. Premium surcharge were imposed on these high performance cars and prices skyrocketed making them too expensive for most people. The strict emission laws also forced Chrysler to abandon research on improving performance and focus on developing cleaner engines.
The market plummeted due to these problems and by 1974, both the Barracuda and the Challenger were bound to go under. Although new designs were still passed for new models for E-Bodies, Chrysler was not keen on accepting a product that is becoming unsuccessful in the market. Chrysler focused on the more profitable Valiants, Aspens, Volares, Omnis, and Horizons. It was the end for the high performance cars on the road.
Chrysler cancelled the 1975 Barracuda project but probably on the wrong time. Just after they cancelled the Barracuda, the ponycar market started to show some positive reviews and eventually reach its peak before the start 1980s. “We got out of the only part of the market that grew,” Carl Cameron said, he was the designer for the 1970 Challenger.
Most of Chrysler’s employees who really had the passion for cars said that the main reason for the death of the Barracuda and the Challenger was the fact that most of the management was made up of financial executives whom do not really share the passion and only view things in the financial standpoint. The financial executives do not have the slightest understanding on about the market or the cars. The designers no longer had the power to enforce a product that they believed in.
Even when Chrysler was very successful in sales during 1968, they did not invest the money to develop the cars. Chrysler instead went to diversify their products and some of those failed hard and cost Chrysler eventually bankrupting the company. It was such a shame as the Plymouth barracuda was ahead of its time and its designers were really proud of it. They did not expect that their priced E-Body will be cancelled just like that.
There were a lot of internal conflict within the management of Chrysler. Several employees were not in favor of the designing the Challenger bigger than the Barracuda. They believed that the Challenger and Barracuda having the same body shells would help save the company millions that might have been used for product development.
Many believed that the 1975 Barracuda and Challenger could have prevented the Bankruptcy of Chrysler. It would’ve benefited the markets explosion in the late 1970s like the Pontiac, Chevrolet and Ford. All 3 companies were also struggling with the sales of their ponycars in 1974 but endured and their sales exploded up until 1979.