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Formula For Fun: 1965 Plymouth Barracuda

1965 Barracuda Formula S

I know when most of us think of the Barracuda, we picture a brawny ’70s muscle car in bright colored paint and while they were fun cars, I think the earlier Plymouth Barracudas don’t get the love they truly deserve. Take this ’65 Formula S example here on eBay with a BIN of $4,800. If this car were just a few years newer there would be a line a mile long of people ready to throw their money at the seller at this price, but since it is a ’65 it will likely struggle to find a good home. I think that’s a real shame though, as these cars can be serious fun too!

1965 Plymouth Barracuda Formula S

Now, I’ll admit this car has lots of issues, from rust to mismatched body panels and an empty engine bay. That’s where a car like this one can start to get fun though, as you can focus on making it a fun driver without worrying about originality and resale value. Being a Formula S means this car left the factory with an upgraded suspension, a 273 Commando V8 and a 4 speed manual! And unlike most American cars of the era, this generation of Barracuda could actually turn! They were actually quite often compared to European cars for their handling prowess.

1965 Barracuda Formula S Engine

The seller doesn’t say much in their ad, but mentions that there are 3 engines available (a 273, a 318, and a 383). They don’t say if one or all are included in the auction. For all we know, you might have to pay extra just to get one of the motors, but I’ll just keep hoping at this price you get all three! Just think of all the possibilities you’d have! You could make it original with the 273 or bump performance up just a bit with the 318. And if you aren’t too concerned about turning and just want some straight line performance, you could drop the 383 with its dual quad manifold and 12:1 compression pistons for some serious power!

1965 Barracuda Formula S Interior

The seller also mentions they have lots of other extra parts, but no details are given as to what they have. I do see a complete dash panel and some trim pieces, so that could be a nice bonus! I don’t see carpets, so put that on the list of things to buy as the originals are long gone. The interior actually doesn’t look too bad and could likely be used as is. I’d put this Barracuda back together, install whichever engine is in the best condition and just start enjoying it. I’d like to have it with the 273, but either of the other engines would be fun! So why do you think the early Barracudas are so unloved? And if you were to buy this one, which engine would you want to put in it?


  1. Avatar photo Tom2

    The engine in the picture above is a Ford,

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    • Avatar photo TdF83

      i’ll say, a 260 maybe based only on the air filter, but the vent cover on the back of the intake suggests 1963-62, but the valve covers are 1967 + 302 style

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  2. Avatar photo Blueprint

    This picture shows what an extra-clean 4-speed Formula S looks like. Sold for 24k$ recently.

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  3. Avatar photo Rando

    The engines on the listing have a LOOONG way to go to be anything resembling an engine. No indication of how complete they may actually be. Plust the already pointed out FORD engine, possibly TWO ford engines and a mopar block. Looks like you’re buying a body shell of questionable quality and a lot of junk. Clearing out someone’s garage for them. It would have to be waaay cheaper for me to even get excited about. Too many questions.

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  4. Avatar photo Steven C

    I’ve always thought one of these would be really cool with a slant 6 with multiple Webers and manual trans.

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  5. Avatar photo erikj

    memories, Bought a 65 formula in 1990 for $125 drove it home. Didn’t have it long since I was not fond of the hugh cragers out back,jacked up in the back and the funky side pipes. I do remember liking driving it with the 4spd and posi. I still have the v-8 commando fender emblems. Now days I would love to have it ,take that silly stuff off.

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  6. Avatar photo Mike

    You know, since this old boy is selling the engines, can you imagine what people would say if you put a Ford 302 in it. I have a friend that has a 71 Ford F150 that has a 350 Chevy engine in it and the transmission also. He Loves the truck, but bought it with a blown engine in it, my Dad had the motor and transmission, so we put it in there.
    What a head turner!!!!!!!
    He had a bumper sticker on it for years that said Powered by Chevy!!!!

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  7. Avatar photo Rando

    I have a buddy that bought a 59 Chevy Stepside on a 78 Newport Frame. 318 Mopar, Torqueflite, etc. Can be tough at the parts store. The builder has since died, but all the old school parts guys remember the truck and are pretty helpful.

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  8. Avatar photo JoeT

    The set of valve covers shown in the bay pictures look like the ones from the High Performance version of the 273. If so that would be a good motor for this car, 273 C.I. / 230HP solid lifters and Carter AFB.

    Like 0

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