I always loved the first-generation Plymouth Barracuda. For all of the publicity the final Cuda got in my childhood, watching as numbers-matching hemi convertibles racked up bonkers pre-Recession auction results, the original one remained charmingly thrown-together. It still makes me wonder what are the car industry’s weirdest firsts, mosts, biggest, bests.
That Barracuda wasn’t just a slightly swankier Valiant — the same way that the Mustang was a slightly swankier Falcon — it was that it looked like a slightly swankier Valiant. Practically everything was the same, short of the roofline. And that rear glass.
That rear glass looked large enough to take a bath in. Play a game of soccer on. I remain convinced that there are European principalities smaller than the rear glass of a first-generation Plymouth Barracuda.
That is perhaps why I will never forget another completely pointless automotive superlative: that the third-generation Chevy Camaro’s rear hatchback was even bigger. From Automobile Magazine:
The third-gen Camaro’s compound-curved rear window was the largest piece of automotive glass produced to date.
My beloved Barracuda, just an economy car with a big-ass window, had been usurped by the king of 1980s schlock. The glitz. The glamor. It was like seeing the hope diamond on a fake gold ring.
In truth, it’s hard to hate the design of the 1980s Camaro, which is still ubiquitous here in America for a reason. It is a handsome car.
It’s also a fun piece of GM thinking. It went through all of this trouble to make an all-glass hatchback, this triumph of automotive manufacturing, for what? A car no more practical or desirable than the blocky Fox-Body Mustang in the dealership across the street? I don’t think anyone bought the Camaro for that glass hatchback, and I’m not sure it made the car any better than if GM did something, anything else with the design. You sort of wish that the manufacturing brilliance of the hatchback was spent somewhere it made more of a difference. Like on an interior that wasn’t made by PlaySkool.
This makes me think: There must be other weird and pointless automotive superlatives. What peak fact sticks in your memory, unable to be lodged free?