Object Timeline

1964

  • Work on this object began.

2017

2020

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Drawing, Barracuda Concept, 1964

This is a Drawing. It was from the office of Chrysler Corporation. It is dated 1964 and we acquired it in 2017. Its medium is mixed media on paper. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.

Chrysler debuted the Plymouth Barracuda in 1964, a sporty fastback automobile designed to compete directly with the 1964 Ford Mustang. The success of Chrysler’s first compact car, the 1960 Valiant, urged designers to continue to experiment with smaller automobiles. By the mid-1950s, American consumers were growing more interested in purchasing smaller cars, a desire that was enhanced by the 1958 economic recession. John Samsen and other designers in Chrysler’s Plymouth division experimented with a fastback version of the Valiant, which soon became the first Barracuda. The Barracuda’s downward sloping roofline gave it a sporty look evocative of 1940s Oldsmobiles, Buicks, and Pontiacs, while its compact size made it desirable to consumers. Early Barracuda advertising also emphasized utility—the small car offered seven feet of storage space once the back seats were folded down, an unusual feature at the time.
This 1964 sketch by John Samsen presents an early idea for the second-generation 1967 Barracuda series. Further highlighting the sporty qualities of the vehicle, this automobile design features accentuated ramping over the vehicle’s wheel arches and grills on both front and rear fenders. The numerous designs for the 1967–69 series by Samsen and his colleagues demonstrate Chrysler’s eagerness to expand the Barracuda line. This second series was available in fastback, notchback, and convertible styles featuring an elegant hood designed by Samsen to accommodate the introduction of the 340 V8 engine.

It is credited Museum purchase through gift of Paul Herzan and from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund.

  • Drawing, Concept Car, 1953
  • color pencil, graphite on paper.
  • Museum purchase through gift of Paul Herzan and from General Acquisitions....
  • 2017-18-6

Its dimensions are

33 × 41.9 cm (13 in. × 16 1/2 in.)

It is signed

Signed in pen and black ink, lower right: J.R. SAMSEN 8-25-64-64

Cite this object as

Drawing, Barracuda Concept, 1964; Office of Chrysler Corporation (United States); mixed media on paper; 33 × 41.9 cm (13 in. × 16 1/2 in.); Museum purchase through gift of Paul Herzan and from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund; 2017-18-22

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108806799/ |title=Drawing, Barracuda Concept, 1964 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=5 July 2020 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>