The US Patent and Trademark Office probably isn't the natural hangout of muscle car enthusiasts, but it's definitely an organization that got their interest this week. That's because Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has just submitted a trademark with the Patent Office for the name Cuda.
Muscle car fans will instantly recognize this as the abbreviated version of the name of Plymouth's classic, much-missed Barracuda muscle car. The Barracuda was in production for a decade between 1964 and 1974, and its name was occasionally shortened to just Cuda on some models.
Almost as soon as production ended in 1974, rumors started circulating about Chrysler bringing back the Barracuda or Cuda in one form or another. And those rumors certainly picked up pace when Chrysler unveiled the current 1970s-inspired version of the Dodge Challenger back in 2008. Now that FCA has been seen to file the Cuda trademark, speculation surrounding a potential revival is understandable, though probably misplaced.
Filing the trademark is more than likely to be little more than a defensive move by FCA to ensure no other manufacturer can slide in and take the name for a model of its own. It also allows Chrysler to use the name for products other than an expensive new model, such as memorabilia.
There is actually a car in the FCA pipeline that has been linked with the return of the Barracuda nomenclature, which is a muscle car closer in size to the Camaro and Mustang planned as both a coupe and a convertible. This model is believed to be closely related to the Alfa Romeo Giulia, but whether it will even come under the Dodge banner, never mind be called a Barracuda or Cuda, is open to debate. Although FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne confirmed this midsize rear wheel drive was in the pipeline, the company doesn't have a big development budget right now, and it's hard to see how much commercial sense there is in offering another sports car below the Challenger.
For now at least, those hoping to see a Cuda revival will have to keep their finger crossed and continue to hope.