1972 Plymouth ‘Cuda Engine Options and Specifications

In 1972 the Plymouth ‘Cuda could be ordered with two different engines.

For the 1972 ‘Cuda, the production year started with the 340 4 barrel as the standard engine. Shortly after, the 318 2 barrel became the standard engine and the 340 4 barrel became an optional engine. There were no other engine options available.

1972 was the first year a big block engine, like the 383, 440 4 barrel, 440 Six Barrel or 426 Hemi wasn’t available for the ‘Cuda model.

This article will include the 1972 ‘Cuda 340 4 barrel and 318 2 barrel engine specifications. This includes the engine code, cost, displacement, horsepower, torque, compression ratio, camshaft, lifter type, valve sizes, bore, stroke, air cleaner, exhaust, fuel and carburetion.

1972 Plymouth 'Cuda with a 340 Engine.
1972 Plymouth Cuda with a 340 Engine

1972 Plymouth ‘Cuda Engine Options and Specifications

The 1972 ‘Cuda was available with the following engines.

  • 318 2-barrel (Standard)
  • 340 4-barrel (Optional)

At the start of the production year the 340 engine was the standard engine for the 1972 ‘Cuda. There was no other optional engine.

A product information bulletin released in September of 1971 stated the 318 2-barrel engine (E44) replaces the 340 4-barrel (E55) as the standard engine. It also stated the 340 engine will continue to be installed on the BS23 (‘Cuda) until a future date to be announced. Once the change went into effect the 340 4-barrel became the optional engine.

In 1972 the 383 4 barrel, 440 Six barrel and the 426 Hemi were dropped from the ‘Cuda engine lineup and wasn’t offered as an option.

Bulletin indicating a change in the 'Cuda standard engine for 1972.
Bulletin indicating a change in the Cuda standard engine for 1972

All Engine Horsepower and Torque Ratings Change

Prior to 1971 an engine’s gross horsepower and torque were used for the factory power ratings. In 1971, the manufacturers reported both gross and net horsepower and torque. Starting in 1972 SAE gross horsepower was no longer used and the SAE net horsepower became the new rating.

Gross and net horsepower are both measured at the crank. The difference is the use of engine accessories, air cleaner and factory exhaust to calculate net horsepower which is not used for gross horsepower.

Therefore, in addition to horsepower robbing internal engine changes, the net rating lowered the power numbers for 1972.

1972 ‘Cuda With a 340 4-barrel

340 4-barrel engine.
340 4 barrel engine

The 340 4-barrel was available as the standard engine for the 1972 ‘Cuda at the start of the production year. Shortly after, it became the optional engine.

The rated horsepower was drastically reduced and the compression was lowered from the previous year.

The 1.88″ intake valves were smaller than the 2.02″ valves the year before.

As of April 11, 1972 a cast crankshaft replaced the forged crankshaft starting with 340 engine serial number HM340R-3911-8000. In addition, a different damper and a torque converter and/or flywheel with special balance was used.

The engine code was E55. Let’s take a look at the specifications.

Specifications340 4-barrel
Bore and Stroke4.04″ x 3.31″
Horsepower240 @ 4,800 RPM
Torque290 @ 3,600 RPM
Compression Ratio8.5:1
CamshaftHigh lift, high performance
Cam Duration/Overlap268°/276°/44°
Cam Lift.429″/.444″
Lifter TypeHydraulic
Valve Diameter, Intake1.88″
Valve Diameter, Exhaust1.60″
CarburetionSingle Carter 4-bbl
Air CleanerUnsilenced
Exhaust SystemDual, low restriction
Fuel RecommendedRegular
1972 ‘Cuda 340 4 barrel Specifications.

1972 Plymouth 'Cuda with a 340 engine.
1972 Plymouth Cuda with a 340 engine

1972 ‘Cuda With a 318 2-barrel

At the start of the year the 318 2-barrel wasn’t available in the ‘Cuda. Shortly after it became the standard engine.

The engine code was E44. Let’s take a look at the specifications.

Specifications318 2-barrel
Bore and Stroke3.91″ x 3.31″
Horsepower150 @ 4,000 RPM
Torque 260 @ 1,600 RPM
Compression Ratio8.6:1
Cam Duration/Overlap240°/248°/26°
Cam Lift.373″/.399″
Lifter TypeHydraulic
Valve Diameter, Intake1.78″
Valve Diameter, Exhaust1.50″
CarburetionSingle Ball and Ball 2-bbl
Air CleanerSingle Snorkel
Exhaust SystemSingle
Fuel RecommendedRegular
1972 ‘Cuda 318 2 barrel Specifications.

That’s the complete list of engines available for the 1972 Plymouth ‘Cuda. If you have any questions to ask me about the engine options or specifications for the 1972 ‘Cuda car model, send us an email found specifically on my contact page or comment below.

Kevin Garce video displaying countless E-body Mopar cars.

About 38 years ago I assembled my first Mopar engine, it was for a 1970 ‘Cuda. It’s at that time my hands on experience with Mopar cars and engines, including the 440, started. Although my research of the engines started years earlier.

1972 'Cuda with a 340 engine.
1972 Plymouth Cuda rear view

Read More E-body ‘Cuda Articles

1970 Plymouth ‘Cuda Engine Options and Specifications

1971 Plymouth ‘Cuda Engine Options and Specifications

1973 Plymouth ‘Cuda Engine Options and Specifications

1974 Plymouth ‘Cuda Engine Options and Specifications

Article Resources

  • 1972 Plymouth Service Manual
  • Google Books: Chrysler Engines 1922-1998
  • The Definitive Barracuda & Challenger Guide 1970-1974 by Scott E. Ross

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