The Plymouth Duster was one of those ambiguously named cars – the name’s reference to “dusting” anyone at a street race should have probably been “Dusted”, particularly when set up with an emissions-control-choked slant six. Competing with cars like the Ford Maverick, it also provided an alternative to imports like Toyota’s Corona and the VW Beetle. Though more modern, it still failed to achieve the sense of quality the imports provided, and is arguably one of the many death throes of “old Detroit”. That said, it is a part of our history, and in the 4 elapsed decades since the cars were built, the aftermarket has risen up to fill in the shortcomings of the original design. A good example of that is this 1975 Plymouth Duster for sale for $3499 in Portland, OR.
It’s actually not a bad looking car, particularly thanks to the sport wheels and the fact brown has come back into fashion. Unfortunately, it looks like it used to have a partial vinyl roof that’s been removed, without the corresponding paint repair, and the driver’s rear quarter panel has been fixed and primed without getting new paint. Otherwise, the car looks pretty complete and straight, though giant bumpers and side striping do their best to interrupt the original designer’s intentions.
Here’s the choicest shot of the car, under the hood. So yeah, it’s a slant six, but the seller has clearly invested some time and money in getting the combustibles in and the exhaust out as efficiently as possible. Clifford is well-recognized for hopping up the thriftier selections from US manufacturers, and this car seems to benefit from their intake, valve cover, fancy-looking carburetor, and fancy exhaust manifold. The seller claims it is a sleeper and compares it to the V8s “everyone else has”. There’s no discussion of any corresponding upgrades to suspension or brakes.
Here’s where you can see a weak spot – there’s been some rust repair, now covered by primer. The photos show a surprisingly clean paintjob in most other areas, so it would be interesting to see how it looks in real life. The car has 30,000 miles on a performance rebuild by VP Portland Engine Rebuilders – that’s right, the guy who fixes the car doesn’t even need to specify an obscure marque name on his shingle to modify something unusual. The car is said to have 49K total and to average 18mpg from its engine.
The interior is one other rough spot, though based on the pictures, you might be best off replacing some individual strips of vinyl if you’re gung ho for originality. The floor shifter looks to be an aftermarket conversion, and though the components are fairly common on older American cars, it would be nice for the sleeper effect to see if something more subtle can be installed in its place. Carpet seems to be the only major missing component, though this shouldn’t be too hard to find for an a-body Mopar product. Overall, this car is a chance to experience something unusual – a hopped up American inline-six. Would you try it?