Delivering the Promise – 1975 Plymouth Duster

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.

1975 Plymouth Duster right front

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.

1975 Plymouth Duster engine

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.

1975 Plymouth Duster left rear

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.

1975 Plymouth Duster interior

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?


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4 Responses to “Delivering the Promise – 1975 Plymouth Duster”

  1. Tony Says:

    This would be a really nice driver. I don’t know that I could resist the temptation to put a nice V-8 with EFI and a/c and have a nice start on a Power Tour car…

  2. MountainMan Says:

    Nice find, the six is bulletproof and a nice change from the usual v8. I bet it makes enough power to be an entertaining driver

  3. steve in podunk Says:

    these were great cars, and pretty much unkillable; depending on the rust and the quality of the repair, this is probably a fair deal.

  4. 1977chevytruck Says:

    “Would you try it?”

    Definitely. If I were too buy one, it would definitely have a hopped up Slant 6, because it would be cheaper, bulletproof, and just more unique than another 340 clone.

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