Duster turning to Dust: 1974 Plymouth Duster 340

The Plymouth Duster was a valiant attempt by Chrysler to convert an economy car into a muscle car. Their attempt was so successful that it seems like anyone approaching midlife (or older) has a story about a Duster!  These cars were usually offered with the economy minded (but would run forever) slant 6, or the 318 V8.  The 340 V8 really turned these cars into muscle cars and they handled well with their front torsion bar suspension.  But even though this Duster offered on Craigslist has a good body, it has a nasty surprise underneath.

This 340 Duster seems to have a rust free body. No mention is made whether this has been restored but in 1974 Plymouth replaced the 340 V8 with the 360. So this engine isn’t original to the car. 1974 was also the most popular year for Dusters with almost 300,000 sold. Now do you see why everyone has a story about a Duster?

Some of you won’t like this car because it doesn’t have a row-your-own transmission. But it does have a solid Torqueflite automatic transmission that should provide trouble free service for a long time.  All of the V8 powered Dusters also had disc brakes for stopping all of that V8 power. Wait, this car has a surprise lurking, so what is it?

This car is hiding plenty of rust beneath that nice body. The driver’s floor board is rusted out but the more troubling area is the torsion bar mounts.  Those torsion bars that provided nice handling for the Chrysler A-bodies were also prone to rusting where the bars attach to the frames.  Replacement cross-members are available fortunately.  Is $5000 a fair price for this Duster which is trying to turn itself back into dust?

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