$2,500 4-Speed: 1974 Dodge Dart Swinger

Scotty GilbertsonBy Scotty Gilbertson

This 1974 Dodge Dart Swinger looks like a winner. Thanks to Pat L for sending in this find. This blue Swinger can be found on craigslist with an asking price of $2,500 or best offer! I know, right? That sure seems like a no-brainer. It’s located halfway between San Diego and Los Angeles on Interstate-15. I believe that this may be a Dart Swinger Special, an entry-level model.

Is this is or is this ain’t a great looking car? This car checks so many boxes for me that it’s scary. It’s a Dodge, it’s a two-door, it’s in nice shape, it’s cheap as heck, it has black rims and dog-dish hubcaps, it has a slant-six, and are you ready for this next one? It has a floor-mounted 4-speed! Pat, you’re killin’ me! NADA lists an “average retail” for a similar car as being $6,300?

The body on this Swinger looks great! Wait, that sounded a little creepy.. The seller says that the “body is in good condition a few surface rust spots here and there but overall in good condition”. It looks better than good to me. In the previous year, 1973, Dodge Darts received an update in styling even though they were still a part of the fourth-generation cars that were sold from 1967 to 1976. For 1974, as in the car shown here, rear bumpers also had to be meet the new federal 5 mph standards so they were fattened up and the tail lights were moved above the bumper instead of being incorporated into the bumper like on the 1973 models.

Ok, so the floor-mounted 4-speed is most likely (99.9% likely?) an add-on conversion from the column-mounted 3-speed manual. I can see what looks like the opening where the column-shifter would have been mounted. I’m not sure if a person could even get a 4-speed with the six-cylinder Dart? None of the info that I’ve seen shows that option, just that a 4-speed was available for V8 Darts. I’m all over a three-on-the-tree shifting configuration, I used that for years in Dodge Vans and it was second nature. But, there’s something about a floor shifter that’s just fun to operate. Swinger Specials didn’t typically have carpet or a wood-grain dash, which is another sign that leads me to believe that this is a Swinger Special. The seats look like they may have been reupholstered? And, the rip in the driver’s seat could use some attention, not to mention that the dash top for sure is roached. But, for $2,500!

This is a slant-six, but is it a 198 cubic-inch with 95 hp or a 225 cubic-inch slant-six with 105 hp? From what I’ve read, both were available in the Swinger, but some sources list the 198 slant-six only and some only list the 223 slant-six. And, is that engine bay supposed to be white or has this car been painted blue? Hmm.. I think that should be body-colored in the engine compartment, so this was a white car at some point. I don’t mind the blue at all, but dang, I would almost be compelled to paint the engine compartment the same body color, being the fanatic that I am. Or not, just make sure that things work great and drive it!

Get Daily Email Updates:

Comments

  1. RayT Member

    I have to wonder if that floor shift is original. The paint certainly isn’t!

    But this could be a fun car if all the mechanicals are in order. If I had it, I’d have to take advantage of some of the hop-up goodies that were available for the slant-six; always wanted to know how much power could be squeezed out, since in stock form they seem almost indestructible.

    Nice looks, nice color — yes, the engine bay and whatever white edges show elsewhere need to be properly painted — and a nice size for everyday driving.

    0
  2. Howard A Member

    Man, this was one basic car. Wiki claims, the 4 speed was first offered behind the 6 in 1975, ( 1st time in 10 years) so either this was changed, or it may still be the 3 speed ( column shifter stub cut off) and stock 4 speeds had a different transmission hump. Might be a Chrysler shifter though. Best thing for this, because the body is so nice, drop a hemi in it. ( or a 440 six pack)

    0
    • jaygryph

      Or, ya know, just drive it.
      Because most of us haven’t got Hemi money, and there don’t need to be more castles in the sky dead projects developing flat spots in good rubber.

      0
      • Howard A Member

        Hi jaygryph, I only said the hemi thing, because I thought that’s what most people wanted to hear. Personally, I’d drive it as is myself, but in the real world, someone will probably drop a big motor in this. These Darts were the cars to beat with a big motor in the ’70’s.

        0
    • James

      1964 was the first year for the A833 regardless of engine.
      http://www.allpar.com/mopar/transmissions/four-speed-manual.html

      0
  3. KeithK

    My first girlfriend had one. She was kind enough to let me drive. Don’t remember much about the car.

    0
    • KeithK

      Wait , I remember now. The steering wheel got in the way a lot.

      0
  4. A.J.

    I wonder if it is a 3 on the tree that has been moved to the floor and the ad is wrong?

    If factory then this is a great car for someone.

    0
  5. Mitch

    The 75s did have the 3/OD stick. A friend of mine put one in his ’71 Challenger to back his slightly hopped up slant he had under the hood. Quick car for what it was.

    0
  6. Spence

    Juice that Slant 6 right on up: http://www.shop.cliffordperformance.net/Mopar-225_c8.htm?page=all

    And a SC if you’re feeling friskier: https://youtu.be/oTRl6rCvm5s?t=40s

    0
    • Joe

      Friend of mine has a pair of Factory MOPAR 4 bbl intakes in his stash. (As well as a 6 cylinder OHC Pontiac 4 bbl intake) I’ve never seen either anywhere else!

      0
  7. Blyndgesser

    I always liked the clean lines of the Swinger and Scamp better than the supposedly sportier Demon/Duster/Dart Sport. They make great sleepers. No need for a 440 or Hemi though–a four barrel 360 with a mild cam is all they need.

    0
  8. Danno

    That slant-six was just really well-engineered. If a dependable old Dodge is what you’re after, you’d be hard-pressed to choose something other than that engine.

    0
  9. Mike H

    My old man had a 1974 Valiant 4-door in the early 1980’s with the 225 (“Leaning Tower of Power!”) and a floor shifted 3-speed, so the floor mounted shifter could be original. I’m no authority on these cars, but I can say I have seen one similarly equipped.

    0
  10. Jay E.

    Ok, I don’t get it. These are crappy, entry level cars. Leaky, sloppy steering, bad drum brakes, noisy interiors, uncomfortable. A repaint, high mileage engine, old glass. Why all the enthusiasm? Are there so many bad $5000.00 cars out here that when a ho-hum 6 cylinder grandma car appears it generates enthusiasm?

    0
    • Nova Scotia

      Yea’ in a way I agree with you. Lots of other builders out there. But, I too like the body style. Upgrade the brakes, rebuild or replace trans, drop in a v8, update suspension, jack up the ass and then add Crager mags. You’ll get noticed. Oh, and don’t forget to spook the windows. LOL.

      0
    • SunbeamerStu

      Yeah, everything you said about the cars is true. But grandma’s gone, and only memories remain. Nostalgia is kinder than reality.

      My elderly next-door neighbor had a Dart just like this (minus the 4 speed). A real piece of junk it was. I can still hear the whine of the starter, the clunk of the auto transmission shift, the cry of the power steering assist. Still, seeing an old ride like this brings a smile to my insides.

      0
      • A.J.

        The whine of the starter is that beautiful siren song of a 1960s – 70s Mopar starter motor. They all sounded like that.

        0
      • Jim Mc

        I used to buy rebuilt starters for these slants, I can’t tell ya how many times. Got to where I could swap one out in 20 minutes. The companies who re-manned ’em could never get the re-winding right, they’d inevitably fail after six months, esp if it was winter. Regardless, my fave motor of all time.

        0
      • Joe

        And it was still being broken in like that lol! Those old Darts just never quit.

        0
    • Joe

      WHY? Because THESE are the ones no one sees anymore! And that is what makes them cool.
      Everyone has 350 Novas and Chevelles, 302 Mustangs, 5.0 Fox bodies, and 318-383 Dodges. Yawn.

      0
  11. A.J.

    Easy, California car, 4 on the floor, 2 door, nostalgic model (although agreed entry level beater) and most importantly CHEAP.

    If somebody buys it to dump 1-2k into it then I love it. If somebody buys it to dump 10-20k in to it then I agree with you.

    0
  12. Jim Mc

    Two & half? Offer seventeen cash and buy it now.

    Bulletproof slant 6, two door, can’t miss. I’ve owned a half dozen of these, they rule.

    Wrong coast. Dang it.

    0
  13. nessy

    That 4 speed could be correct. My friend had a puke green Duster with the slant 6 and a factory 4 speed on the floor. I believe his car was a 75. Either way, I do not care for any base model early 70’s model Chrysler products except maybe an Imperial and I’m not a fan of dog dish hubcaps and black wall tires. You guys can have this one. It would look good parked next to that pittyful gold and brown basic Plymouth wagon from a few weeks ago. Boy did these cars rust. Maybe this one is full of bondo. That blue paint is not factory for sure.

    0
  14. GreaserMatt

    Someones going to get a good deal… : )

    0
  15. Joe Haska

    I had his very same car with column shift, I drove the wheels off of it, and then my son took it , and he drove it. Just a great car and it looked good too. We lowered it, (turned the torshion bars), added Ralley wheels it was perfect.
    I wish I had a reason to buy this car, San Diego isn’t that far from Phoenix.

    0
  16. Dave Suton

    I wish I lived in CA for this one reason. Love this car!

    0
  17. rando

    Same car but $250 less now than October 2016…http://barnfinds.com/1974-dodge-dart-clean-cheap/ Jamie wrote it up then. I still like it. Everyone likes different cars for different reasons. This old “grandma car” gives me reasonably good memories of a car I owned that was mostly reliable and a lot of fun for me.

    This isn’t a one car site, so if you don’t like, move on. no sense wondering why someone would want anything posted here. Heck I skip the snow mobiles every time. I guess I should go complain and give thumbs down?

    0
    • Ed P

      I agree. If a topic does not interest me, I move on and don’t complain. There will always be something else I like here.

      0
    • Jason

      Good catch on the previous sale. Is it being flipped again quickly (and for a loss) or re-listed by the same owner? Either way, there might be something less awesome about the car that’s not obvious.

      0
  18. Jim Mc

    FYI, it’s a 225. The four-speed wasn’t offered with the smaller six (to the best of my recollection – and please correct me if I’m wrong!)

    0
  19. Rock On

    Nice catch Rando. I thought by the white paint under hood that I recognized this car.

    0
  20. Grid

    My grandfather always had the latest Fords. His last was a ’57 with the police interceptor 312 and 3-speed. When he died, my grandmother at 73 got her first drivers license. She didn’t comprehend much other than putting the shift into second (or reverse) depending on travel direction) and slipping her foot off the clutch. It didn’t take many trips at 60mph for an hour in second to burn that Ford up, so she got a Dodge Dart, 4 door, black–the only option was the automatic, which she would put in R and stand on the brake wondering why the car didn’t move, or 1 with the same results. When I ended up with the car I added power steering and a radio but it was still a Dart–2 door, 4-door, ’67 or ’75 you name it. You just couldn’t make a silk purse out of it.

    0
  21. ROTAG999

    4 speed…. 3 forward and 1 for reverse or race…= 4 Speed

    0
  22. Rustytech

    While I see the missing panel on the bottom of the steering column, it looks too low to have been a column shifter. I don’t know if a 4 speed option was available on the 6cyl. I do know you could order a 3 speed floor shifter. I noticed the comments on the Hemi, and I agree if we’re talking about the period 426, but the later model 5.7’s and 6.4’s are sitting by the thousands in salvage yards all over the country. There’s plenty of room also to install the necessary PCM and wiring. Another option for me would be a period 340. Personally I’d have no problem with the 6 if it the 225ci. The 198 couldn’t out run a beetle.

    0
  23. Ck

    Why are all the nice cheap cars on the the other side?

    0
  24. Richard

    You can see the shifter slot on the column.
    Enlarge the photo.Not original 4 speed.
    I want maybe I’ll drive it back to Baltimore.
    RW

    0
  25. kevin

    Always thought the starters on these old Mopars sounded like Dino from the Fluntstones when cranking. Friend had an old Dart we built a nice 340 for, but first we had to blow up the old slant 6(not my idea,his). We drove across town in 1st gear, and the thing never let go! Talk about bombproof!

    0
  26. scott

    The desire to drop in a 340 with multiple carbs is strong with this one. Great starting place for a resto mod project.

    0
  27. Richard

    Sold.

    0
    • Jason

      Well, deleted by author at least. Who knows if it really sold, or what happened in October either.

      0
  28. John B

    I’d buy any 1974 mopar ahead of a ’75 or later. Last year for regular leaded gas motors and a lot less pollution controls in place. This one is not rare enough to restore, just carefully and sensibly hop it up a bit and have fun. If you retrofitted earlier bumpers alone there would be a large weight savings!

    0
  29. ELMER JAMES TURNER

    i really don,t see why all the accolades for this basic dodge swinger. i had a 1975 with the rock solid 318 block and automatic. metallic blue with white vinyl top, full hubcaps and white walls, dual exhaust that would have made this one look like a garbage scow.

    0
  30. Tony Geloso

    1/4/17

    Went on CL and found the ad withdrawn.

    0
  31. craig johns

    i only see a brake pedal and a gas pedal. where’s the clutch!

    0
  32. Mark PRND

    Put a 1970-1972 front clip and its all good…..

    People don’t know that the 318 2bbl had a few different Carburetors….

    Some had less power and hardly moved, while the one had one that had a lot of get up and go, this is why some people say a 318 is a dog and some say its pretty quick….15 second 1/4 mile car compared to a upper 16-17 with the other carb ! I know this as my Uncle owned a Chrysler dealer back in the day..

    And later lean burn/spark control computer Mopar car owners, swap it for Mopar orange box ecu ,vacuum advanced distributor and a new carb, ensure its the good one !!! Then you go from a super dog to a decent performer even with 2.21 rear axle and a 2.45 1st gear in the trans…

    0
  33. Melvin Burwell

    I know that car is sold. Here’s my number if its still available. 818- 792-7209. I’m in L.A. and I’ll come get It.

    0
  34. Larry Grinnell

    I almost bought a brand new ’76 Valiant at a Plymouth dealer in South Miami back in the day. It had the 4-speed, though Plymouth referred to it as a 3+Overdrive (4th was geared pretty tall). Dealer would have added an underdash a/c (same as the factory installation) for a decent price, but I was lured away by a firecracker red ’76 AMC Pacer X (with white vinyl trim), with the 258 “6” and a 3-on-the-floor (no 4-speeds for another few months–as usual, AMC didn’t always quite “get it”). As nice as the Pacer was, I should have probably gotten the Valiant. Would have had it Ziebarted, as the Chrysler compacts (Valiant/Dart) of that era were rust magnets, though probably not as bad as the follow-on Aspen/Volare nightmares.

    0

Leave A Comment

Rules: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks. Click here to list your car for sale.

*

Notify me of new comments via email. Or subscribe without commenting.