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1973 Dodge Dart: HEMI Swap Candidate?

1973 Dodge Dart

This Dodge Dart is claimed to be a “completely stock granny car”. That doesn’t sound very exciting, does it? Inline-six, bench seat, three-on-the-tree – not exactly words that invoke much passion. Still, this economical driver was well-cared for by its female owner and it shows. The seller does purpose the possibility of using it for a HEMI swap and that would definitely spice things up! But, do you think that is the best use for this Swinger survivor? It’s located in Burbank, California and is listed here on craigslist for $5,000.

A few seams have split and the carpet could use a cleaning, but things don’t look too bad in here. If you have ever ridden on an old Dodge bench seat then you know that it isn’t exactly sporting in there. It’s fine for cruising, grocery getting, and a few passes at the local drag strip though…

225 Inline Six

The 225 inline-six isn’t a bad engine, but it isn’t exactly going to light up the rear tires. This car is a conundrum. It’s nice enough that you could just leave it as-is, but it’s not very exciting in stock form. It’s not a super valuable car either so that is not going to make the decision any easier. The choice will ultimately be up to the next owner, but what route do you think you’d take?


  1. Michael V.

    I personally would put a 340 and a suitable manual transmission(Tremec?) in it, and modify the suspension and brakes to make it into a great handling car.

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    • JW

      I totally agree, not every Mopar has to be a Hemi to be fun.

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      • Lane

        Whoops. Sorry, but I accidentally hit the “Report” button. No problem here and I actually agree with the post.

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  2. Rick

    Leave it alone. Its a nice stock original survivor and is just fine the way it is, and they’re only orignal once. There are plenty of lesser Darts around that would be better candidates for a hemi, and I’d look for a ’72 or earlier without that big stupid bumper that’s on the front of this one

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  3. Bill

    As is untill engine or trans gives up. Then hot-rod it.

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    • Slidey

      I had the same plan for my mom’s slant six duster back in ’86 (handed down to me
      after she got a new car). After 30 years and 145000 miles it still won’t quit

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    • Joe

      In other words, its gonna be stock for a LOONG time! And thats a good thing.

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  4. Rock On Member

    Best 2016 anti-theft device, three on the tree!

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  5. wagon master

    Keep it as a unique well preserved piece of 2 door history! Hemi conversion would just utilize the shell because everything else would have to go. Then it’s lost forever.

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  6. jim s

    i would have fun daily driving this as is. don’t need a V8 or Hemi to have fun. great find.

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  7. PaulG

    Great car, I would clean and repair what needs fixing, and drive it.
    BTW, trust me, you can light up the rear tires w/ the slant 6 / standard trans. combo…

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  8. Matt Member

    my daily driver is a 83 dodge ram 150, it has a slant six with a 3 speed manual. It can light up the back tires quite easily, well one anyways, it has a split-posi.

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    • Neal

      What is a split-posi?
      I thought posi was POSI, meaning both rear wheels are powered.

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  9. Jim Mc

    Granny car? No. Grandpa car? Yes. Granny didn’t drive a three-on-the-tree, Grandpa did. Esp w/no power brakes.
    Love everything about this car except the color. Yeesh. Oh, and that it’s overpriced by at least two grand. But other than that I would totally daily drive the heck out of it.

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    • Mike

      Hate to argue a point with you Jim Mc, but my Mom drove a 72 Duster for years and it have a slant 6 with 3 on the tree, until she replaced it with a 85 Dodge 1/2 ton pickup with 3 speed and over drive. The last truck she drove was a 99 Ford Ranger with a 3 speed.
      She and Dad both learned to drive and drove 3 and 4 speeds up until she passed away. She always said that in her later years of life that was how she got her daily work out, clutch and shift.
      So this car could have been a Granny Car!!!!

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  10. flmikey

    …I’m with PaulG….keep it the way it is…and you can light ’em up with a slant 6/standard… of course, you would need a good supply of clutches in the trunk…

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  11. George

    There was a lot of “go fast” gear made for the slant 6.

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  12. Telly Black

    A stroked twin-turbo small block would work well…

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  13. Vince Habel

    Take care of the slant 6 and it will live forever.

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  14. erikj

    I would just clean it up, make it safe and treat it nice until it would be come a 340- 4spd.

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  15. Doc

    If you go V8 ya gotta change the K member, the rest is pretty easy, 340 is the best candidate.Change the leafs of course.

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  16. Bob S

    I tried to kill my 225 slant six Valiant. I was not successful.

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  17. Kevin

    I got pulled over as a 19 yr. old going 121mph (said Officer Friendly) at 3am in a ’79 Plymouth Volare Duster with the Slant 6 and an automatic. We were both impressed. This is a smaller and lighter car, so I wonder…

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  18. Slidey

    I’d put on a 70-72 front clip, mopar rallye wheels with BFG T/A’s, buckets and an original console, and then drive it everywhere

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  19. Leon

    My 74 I inherited from grandma has slant 6 with auto No PS No PB. Drums all around

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  20. Steve B

    Slant 6 A-bodies and full-frame Chrysler Imperials will be the last cars running after the zombie/nuclear/whatever apocalypse.

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  21. Bryan

    leave it like it is why put a HEMI in it Buy one with a Hemi check Hemings lots of them there.

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  22. John

    My father-in-law’s 1962 Valiant with a slant six is still running. It’s had several reprints and a couple of transmissions. But the slant 6 has only had a valve job and, of course, water pump, alternator (remember the little round Chrysler alternators), and hoses. He has learned to repair the transmission’s push buttons himself – a lost art.

    Having said all that, I still have to say it’s a horrible old car to drive, noisy, rattley, and it has the slowest steering box ever conceived (seems like about a dozen turns lock to lock). But it will never wear out. Even if you want it to.

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  23. Chebby

    Left front bumper looks a little crunched but hard to see in that picture. Needs a black interior, brown on yellow is awful.

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    • GEOFF S.

      On the build sheet the paint is listed as number 1, interior number 2.

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    • Gerry

      The bumbers are perfect & chrome is great!

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