1974 Dodge Dart: Clean & Cheap!

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Wow, this stripper level Dart sure is clean looking at first glance. It’s advertised here on craigslist and is located in Wildomar, California. Thanks to Pat L. for this wonderful find! It’s priced at $2,750.

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Just looking at this car, I can imagine some Mopar V8 and a rumble from the rear. That’s not the case, however, as you’ll see later in this post. The body shell looks pretty solid, although there seems to be some rust along the drip rails. I’m also pretty sure that the paint isn’t the original color based on what it looks like under the hood.

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This side of the Dart looks pretty nice. I wonder what suggested that it was a good idea to put the “Dart” badge on the flank like that. I can guess many have been damaged by automatic car washes over the years.f5

Here’s a close up of that drip rail. But look on the floor in this shot and you might see a surprise–something you wouldn’t expect to find in this car–a manual transmission!

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We don’t know much of the history of this car, but given the stripper specifications of the car, I’m guessing it probably was used for commuter duty. The only seat wear looks to be on the driver’s side, and it’s not much. It would be nice if the seller told us the mileage on the car, but I’ll guess it’s something under 100,000 given the general appearance.

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Here’s the trusty slant six, no air conditioning (wouldn’t that be unusual in this area?) and what appears to be overspray from the blue paint job that changed it from the original tan. The seller tells us it runs and drives well and that the brakes and tires are in good condition. Considering the minimal rust, solid appearance and decent mechanical condition, you could drive this one for quite a while (although I’d add AC) without spending much. I’m sure some of you would like to put a V8 in, but I think I’d leave it with the six and enjoy it for a while. What would you do?

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Comments

  1. Fred W.

    Slant sixes may not be much, but they do well when faced with insane semi truck drivers!

    • Billy

      Seems to me that the great late Dennis Weaver’s Valiant was a 318 in the movie “Duel”. Am I wrong here? I recall remembering V8 badges on its side. Butttttt.. I love the slant six, have one in my garage right now.

      • Chebby

        You are correct, the car was a V8. If you pause and zoom in (yes I did this) you can see the badges were removed—what you see is just the gray goo that held them on. They needed David Mann to have a wimpy car to match his personalty. The 318 would have no trouble running away from that truck. Maybe the 170 six would struggle….

        There are also more than one Valiant used: one has deluxe aluminum trim, another has cheap chrome tape across the trunk lid to simulate it—you can spot this in a few scenes.

  2. Luke Fitzgerald

    Can see why they thought the color change was a good idea, judging the interior – however misguided – must be rare with that thing on the floor – not the best year – but not expensive if the mopar rot isn’t chronic

  3. Chebby

    A governmentally cheap car but it looks pretty cool. The 4-speed is rare and the price is right. Plus no door posts. Graft a junkyard turbo or supercharger on that slant-6!

  4. Jim Mc

    Oh, man….if this weren’t 2K miles away I’d own it now and DD the heck out of it.
    Great car, at a start price you can haggle with, esp if you have folding money on ya.
    These old Darts/Valiants w/the slant 6, they run forever. Heater, AM radio, that’s all you need. Never seen one with a stick, as opposed to column shift. But the 3-speeds are awesome, 2nd gear is good from 5 to 50 mph. Torque for days. So easy to work on, too.
    This is a beautiful car. Want want want.

  5. Rocko

    Slant six or 318~ same gas mileage!

    • TC

      Looks like B5 blue-ish, a 4 spd and dog dish hubcaps… Slip in a 340 ( I am a fan of the slant 6 though) and what a driver that would be.

  6. JC

    Would a Cummins 4BT or 6BT fit under that hood??

    • Jeffro

      I like your thinking!

      • JC

        If it fits, you might have the only one!

  7. Rustowner

    This is a cool one. Would keep it just as is. Hope the rot isn’t too bad. Odd place for rust especially since the rest of the car looks good.

  8. Rock On Member

    Slant six aka the leaning tower of power!

  9. JW

    With a V8 this would be the ultimate sleeper, but the six banger would do the job of getting you where you want to be.

  10. Howard A Member

    I remember many Chrysler cars of this era had floor shifters. While this would be a great driver, I can’t help but wonder how cool it would be, to leave the outside as is, and stuff a 440 in there. I’m sure it would pull the wheels off the ground.

  11. David king

    I agree drive it .I had a 72 dart with a slant six red with a white top and white interior.and you don’t see too many slant six’s any more .

  12. Rando

    Love it. I think the Dart badges were added on the top of quater in homage to the 70 models? A quick google search revealed none with the badges up there. BUth te 70 had them up there on the Swingers. I’d love to have this car. I had a 71 with 318 and not much else. Loved it.

  13. Fred W.

    “Seems to me that the great late Dennis Weaver’s Valiant was a 318 in the movie “Duel”. Am I wrong here?”

    Didn’t take long to find an internet discussion of this. Apparently Speilberg chose the car because of it’s low horsepower (small underpowered car against huge powerful truck). When I saw the movie as a kid, I distinctly remember a slant six when Dennis popped the hood to cool down the engine. But movie cars vary. Here’s what the discussion said:

    “Actually , there were three (3) different Plymouth Valiants used :

    – 1970 with a 318 V8 ( as witnessed by the slimline “V-EIGHT” emblem on the forward-centre of the front fenders ; this is a 1970-only emblem .

    – 1971 Slant Six

    – 1972 Slant Six”

    • Billy

      Thank you. That’s great info. Will have to find a copy and watch that movie, haven’t seen it since the 70s. Ahhh, the good old days.

  14. Nova Scotian

    Cool old ride. Nothing lasts in dry air like this! I’d buy if it was in my backyard. Update it as you dive it.

  15. Ed P

    I had a neighbor that owned an early Duster that had a 3 speed w/floor shift. About ’75 Chrysler regeared their four speed transmission to include overdrive in the “Feather Duster”. The overdrive was in response to the gas shortage and high prices of the era.

  16. RoughDiamond RoughDiamond Member

    Just like others have expressed, I’d love to have this, but too far away and I’ve seen too many vehicles damaged by “affordable” transporters. I would not be surprised though if it’s not already sold and the listing just wasn’t pulled.

  17. Bob

    Can’t fill ’em. I gew up driving one and when I went into the service, my father gave it to my sister who wrecked it. The engine was removed and installed into another Dart. I’m sure it’s still chugging along today.

  18. tje

    My first car was a Valiant with a slant six and 3 on the floor. Ooh, this would take me back…

  19. steviealx Member

    Thats probably a 3 speed with overdrive. Had one in my 73 duster. 1st, 2nd, and 4th were normal. 3rd had the overdrive gear and they flipped the shifter arm on the tranny to keep the patern normal. It worked well.

  20. JCW Jr.

    cousin had one with a 225. put a 4 barrel on it. Still a pig out of the hole but at a 25 MPH. kick down was really impressive.

  21. Ck

    I passed up a 70 from Cali with a 318 ,ac ,and hounds tooth interior at a swap meet a few yrs back.The car was in good shape looked all original and just looked kool with its steel wheels and dog dish hubcaps. Shuda, Coulda ,Woulda. These cars have so much potential .I just wish it was a few yrs older with a V8

  22. Oingo

    I think it is worth 1750-2250

  23. Steve

    I learned to drive on a ’75 Dodge Dart Swinger Special, which was the stripped model. No A/C. It had a 3 on the tree that used to get stuck between gears. You had to stop, . open the hood and then push the gear selector thing into place. Also, you had to keep what I think was a ballast resistor in the glove box along with a wrench. When the car would not start you had the remove the old resistor from the firewall in the engine compartment and replace it with a new one. Then you had to get a new one from the dealer. The suspension was terrible, even for the time. If you had 5 guys in the car after about 5 stops the brakes would seriously fade. Other than that it was a wonderful car.

  24. Joeinthousandoaks

    I will be in the area Friday. Maybe theres a slant 6 in my future?

  25. kevin

    1st. car was a 1968 PLYMOUTH Valiant, 225 slant 6, Auto. Bought it in 1981 for $50.00. Wish I still had it.

  26. RRMIX.

    My family car as a kid was a 1973 Dodge Dart Swinger Special in light blue (six cylinder, automatic, 2 door, no a/c, …but lived on cool Oregon coast, no power windows either). I loved that car and wished I could find something like it for nostalgia-sake. This 1974 looks like a very similar vehicle. I don’t know what made it a Swinger Special though)

    • Steve

      It was Special because it was a stripped, low cost version of the model. And I don’t really know why people would want them. Nostalgia I suppose. Memories seen through rose colored glasses. As cars they were atrocious.

  27. Ian

    I’ve been curious as to how well a slant 6 would respond to a good tech-ing out. Fuel injection, coil on plug ignition, roller hydraulic cam and lifters, etc. Backed by a 5 speed tremec. Power would definitely increase, but I’m wondering how much the mpg would jump.

  28. Ross W. Lovell

    Greetings All,

    Too bad it’s on the Left Coast, the wife has always wanted one again.

    I like the fact that in the sixties they made aluminum block versions for about two years. Wish they continued that way.

  29. Leon

    My 74 Swinger is auto and AC only. No power. Drums all four Front bumper frame mounted with huge rubber blocks. Rear is smooth chrome mounted on shocks. Made Feb 1974. Family owned since new. It sits in my garage awaiting $ to complete a resto

  30. Gman

    Love this car keep it just like it is and cruse it

  31. DKW

    Growing up, my favorite uncle had a green, two-door, Dodge Dart with a 318 and three on a tree. He was a good man and I remember him blowing the doors off a few cars…

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