318 V8 Survivor: 1971 Dodge Dart Swinger

The fourth generation of the Dodge Dart would have the moniker’s longest run, from 1967-76. The Dart was the Dodge equivalent of the Plymouth Valiant. A 2-door hardtop variant, the Swinger, would be added to the line-up in 1969. Most Darts of that era were equipped with the Slant-Six engine or the 318 V8, which is the powerplant in the seller’s 1971 Dart Swinger. This car looks like a decent survivor which has been a daily driver the past couple of years. It can be found in Canyon Country, California and here on eBay where the bidding holds at $5,600. There is no reserve, so the car should find a new home.

The Dodge Dart was the lowest-priced full-size Dodge in 1960-61, an intermediate for the next year, and a compact from there to the end of the car’s run. The nameplate would be brought back for a time in 2012 as a Fiat-based compact thanks to that company’s ownership position with Chrysler. The Swinger materialized in 1969 as Dodge was looking to attract a younger buyer to its largely stodgy-looking cars. After a noticeable facelift in 1970, the 1971 models were larger unchanged. Dodge sold about 250,000 Darts that year, and the Swinger was the dominant seller at more than 100,000 units. For A-Bodies Only tracks production data for these cars.

The seller apparently has owned this ’71 Swinger for two years and has been driving it regularly. It’s said to be an original California car that has not ventured outside the state. There is no evidence of any rust, although the medium blue paint is showing its age. It’s hard to tell, but it looks like a two-tone car rather than a vinyl roof on top. The mileage is stated to be 74,000 which could be accurate. The interior looks quite passable, but the front seat needs new material as does the dash pad. The steering wheel is aftermarket and it looks — well, different.

The 318 engine and TorqueFlite transmission are said to their job and do it well. Everything works including the factory A/C and heater. The stock motor wears a new Holley carburetor with an Edelbrock intake manifold, so it’s probably zippier than when it left the factory. The ignition switch gave up the ghost, so the seller rigged up a push button to start the car. We’re told it’s a $200 fix which can be done by him or the buyer and the selling price adjusted accordingly.

According to NADA and Hagerty, these Dart Swingers are $10-12,000 cars if in great shape – and considerably higher if they were Swinger 340s. This one looks to be in better than fair condition, which is where the bidding currently stands. Fix the ignition problem and you could have a nice Cars & Coffee car without breaking the bank. But a piece of advice for other sellers: when you take photos of your car to sell, don’t take pictures with a pole between you and the car or the sun shining into the camera.

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Comments

  1. Steve R

    Nice car. The current price is still very reasonable and is likely to remain so even though bidding is probably far from finished, and rightfully so. It looks like a good starting point for a car that a new owner can in any direction.

    Steve R

    Like 5
  2. Super Glide

    Changes needed:
    Replace 318 with 340 six pack.
    Replace 904 trans with 727.
    Replace rear end with 8 3/4.
    Tidy up the body.
    Have a nice day.

    Like 2
    • Phil D

      An actual 340 Six Pack would be so rare as to be an impractical suggestion, but a ’70 340 4 barrel (or a later model engine built to 1970 specs) would also be a blast to drive and far easier to find (and maintain).

      Like 2
  3. mainlymuscle

    Both comments are bang on so far.I would add that for those of you who ask ;here is your entry level enthusiast car.

    Like 4
  4. Burt

    Can’t imagine naming a car ‘swinger’ today. Has to make the top ten list of stupid car names. But would have made a good commercial with two wild and crazy guys saying “wanna see my Swinger?”

    Like 2
    • Jeffo

      Crazy car names….nice! Anybody else come up with a crazy car name?

      • jerry hw brentnell

        go look at new cars and tell me it the names they are called makes any sence? not likely

        Like 2
      • 370zpp 370zpp Member

        “Probe” and “Aspire” always come to mind.

        Like 1
    • Tman

      Or it Swings with a Demon

    • William

      I believe the name Swinger referred to a lifestyle, not a phallus reference, just saying. Funny that most Swingers had a sedate slant six under the hood, such irony.

      Like 2
  5. Jcs

    My family owned one of these back in the day, same year. Butterscotch over black, 318 with A/C.

    Turned out to be a fantastic car that hung around for well over a decade.

    While I can’t speak to the performance of this one, I can attest to the fact that the one that we had flat hauled ass. The 318 was a charm and dead reliable. Light and nimble, this car showed its tailights to many a Mustang, Camaro, Firebird, etc. I even walked away from a couple of GTOs in this little screamer, surprising us both.

    The only issue that I recall ever having with that car was an accelerator pedal that liked to stick wide open. I found out many years later that it did the same thing to my older brother on the exact same stretch of road. Sphincter tightening for sure but proof positive to us both that it would easily bury that long speedometer – with a quickness.

    Great car, daisy and all.

    Like 3
    • Jcs

      BTW, that is actually the stock steering wheel that someone apparently had the brilliant idea to place a goofy button on the horn pad as a DIY fix.

      Like 3
      • rod

        Had a friend with the factory rimblo wheel also but thought it wasn’t working…the switch is in the inside rim of the grip, hence the name. Maybe this guy was in the same boat.

        Like 1
      • Gransedan

        I believe that is the optional “Tuff” steering wheel.

        Like 1
      • DON

        Its the optional “Rim Blow ” steering wheel . Nice looking, but they usually aren’t working anymore , when you can find them. Too bad they screwed that horn button on the steering pad ; they aren’t too common to find anymore .

  6. Tom

    In 1971, my father was sick and tired of car repairs. He went to the Dodge dealer and ordered a 1972 Swinger with NO options…not even a radio! (My mother paid for a radio a few months later.) The car was a slant 6 and 3 speed on the column. It was passed to me in 1977 while I was in college and I drove it a few more years. Dad was very conscious of using the standard transmission and engine to slow the car instead of using the brakes, a habit that continued with me. When I traded it in 1980 for a Plymouth Horizon, the Swinger had 167,750 miles on it and…original brakes! (They desperately needed replacement!)

    Like 3
  7. Brent in Winnipeg

    My first car in 1981 was a 1972 Swinger with a 318. I beat on that car mercilessly, even raced it at the local drag strip, but it always came back for more. Reliable and fun.

    Like 3
  8. Eugene W.

    Keep the Dart stock, just the way it is. Merry Christmas.

    Like 5
  9. PatrickM

    Let me see…. I usually would like this car. But, to the seller: (1) Use a real camera, or at least hold the phone still. (2) NO underside pics. That’s always a suspicious move. (3) Not enough interior pics. (4). Take the soda cup and duffle bag out of the car BEFORE taking pics. (5) Take all pics in the sun, not halfway in the shade. Due to a lack of enthusiasm on the sellers behalf, I contribute the same. Ho hum.

    • Tom

      Not everyone has a photographic talent.

  10. Christopher Gentry

    I had a 73 Dart Swinger with a 318. I agree with JCS , She was plenty quick , as long as it was a straight line and lots of room to stop. My have changed em , but that wheel doesn’t look anything like my 73 , although the rest of the interior sure does. Didn’t have mine long , she was dogged out when I bought in 89 for 200 bucks. But my Grandfather had a 73 4 door Dart custom with the same 318. Ran forever , kept it 10 years. Which for him was amazing. He used to trade cars every Friday the 13th

    Like 2

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