440 Sleeper: 1970 Dodge Dart Swinger

Back in the day, if you saw this car coming down the road, you probably wouldn’t give it a second look. After all, it was just another Dart Swinger that Dodge made 120,000 copies of for 1970, right? Wrong. Sure, it started out as one of many, but along the way someone decided to jettison the librarian 225 Slant-Six in favor of a tricked-out 440 V-8! This wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing is said to run well and only needs some cosmetic attention. From Santa Fe, New Mexico, it’s here on eBay where bidding has reached $6,000 and there is no reserve.

The Dart Swinger appeared in 1969 because a 2-door sedan version of the Dodge compact just wasn’t cool enough. Offered solely as a hardtop, it gave sales a nice shot in the arm. To go along with its newly acquired sporty look, 1970 buyers could get a little muscle thrown in if they ordered a Swinger 340 with the 275 hp V-8. That accounted for another 14,000 copies which brought total Swinger output that year to 134,000 units or more than two-third of Dart production. Suddenly, the Dart was a sexy car! And here’s a bit of trivia for you: out of 192,000 total Darts built for 1970, less than 4,000 of them were made in the U.S. The great majority were assembled in Canada for the American market.

This 1970 Dart Swinger was one of the 70% built that year, i.e. it came from the factory with a six-cylinder engine. The idea was later hatched to pull the 225 in favor of a modified 440 that now only has about 500 miles on it. The list of performance enhancements was many, including:

  • Bored .030 over with Mopar flat-top pistons and poly rings
  • Crank .010/.010 over with Mopar bearings on rods and full groove mains
  • Heads have 906 castings pocket ported with 077 springs
  • Camshaft is a solid .528 with rockers that are mechanically adjustable
  • Intake is a Mopar M1 with a Holley 750 vacuum secondary carb.

The seller has provided a video for those wishing to hear the engine idle.

The body looks good with nothing more than surface rust where the paint is chipping. The paint is rather sad looking, but a good wax job might help it last a bit longer. The vinyl top may be okay, but the dark colors make it hard to determine if anything nasty is brewing under the material. Perhaps the place to start with in making the car presentable is with the interior. The upholstery is shot, the door panels worn, and the dash and steering wheel cracked. We’re told the carpeting and headliner are okay, but they’ll just look old if you replace the rest, so break down and do it all. The odometer reflects 37,000 miles, but the seller is certainly that has turned over.

As said earlier, this car is a real sleeper. The only giveaway from the outside is the dual exhaust peeking out from behind the rear bumper. The buyer might want think about changing the rear end as it’s the original the Slant-Six came with and is that strong enough for the torque the 440 puts out with a 727 Torque-Flite automatic? Otherwise, the seller says the car runs and drives well and has receipts to back up much of the work that has been done. If the paint had some shine left to it and the interior wasn’t a mess, a 225 or 318 Swinger would top out at $10,000 today. But the addition of the 440 must raise the bar somewhat, but then you’d deduct elsewhere for non-matching drivetrain. If bidding doesn’t get crazy toward the end, this one could be a good catch for someone looking to surprise folks when they pop the hood.

 

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Comments

  1. Pat L Member

    Sleeper gets tossed around a lot on this site. But this car definitely fits the term!

    Like 22
  2. Moe Moe Member

    ? Would that 440 drop in?
    Im thinkin a k member has to be changed.
    Never heard of a big block 70 dart.
    Would’nt be alot of fab just to mount 440. Askin the Mopar guys.
    This thing would be sic with built rearend and Brakes.

    Like 6
    • Nick

      You could get a 383 in a Dart GTS in 1967-1968, and a Dart GTS 440 1969. Both low production, less than a 1000 of the 440 were made. There were drag racing specials on the sly if you will, though anybody could walk in to a dealership and buy one, if you knew about them. Same unibody underneath as this car. I don’t know how this car was made but, yes, you needed a different (big block) K-member.

      Like 8
      • Stephen Miklos

        Nick… Also the torsion bars are a 225. Need big block set up. The the shocks also. Unless it was done already. The front is not sitting to low. But how long the 7 1/4 rear is going to last. Looks like an episode from Road Kill. 😄

        Like 6
      • Troy s

        Rounding numbers off, 660 440 Darts and 340 440 powered ’69 Cuda’s. NHRA was cool with it…
        low 14’s with the worthless 5.5 inch standard tires, 12’s with nothing more than slicks. No power steering or power brakes, around 70/30 weight distribution, absolutely the craziest production car ever made.

        Like 5
    • Teddy

      There is a company called Schumacher Creative Services that make conversion kits that allows the big block to be mounted on the slant six K member. I swapped a 383 into a 1974 Dart using their kit and I would say it is a really nice package.

      Like 11
  3. jeffro

    Other than changing rear and some disc brakes……wouldn’t touch anything else.

    Like 8
    • Steve R

      Needs a different converter too.

      Steve R

      Like 3
  4. Mitchell Gildea Member

    Fix the seat or source a new/used one and swap it in and do burnouts

    Like 4
  5. Redragula

    Since the interior’s shot I would redo it with buckets, console, rallye dash and rallye wheels (or dog dish)

    Like 4
  6. Troy s

    As long as it isn’t running the sleeper idea works. Yada da daYada da da, Haha, no six popper Dart sounded that good.

    Like 1
  7. Stangalang

    I bet that stock rear is begging for sweet mercy even at idle..KILL IT!! KILL IT WITH MOPOWER!! PEG LEG BURNOUTS BE DAMNED!! whew I’m done 😰

    Like 9
  8. CraigR

    My favorite kind of car. I’d be tempted to fix the interior, leave the paint as is, and go hunting for victims at stop lights.

    Like 8
  9. Ray L.

    The six was a perfect fit for these cars, the 440 in it makes it unbalanced and socially unacceptable as well. There is no redeeming value in what was done here, none at all. Maybe I am getting to be a crotchety old man, but really guys, why not leave it alone. Someday base Darts are going to be valued and there will be none left. If you have the need to go fast, buy a Tesla. They are far quicker then this and don’t pollute.

    Like 5
    • DayDreamBeliever Member

      Tip over your bowl of cereal this morning? I have a crabby day when that happens too…..

      Stock, low power setups and swapped-in big motors bring a different kind of fun and enjoyment. If everyone was after the same thing, it’d be….. BORING!

      I’d have been more likely to go for a 273, or hot 340, but I can’t fault the car at this point. I hope whoever buys it will fix the nasty bits and enjoy driving it!

      Like 17
    • vintagehotrods

      OMG!!! A slant six??? Yikes!!! A Tesla??? No Thanks!!! I played with electric slot cars as a kid and I’ve never wanted one again once I got my own car at 14. This car is perfect and it’s the ultimate sleeper but a stronger rear end and disc brakes would be necessary though. I know a lot of crotchety old men (I am one!) and we all still like the sound and feel of a screaming big block burning high octane gas and rubber!

      Like 9
  10. Desert Rat

    You know I get what your saying, why would anyone every do performance upgrades? Why instal headers, swap cams, intake manifold and carb swaps? Because that what gearheads do! And this is just about the ultimate performance upgrade, swamping in a big block. There is nothing more boring than a straight 6, to me, don’t like the way it runs, the way it sounds, and the way it looks. But I’m just and old hot roder so what do I know…

    Like 12
  11. Joe Haska

    I had this same car with the slant 6 and it was a great driver and lots of fun, but this , you bet, I would like to have it and it would double the fun I had withthe slant 6.

    Like 1
  12. Hollywood Collier

    If we all liked the same thing? She sure would be SORE.

    Like 5
  13. Troy s

    Socially unacceptable?! Great!
    Makes it all the more a tribute doesn’t it, to the era before muscle cars and street machines became, how do I say this,,,financially interesting. This car is far from ready, those puny tires, the weak rear end,,, been there done that, needs finished.

    Like 2
  14. Johnny

    Fix the seats and tear off the vinlyn roof. Looks like rust under it. Look especially around both windows. These were nice cars ,. Even the six was a great little motor. I,d left the six in it. Getting good gas for the 440 is high. Theirs still more work to do to this car.. In order to have a speed demon. $6,000 for this ? Where is $6,000 in this at? I might see $2,000-$2,500.

    Like 1
  15. Al

    Ugh! Another one of these here. At 10 yrs old back in ’70, had we seen one of these coming down the street, we’d wonder who’s grandmother is heading to the mom & pop store we hung at. Seriously, this is as bland as plain oatmeal. I don’t care if it had a 671 sticking thru the hood, if I was a passenger, I’d slouch down in my seat at a light. Pass.

    Like 1
  16. Glenn Schwass Member

    I’d love to see the front suspension. I hope they got rid of the pansy torsion bar crap. They have real front suspensions for them now. That has got to be a blast to drive.

    Like 1
  17. Roy Blankenship

    I built a ’68 Satellite similarly. I retained the 6 cylinder torsion bars and shocks, I installed GTX rear springs from a friend’s race car and an 8 3/4 rear. I had a built 440 (That was $4000 in 1988), reverse valve body 727, 3500 converter, and had a blast. Of all the muscle cars I had (’67 R/T, 3 ’68 GTX’s), the Satellite is the only one I want back. It was so much more fun than the others, I never had to worry about driving it in the rain or door dings. I did not experience any problems using the 6 cylinder front suspension, but I am also guessing the B bodies were more substantial than the A bodies, plus I didn’t drive like the Duke boys.

    Like 3
    • SC/RAMBLER

      You are not going to be going around corners at high speed in this car even with heavy duty suspension in a straight line the six cylinder torsion bars are fine and will actually improve traction as the front end will rise and throw more weight on back tires, we used to use 90/10 shocks for the same reason. A 90/10 shock is 90 percent uplift with 10 percent rebound. If my memory serves me correctly.

      Like 2
      • Roy Blankenship

        Exactly. I had zero issues with the handling or the stock drum brakes, but like I said, I did not drive like a crazy person…except in a straight line. .

        Like 1
  18. WH

    Um.. Yes change the rear end. An 8 3/4 will swap in easily. Did that to my 72 Plymouth Scamp. I blew the 7 1/4 with a stock 318. I’d fix up the interior, polish up the outside a bit, add some disc brakes and better rolling stock and go have some fun. The thought makes me want to go cruising again. Friday and Saturday nights, hanging out with friends and cool cars. Damn I miss the 80’s 😢.

    Like 3

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