80k Original Miles: 1972 Dodge Dart Swinger

We’ve seen a few reasonably affordable project cars come across our desks here at Barn Finds in recent times, and this 1972 Dodge Dart Swinger is an excellent example of this trend. It needs work, but it could be driven and enjoyed as it stands. Spotting these types of cars can be difficult, and I always appreciate it when our readers refer them to us. So I have to thank Barn Finder Larry D for having the eagle-eye find this one. It is located in Melbourne, Florida, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. The owner has set a BIN of $8,995, but there is the option to make an offer.

The Fiesta Green Swinger would have been a striking-looking car when it was new, and there’s no reason why it couldn’t be once again. The original paint is looking pretty tired, so it will need a refresh. The car features a Black vinyl top. This has been replaced at some point, and it remains in as-new condition. There is some external rust to tackle, but it isn’t that bad. Both lower rear quarter panels will require attention, but patches could be the answer. The back edges of both rockers are also showing some rust where they meet the quarters, meaning they may require the same treatment. The lower front fenders are just beginning to bubble, so fixing those should be easy. The seller suggests replacing the rear valance, but the rest of the body looks good. The rear bumper is dented, but the rest of the chrome shows no signs of problems. Some of the adhesive body moldings have fallen off, but the buyer will probably replace the lot when they perform the repaint. The glass shows no evidence of problems, while the Dart rolls on a spotless set of 14″ Rallye wheels.

When we delve below the surface, this is the rust that causes me the greatest concern. Problems are developing on both sides where the front inner fenders meet the firewall. It is beginning to look nasty and should be addressed sooner rather than later. Beyond that, the news regarding the vehicle’s underside is positive. There is surface corrosion on the inside of the trunk pan. This is the result of a water leak due to a faulty trunk seal. The seal has been fixed, which means that the corrosion could be treated and addressed. The owner supplies several photos of the Swinger’s underside, and it is as clean as you could hope to find.

For those of you who were hoping to pop the hood and find a V8, you might be disappointed to learn that the engine bay houses the original 225ci slant-six engine. This is backed by a TorqueFlite transmission, while the Dart scores power steering. That combination would produce a comfortable cruiser rather than a muscle car. That makes the 19-second ¼-mile ET not surprising. The buyer might choose to perform a drivetrain upgrade, but I hope that they don’t. The seller is only the car’s second owner, and he purchased it after the elderly lady, who was its first owner, passed away. She was meticulous about how her numbers-matching classic was maintained, and some of its history is a testament to that. Towards the end of her life, she wasn’t driving the Dart much. The seals in the TorqueFlite became dry through lack of use and started to leak. Rather than have some new seals fitted, she chose to have the transmission rebuilt. It seems that there were no half-measures with this lady. The seller has gone through the car to ensure that it is roadworthy and is nearly finished rebuilding the brakes. He has replaced the radiator, along with the fuel pump and filter. The original carburetor was rebuilt, and the owner says that the slant-six runs like a Swiss watch. Once the brakes are done, the Dart will be ready to hit the road. The seller claims that the Dodge has 80,000 original miles on the clock, although he doesn’t indicate whether he has evidence to back this claim.

The Dart’s interior is original, and while it isn’t perfect, it isn’t bad for a survivor of this vintage. The carpet is faded, and the front seat has some tears, but the remaining trim and upholstery look good. Even the headliner, which is prone to deterioration, looks to be in decent condition. Replacing the seat cover would cost about $460, while a carpet set will add $320 to the total. With that work complete, it would look pretty good inside this car. It isn’t loaded with creature comforts, with an AM radio being about it. There is no air conditioning, but the original owner did fit a period-correct 12-volt accessory fan. If that doesn’t do the job for the buyer, they can always resort to what I refer to as “2/50” air conditioning. That’s two windows down at 50mph.

The owner of this 1972 Dart Swinger says one thing that I can’t help but agree with; These are attractive cars. The styling is crisp, and when they are in excellent condition, they are a real eye-catcher. This one has some rust issues, but once these are addressed, and a fresh coat of Fiesta Green paint is applied, it is a car that should turn heads. The killer with this one is that in 6-cylinder form, they aren’t a car that will command a high price. Even a spotless example will struggle to top $15,000 if there is a six under the hood. However, if the buyer can perform most of the restoration work themselves, it is a car that should remain financially viable. Would you perform a faithful restoration, or would a V8 be finding its way under the hood?

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Comments

  1. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    I think this Dart is a little pricey considering it needs rust repair, a paint job and some interior work. The big drawback regarding the asking price is the lack of a V8. It’s a good candidate for restoration but considering what needs to be done and at best it’s a $15k car when done, the asking price plus the restoration costs will put you beyond it’s top value.

    Like 9
    • Fred

      I agree with all your comments, but your name of “FordGuy1972” leads me to suspect you’ll be less than unbiased when dealing with a 1972 Dodge.

      Like 3
      • FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

        If you agree with my comments, how am I biased? I think you may have a little bias towards anyone who isn’t named “Fred.”

        Like 4
  2. Steveo

    Little old lady car with a tow hitch and a rebuilt tranny?

    Like 4
  3. B-Boy

    I had this exact car when I was in college. Bought it for $250 in 1983. Drove it
    for a few years and sold it for about what I paid for it.

    It was a nice little car.

    Like 2
    • Chester

      I miss being able to buy a reliable car for the equivalent today of under a grand. Young people don’t know what they are missing, we had it pretty good, didn’t we? /6 in a Dart is about as reliable as you can get unless the torsion bar supports rust out.

      Like 8
  4. Dewey Gill

    I had to call on a friend of mine back in the early 1980’s to jump my 64 Impala in -26 weather. He was a big Dart enthusiast, with a 69 GTS, another 69 Dart and a beater 71 Swinger with a slant 6, a slight rod knock and crummy compression. It was the only car that started. It rescued a few of our stranded friends that day

    Like 5
  5. Kevin

    Too much rust,especially in tough places,too pricey to restore in my opinion, would be a good donor/parts car to help restore a solid one.

    Like 4
  6. S

    I like Dodge Darts a lot, and slant 6s also – but there’s no way in hell I’d pay anything close to $8995 for this. This car has too much wrong with it to warrant the asking price. Like $3000 would be about right. Too much rust, and the paint is not in good shape. For $8995 for a slant 6 car it should be in pristine condition. I’ve paid a lot less for a lot nicer car than this. That said, I hope someone saves it and fixes it up.

    Like 3
  7. MDW66

    Wondering if it ever went to a key party.

    • Curt Lemay

      Gosh, is that where you display all your pretty keys?

      Like 1
  8. Chris from LMM

    Either prices for Darts have shot way up, or I got a screaming deal on my ’74 Swinger with factory 318/AC/disc brakes a couple of years ago. Mine was much cleaner, more solid, and had lower miles (56k). It is now repainted in the original “Tupperware Tan” and shod with Magnums.

    Like 3
  9. Anthony DAmico

    I sold these cars in 1972. They were very popular with the senior population. Rear visibility was a great selling point for granny..she could see out the rear window when backing up. And that 225 slant 6 was good on gas…which was getting scarce back then. The problem today is those senior buyers have all passed away. Nobody wants a 72 Dart Swinger anymore…especially one without ac! I’m guessing that $8995 price tag is a misprint…should read $1995.

  10. 64 Bonneville

    looks like it has been reposted on e-bay with a $7000 buy it now price. with rust in front fender/A pillar area, would be hard pressed to go above 2 grand for it.

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