Butterscotch Barn Find: 1971 Dodge Dart Swinger

The seller refers to this 1971 Dodge Dart as a barn find/field find and it looks more solid than a lot of them that I’ve seen in my lifetime, even back in the early-1980s when they were only a decade old. This Swinger can be found here on craigslist in Monticello, Minnesota, about 40 miles northwest of the Twin Cities. They’re asking $2,700 or best offer. Thanks to Roger for sending in this tip!

The fourth-generation Dart was available for a decade, from 1967 to 1976, and it had some design changes that were striking. Some of us prefer the early fourth-generation Darts, the Mannix or Mod Squad era, but then again, I don’t think there is such a thing as a bad Dodge Dart. The seller found this Butterscotch Dart in western Nebraska where it’s usually pretty dry and they don’t use as much road salt there as in other areas of the Midwest. Nebraska isn’t shown on this salt belt map but it’s listed as a state that uses road salt. The Transportation Research Board says that Nebraska puts down 1.5-tons of road salt per lane-mile annually, so there’s your answer. Ok, now where were we again?

Oh yeah, this Dart Swinger! You can see that it needs some bodywork, or not. Just fix what needs fixing and drive it as is and slowly pick away at the restoration. $2,700 or best offer is pretty cheap for a running, driving, stopping car – especially one with a V8. It has new tires, too! Out of 15 photos, there isn’t one photo of the interior at all which is always disappointing. It decodes out to being a black vinyl bench seat but do I see high-back seats? The rockers look solid but both front fender bottoms have a little rust hole so that’ll need to be checked out. New or used fenders are available depending on your restoration budget. The underside also looks solid but I’d want to hit it with some rust inhibitor asap.

The engine and engine compartment both look better than I thought they would for a car that has been sitting in a barn and/or a field in Nebraska. This is a 318 cubic-inch V8 which had 230 hp and a 2-barrel carb. The transmission decodes out to be a light-duty 904 TorqueFlite. As a general reference, Hagerty is at $4,800 for a #4 fair condition Dart with a 318 so this could be a good buy at around half that price. Any thoughts on this Dart? Good buy or good-bye?

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Comments

  1. Arthell64 Member

    Looks like a solid project car for a decent price.

    Like 6
  2. Stevieg

    One of the bench seats they used in these has a high back to it with fixed headrests. If the seat is original but it looks like high back seats from the outside, it might have that seat. Or someone swapped in a non-factory seat. Either way, not a bad price for this car. It looks to me like it needs more body work than presented in the ad or in the write up, but still a reasonable deal.
    I hate the color!

    Like 3
  3. Tony Primo

    Yes,I would definitely slather on some Fluid Film anywhere that I could reach on the underbody, including the wheel wells.
    https://nlsproducts.ca/shop/products/fluid-film

    Like 5
    • Poppy

      Does this Fluid Film stuff dry like a hard amber wax undercoating or does it stay liquid/semi solid? I see Advance Auto sells it for $42/gal…thanks for the tip.

      Like 4
      • Tony Primo

        It never drys completely. It’s always a bit wet. I buy the big can and brush it on anywhere that I can reach under the car. Then I touch up any dry areas with an aerosol can any time that I have the wheels off.

        Like 4
  4. Classic Steel

    This one is the extended days of Christmas 🎄 song 🎼 with “on the 17th day of Christmas my Barn Finds found to me a Walmart priced cheap non rusty Dodge Swingers with a 318 running engine including some sweet stolen tires from Jeff FoxWorthy’s Mustang GT “😉😂

    Someone Mopar person better pick this quick as its dirt cheap 👀

    Like 4
  5. Miguel

    When I see an ad like this I wonder if the car has an interior and why they were scared to take pictures of it.

    Like 6
    • Zapp

      If you look at the side windows, there’s chunks of shredded headliner in plain view.

      What we can see of the passenger-side front seat doesn’t look good either.

      I’d wager that the the interior is a lost cause.

      Like 1
  6. art

    These cars would fly with that 318 in there. Always really liked the lines on these cars and it still looks contemporary today. Like the Butterscotch color, too.

    Like 4
  7. 8banger David Mika Member

    Just seeing the factory heater hose bracket by the R valve cover makes me smile. And I need to smile, as our (home) heater caught on fire this morning.

    Like 3
  8. Gaspumpchas

    looks cool but what lurks under that vinyl top? Check that roof real good. Good luck to the new owner!!
    Cheers
    GPC

    Like 2
  9. John Oliveri

    It’s got 383 written all over it

    Like 3
  10. jimmy the orphan

    The roof may have small holes in it from water getting trapped under the vinyl top. If so water has been leaking inside. I don’t care about the interior,that all can be replaced. If it hasn’t set outside for to long the floors may be ok but if not you all know why there’s no photos of the inside. First thing falls down ? the headliner. Hey the price is right. I think its a winner. Just get that vinyl top off of there fast its going to keep on rusting till you do and rip the interior out so things will start to dry out. If I’m wrong all the mo better. Later JIMMY

  11. TimM

    Buy of the week on barn find!!!

    Like 2
  12. jerry z

    I like these cars. Looked at one back in the 80’s but was so butchered, didn’t even make any offer. Need to thin the herd for fresh finds!

  13. Boatman Member

    These deals on Craigslist just don’t seem to be going anywhere. Is CL a dying thing?

    • Chris In Australia

      I wonder if Facebook marketplace is hurting CL? Back OT, we got a an Aussie version here. Different front & rear styling. I prefer the this front end, our rear. Google pacer hardtop if you’re curious.

  14. Pete inPA

    Interesting car. I knew it was LA-built as soon as I saw the weird fuel filler tube setup. Must be enhanced EVAP equipment for Cali only. Very early build (Sept 1st) and very low VIN but LA production was tiny compared to Hamtramck. I like the added pre-heater. I could use one right now in PA.

    • Stevieg

      How can you tell it was built September first? I am asking because that is my birthday, September 1 of 1970. Just wondering if the car & I were “born” the same day lol.

      • Pete in PA

        On the cL ad fender tag pic. Second line up from the bottom, toward the right side – 901 indicates a *scheduled* build date of September 1st (1970). Could have been built a day or two before or after. Door edge sticker might show actual date and time.

  15. Stevieg

    Thank you for the clarification Pete. Very interesting!

  16. Del

    My 71 Demon is Butterscotch.

    That color was special order and of the paint batch called Hi-Impact.

    Hi-Impact colors were a 30 dollar option.

    Wow this even has Rally wheels.

    Its a good deal. My Demon is fully restored and appraised at 20 grand with the 318

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