Dirt Cheap Dart: 1974 Dodge Dart Custom

These days, finding classic vehicles for under $1000 is wishful thinking, and if you are lucky enough to find something that cheap, it often tends to be a gamble. However, Barn Finds reader Jack M. came across this 1974 Dodge Dart Custom here on Craigslist for a mere $500, and it’s a rare case of a well-priced old school project with potential.

This Dart is available in Hollister, California with a clean title. The seller is listing the vehicle for their father, and while there isn’t a ton of history about it, they do mention that the vehicle remained stored for the last 20 years. It is a fourth-generation model, which was the final generation of the sedan, and Dodge’s manufacturing plant in Windsor, Ontario, Canada manufactured this one.

Of course, after 20 years of storage, the body of this specimen is dusty, but it also looks promising. There are not any noticeable rust issues, and once you clean off the dirt and cobwebs, the paint seems like it will clean up nicely.

Unfortunately, the interior did not fare nearly as well as the exterior, but hopefully, a thorough detail can bring it somewhat back to life. Things appear to be all original, and worst-case scenario, new seats and carpeting will completely transform the cabin.

Under the hood, there’s a 225 cu.-in. slant 6-cylinder engine, which pairs to an automatic transmission to drive the rear wheels. The seller does not include the mileage of the drivetrain in the advertisement, but they describe its condition as an “unknown running status.”

As stated earlier, the seller is only asking $500 or best offer the sedan, though they make it clear that the buyer will need to tow the non-running vehicle away. What would you do with this reasonably priced project Dart Custom?

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  1. Moparman Member

    If this was closer to me, I’d take a chance on it. Clean it up, get it running, and then perhaps sell it. Looks to be nice and solid, except for the seat coverings!
    GLWTS! :-)

  2. Tony Primo

    I would do like Vice Grip Garage. Bring a battery, gasoline, air compressor. Give the seller $400.00 and fire it up and drive it home.

    • Steve R

      Good luck with that. The first cop that sees a vehicle with registration that far out of date will impound the car and put it on a 30 day hold. California wants their money, they don’t fool around when it comes to out of date registration.

      Steve R

      • Tony Primo

        I have sold many cars where the buyer comes with their own set of plates. They screw them on and are on their way. I don’t ask any questions. The police are far too busy in these COVID-19 times to be checking everyone license plate.

      • Steve R

        That may be true, but installing a different set of plates just opens you up to a whole new world of hurt. Better to buy dinner and pay to fill the tank for a buddy with a trailer. Either that or find someone through Facebook market place that will tow it home for you for $100.

        As my dad would say, play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

        Steve R

      • CJinSD

        Play stupid games? It’s all relative. There are people playing traffic. IQ is always measured relative to the population as a whole.

      • FrankY Member

        Just tell them the delay was Covid 19. It will be all good

  3. TRPIV

    This car is just up the highway from me. Maybe a 15 minute drive away. Tempting but I think my wife would divorce me if I brought home another car.

    • Joey Machado

      But, if you brought another woman home, then that would be ok?

      • redwagon

        Well that made me chuckle.

        But it’s not funny.
        But yes, it is.

    • FrankY Member

      Then what r u waiting for go get her. Lol.


    Of course it’s cheap…it’s a 4-door sedan with a base engine and a slushbox, painted an ugly color. Kudos to the seller for recognizing that his car isn’t super-desirable and pricing accordingly.

  5. TRPIV

    Someone must have seen the value in it because the craigslist listing has been removed by the author. *GONE*

  6. Bob C.

    Dirt cheap and DIRTY.

    • Tony Primo

      Sounds like the perfect date.

  7. Spud

    Hopefully someone got a good deal. For $500 and some elbow grease, you’d have a solid car that will run pretty much forever. Not fast or exciting, but that’s not what a slant six Dart is about. Wish that there were cars like this on my side of the continent.

  8. Rocco B.

    Thanks to YouTube shows like Uncle Tony’s Garage, people are beginning to appreciate these underdog engines. You can buy this car and double your money by parting it out.

  9. Robert White

    Nothing says chick magnet quite like a 1974 Dart four door in beige.


  10. Bob McK Member

    If I were 15 I would be really happy to bring this “baby” home as my first car. Fortunately, I am beyond that point in life.

    • Ken Jennings

      You would be “fortunate” to be 15 again, I know I sure would like to be. Despite all the ruckus these days, youth is perhaps the greatest gift on Earth.

  11. Stevieg Member

    I would have paid $500 for this! Someone got a great deal!

  12. Rex Kahrs Member

    About 20 years ago, one just like this crossed my screen on ebay. It’s a really nice car, a real time capsule survivor. So I throw a bid of 1K on the thing, and go to work.

    I win the car, and pay 600 to ship it from Kansas or some place. It’s a great car, runs perfect. But my wife doesn’t think it’s sexy enough. So I sold it to a local high school girl who dug the retro ’74 vibe. I love these cars.

  13. CJinSD

    “These days, finding classic vehicles for under $1000 is wishful thinking”

    The industry is built on people who only pay a grand for a car that needs nothing to be a driver. A meaningful percentage of the cars we see with silly prices wind up going for scrap rates when the sellers can’t get over their wounded egos after being offered what the cars are actually worth. Then we see them on Murilee Martin’s Junkyard Finds and wonder how they got there.

  14. Rex Kahrs Member

    Here’s one I found for $1250. Well OK, CJ is right, I had to dump another 6000 into it, and now it’s reliable driver I’d drive anywhere with no issues and in comfort!

  15. Kenneth Carney

    Part it out Rocco? Really? If this car were closer to me, I would’ve gone all
    in and bought it! Oh sure, the kids might
    object, but that’s because I don’t have a
    place to keep it. They understand that I
    want to do one more car before my health fails entirely. This would’ve been
    a great uncle-neice project for me. These
    old slant sixes were the Model Ts of their Time and were very easy to repair
    and maintain. And the rest, it should clean and shine up nicely. When my late
    wife and I first got married, we looked at
    a dart similar to this one. Only difference
    was that the car we looked at had a factory 4-speed floor shift that was very
    rare for a sedan. Of course, that car was
    a fleet car for GTE and almost all their
    fleet cars were bare-bones affairs that
    offered very few comforts. As for this car, somebody got a great deal when they
    snarfed up this car.

    • Rocco B.

      Sorry Kenneth, I would bring $375 cash and wave it in the sellers face. It’s a good solid car and I would probably put a cheap eBay turbocharger on it and have some fun with it at the stoplights for a while.

  16. Geoff

    Given its location this car is a natural as a TV/Movie car. With a light restoration it could have a long life as a 70s era background vehicle in LA produced Tv and film.. An otherwise unremarkable vehicle could be making its owner money for decades.

    • John T.

      You mean like in the 1971 movie “Duel” where the vintage old Peterbilt oil-tanker truck was chasing down the helpless Plymouth Valiant (same as Dodge Dart) 4-door sedan the entire flick.

      • S

        No, A Plymouth Valiant and a Dodge Dart sedan are not the same, not from 1967-73. The Valiant had a 108″ wheelbase and the Dart had a 111″ wheelbase. The C pillars on a Dart sedan are longer, the back window and rear of the car is different. From 1974-76 they are the same car – they switched the Valiant over to the Dart’s wheel base. Chrysler was saving some money by building one car instead of two.

  17. Rex Kahrs Member

    I believe “Duel”, a completely stupid movie with Dennis Weaver as supporting actor to the Peterbilt, was Steven Spielberg’s first movie. I mean, if you can’t outrun an 18-wheeler down a twisty mountain road…..the premise has no credibility. Those A-bodies handled pretty well, so Dennis should have given the rig the slip at the first hairpin turn. But don’t believe me, waste 90 minutes watching it!

    Fun fact: The Peterbilt won the Oscar for “Least Fuel Efficient Actor” that year.

    • DON

      And the Valiant had a 318 in it too, so it should have been easy to leave the truck in the dust !

    • stillrunners stillrunners Member

      Loved that movie !!! Of course our mom drove a 1968 Signet….dad with a 1966 V200 with a 273 and little sis with a late 1964 with the little 273…..maybe why there’s a half dozen around the place. Still scared of old ruff Peterbuilts with no brakes in my rear view mirror.

  18. Joey Machado

    Filmed on Sierra Hwy, old state 14. Between Saugus to Palmdale and assorted side roads

  19. Léo Boisvert

    Ah… man would I love to bring it home as my first car if I didn’t live in Canada, the least car friendly place on earth.

    • Frank C Shearer

      Not always the least car friendly place on earth. I recently bought a 1966 Imperial 4 door hardtop that was originally bought new in Pembrooke, Ont. & must have spent it’s entire life in a garage & never winter driven. Has original paint & only a little surface rust behind the rear drivers side wheel. It has its battle scars (stone chips etc.) but its leather interior & wood trim is like new, even the rubber vent window weather strip is like new.

  20. Robert

    it would not have surprised me if a buyer brought an air tank to inflate the tires, popped in a new battery, fired it up and drove it home after topping off the oil. those 225 Slant 6’s were bullet-proof.

  21. Ken Carney

    Slant 6, turbo? Hmmm…you might be onto something here Rocco! With all the new tech out there, any engine can be made
    to perform better than it was designed to. If you want more grins and giggles, leave the outside bone stock and watch the
    other guy’s jaw drop when you pass him as you show him a
    faceful of Dart as you leave him in the dust.

    • Ken Jennings

      Or, your turbo could be left in the dust by a Kia at the next stop light.

      • Mohammed Singh

        You must have clicked on the wrong website again. You should really stick to Korean BarnFinds. Good luck finding a 46 year old Hyundai or Kia. They are all used up after 5-6 years.

  22. S

    I personally own a 74 Dart Custom sedan with a 318. I have owned a 75 Dart Custom sedan with a slant 6. I have also owned 2 A body hardtops from this time period with slant 6s. So, I am a fan of these cars. For $500 how can you go wrong? The battery was left connected – look how awful things look around the battery terminals! What this has going for it is NO VINYL TOP – which is actually very unusual on a Dart Custom. They usually had a package in which you got the vinyl top, automatic transmission, white wall tires, and AM radio all together for only a little extra money – but evidently this car didn’t have that package. Vinyl tops get ruined over time and often have rust beneath them – so this is better without one. The cloth and vinyl seats are usually an advantage, though they got ruined here and will need at least the cloth replaced. You probably need a new battery, drain the gas tank and fill with fresh fuel, and do an oil change, check the brakes to make sure they still work or aren’t stuck. and you’d probably be ready to go!

  23. Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

    Ugh. Flashback to 1980 when I had this exact car but darker, root beer brown, auto, 6cyl, a no vinyl roof sedan. What an uncomfortable period in my high school life to be lumbering around in the 74 Dart when the car immediately prior was my coveted 67 Buick Skylark (wrecked, insurance didn’t pay out) and then immediately the Dart after was a nimble, 4spd red Toyota Corona with a candy apple metal flake Grant steering wheel and bucket seats. The Dart got sold to my sister in rehab.

  24. Big Mike

    Wish it was closer to me. For 500 bucks… Couldnt hurt.

  25. TimM

    Basic transportation with no engine light that comes on when you didn’t tighten your gas cap enough!!! They are never close enough to me!! I had a 69 Dodge Dart three speed column shift that went for 330,000 miles and I drove it to the crusher!! It was a 225 slant 6 that I drove for six years!! If it wasn’t ready to fall apart from the rust I would still be driving it!!!

  26. Karl Sisson

    If well maintained they will run forever. It’s been said that after the apocalypse the only things left will be cockroaches and Dodge Darts. :D

  27. George Louis Member

    A 225 six cylinder with factory A/Cfor $500.00 in today’s market quite a buy!! I had a 1974 Dart Custom 4 Door 318 V 8 auto trans with Special order Charcoal metallic paint that was built at the Windsor Plant 9103 in the same Month March 1974.Drove the car for 150.000 miles before we scrapped it. What memories.


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