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Donated 1973 Plymouth Duster Project

In the late 1960s, Plymouth decided they needed to add some spice to the styling of their somewhat stodgy Valiant so it would appeal to a younger audience. As a result, the Duster was born for 1970 and it looked a bit like a Ford Maverick with its fastback styling but using Valiant sheet metal. The idea worked well as the Duster would go on to spawn a Dodge derivative and sell more than 1.3 million units in seven years. Located in New London, Wisconsin, this non-running 1973 Duster with a 318 V-8 was donated to charity and is available here on eBay where the no reserve auction has reached $2,340.      

We don’t know the history of this 1973 Duster, which would have been one of about 265,000 built that year. The owner (or perhaps their family) donated it so that the proceeds of the auction would go to benefit a Wisconsin-based non-profit focused on helping at-risk youth. Occasionally you’ll see a vehicle on eBay that has am eBay Inspection report like this one. Unfortunately, it confirms most of what we can see. That it’s in non-running condition and has a fair amount of corrosion to be dealt with. The Duster has just shy of 72,000 miles on it and – while it could it have flipped over – more than likely it has been out of commission for an extended period of time.

The sheet metal on the car doesn’t look bad and most of the surface rust may be on chrome pieces. The paint is pretty faded, especially on the roof. However, the undercarriage is where most of the trouble lies, with rust holes in important things like the frame rails. Likely for this reason, the inspection report says the condition of the body is poor. So, this car has deteriorated from the inside out, rather than the typical other way around. Wisconsin and New York (the prior title state) both have harsh winters that can do that to a car.

Things get a little better, but not much once inside the car. The seat covers are largely okay, although they look like they could have been replacements. The rear seat has one split seam, which suggests that others are not far behind. The dash pad is cracked, the carpeting worn out and the door panels in need of being redone. Fortunately, there are kits out there for these items, thanks to the continuing popularity of the Duster 340.

A 318 V-8 sits under the hood and it looks as though the water pump has been replaced recently. But the inspection report says the car does not run and faults the fuel system in terms of old gas, zero coolant, a transmission that does not engage, brakes that are worn out, and shock absorbers that need a swap. There is also a list of non-working electrical and safety items checked on the report, which includes the tires. While they look to have decent tread, they’re probably past the usual seven years that are recommended for changes.

The successful bidder will end up with an uphill restoration project or perhaps an expensive donor car. There are nicer Dusters out there that would cost less to buy compared to an extensive rebirth. An average Duster will run about $10,000, according to Hagerty.


  1. Big_Fun Member

    This seller does have some gems donated to them, and a few featured here on Barn Finds. Other times, not so much.
    I see this has a pair of Oldsmobile rally III wheels in the trunk, plus the spare. Probably ‘thrown in’ (sorry for the pun) when the car was donated.
    Bart Starr indirectly helped start the Rawhide Ranch, the seller of this car, and many boats (without trailers!), and one time, a few pellets of surplus Hyundai (or was it Kia?) parts. Save them as a favorite eBay seller, and you’ll see some odd ones listed…

    Like 2
  2. DrillnFill

    Too bad it needs so much work, it’s a nice looking Duster, my mom drove a ‘73 with the same color scheme but a slant-6. Hopefully the buyer does right by this car.

    Like 3

    This seller too is on my radar. Vehicles from the area are in most cases not optimal due to severe corrosion. The thing that irritates me is their inspection sheet. Nothing like having an honest non biased mechanics description. Every car has some issues. Checking a box without an explanation actually hurts them as well as the buyer. Have to look real close at the pics and make a guess. Many times the condition seems worse than it is. In this case the car doesn’t look too bad. But Chrysler products in the mid 1970s if history says anything these were the worst years for engineering and build quality and bodies were usually eaten alive with rust within 10 years. What little power they had were zapped with smog.

    Through the years have seen a lot by this seller. (remember the pallets of parts) No crazy deals come to mind. Their start price is usually what it is worth unless it has been relisted for 3-4 times. Wanted a set of wheels once. Wouldn’t ship. Wouldn’t find a box to put wheels in so I could arrange a pickup. Wouldn’t put in box if I sent a box and tape to arrange a pickup. Closest I came to making a purchase.

    Great concept helping kids though. Always fun to look.

    Like 3
  4. Gremlin X

    We used to call these the Plymouth Ruster. This one fits the bill, particularly the frame rails, which is scary. It looks original but rust repairs would be a major task. More expensive than it looks.

    Like 4
  5. PatrickM

    bidding is up over $3,000.00. Way more than I would give for this car in this condition. But, the owner/seller did a fairly good job cleaning it up as much as they could. More than I can say for a lot of folks that put their car up for sale here. GLWTSale and purchase

    Like 2
  6. Phlathead Phil

    Perhaps a frame swap is in this car’s future?

    Price is CORRECT!

    But, IMHO, it does NOT look anything like a Ford Maverick.

    Like 1

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