Double-Door Dart: 1975 Dodge Swinger

030916 Barn Finds - 1975 Dodge Dart 1

Have you been looking for a Swinger? Hey, this is a family show, I meant a Dodge Swinger! This 1975 Dodge Dart Swinger Special hardtop is here on craigslist in Fairbanks, Alaska. You are correct, the shipping costs won’t be cheap, but if you can swing a deal with the $3,000 that the seller is asking, maybe it would be worth it.

030916 Barn Finds - 1975 Dodge Dart 2

This looks like a pretty decent car, although the seller says that the “Car is frozen right now, because it’s winter.” So, yeah, there’s that. And, given that these cars were known to sometimes have rust troubles with the frames, as in, cracking and breaking which is about the worst trouble you can have with a frame; there’s that to think about, too. But, body-wise it looks pretty nice, although, the seller mentions that it’ll need some work on the floorpans, trunk pan, etc. The 1975 Dodge Darts were required to pass a roof-crush test so you can be sure that this car is moose-proof, just in the off chance that one falls on it during your drive home from Alaska. Also, for you northern-bound folks, the 1975 Darts had heaters with 14% more capacity than the 1974 Darts had: i.e., they added a 3rd speed to the blower motor. The Dart Swinger Special hardtops were one of six model designations in 1975 for the Dart lineup.

030916 Barn Finds - 1975 Dodge Dart 3

This is the famous 225 slant-six engine, maybe my favorite non-Hemi Chrysler engine of all time. Sure, a V8 would be great in this car, but I’ve had such good luck with these 225 engines; I could probably adjust the tappets in my sleep. It looks fairly clean under the hood for a 41-year old car that’s been in Alaska for who knows how many of those decades. The owner says that the engine “just got new plugs and purrrrrrs when she is on” which doesn’t surprise me at all. And, again, as much as I love the basic 225 6-cylinder, I also love this car’s transmission: the classic three-on-the-tree. Apparently, it works great but “needs shift linkage tightened.” My brother and I converted a Dodge van with a 225 and three-on-the-tree to a floor shift kit so I know that it’s possible to do that. Of course, because of where the shifter was located, we had to mount it backwards so the shift pattern was the exact opposite. A theft-proof van if there ever was one.

030916 Barn Finds - 1975 Dodge Dart 4

Yep, there’s a dent in the LF fender and one in the nose, and most likely a few dings and there has to be some rust here somewhere. But, overall it looks like a good car and you should be able to find replacement parts for this car. My best friend in high school had a 340 Dart that looked great but the frame broke apart and he ended up having to weld it back together, Frankenstein-style. It worked great after that; hopefully this one doesn’t need any frame repairs. It always worries me to see a car sitting outside when people keep mowing around it. This car isn’t mowed into a grass island of its own, but it’s frozen to the ground because it’s been sitting outside all winter, and who knows how many winters. Is this Dodge Dart worth hauling to your garage and or would you swing around this one?

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Comments

  1. Leon

    My 74 Swinger is oddball. Rear bumper smooth chrome on shock mounts. Front bumper bolted to frame with big rubber bumper blocks projecting out mine is auto and ac. But no PS no PB and drums all around

  2. Ed P

    No a/c, this car should stay up north. I prefer 3 on the tree also.

  3. Jim Mc

    I’ve owned a half-dozen of these, the 225 is bulletproof. With a three-on-the-tree, too? Love it. Got to where I could change a starter on them in 20 minutes. They seem to burn thru starters, and solenoids as well. Never had any frame rust probs, but all four fenders behind the wheelwells would get eaten, as well as the top of the front fenders near the door. Easy to lose the radio antenna that way. The shift linkage is worrisome, on one manual I had the linkage broke inside the column and I had to scavenge and get replaced the entire shift column. That slant can PULL, great torque, second gear is good from 5 mph to 55 mph before you have to shift into third. You can even start out in second.
    That said, this is overpriced by two. $1500 should do it. $3K and in Alaska? Too bad.
    Oh, and the heaters in these things kicked butt.

  4. Howard A Member

    Have I EVER been lookin’, oh, right, family show. I’ve always gotten a kick out of car names the instantly propel you into the next class, even though the car itself is really nothing spectacular.( “what do you drive? A Dodge Swinger,,,WOW”) Like a Pontiac “Executive”, or anything with “Brougham” in it, as this was a pretty plain car in’75, just what the public wanted. Dependable transportation, from A to B, and park it, which is probably all it’s still good for.
    I got a chuckle out of the “backwards” shifter on the Dodge van. I have a friend that had a custom Dodge van, ’74 I think, and he had a floor shifter that had a backwards pattern. 1st and reverse where switched and 2nd and 3rd where switched. If I remember, the only way to mount the shifter, was the rods facing backwards, instead of t’other way ’round. Truth be known, I liked it better. The Dodge “Swinger” here, yawn, I suppose.

  5. Nessy

    Well, if you are going to drive an ugly pile of junk like this, you may as well drive one in this ugly baby poop brown color with alot of dents for your 3 thousand hard earned dollars….Gee.

  6. Chebby

    My first car was a 1975 Duster in this color with the slant six, and you have got to be kidding me. Horrendous build quality, rust magnet, smog equipment sucked all the juice out of that engine. Maybe if this was a loaded V8 model in a great color it could be considered collectible, but otherwise I’m seeing a $300 around town beater. And it’s frozen in Alaska as a bonus.

  7. Steve B

    Fun fact- the Mopar paint color “burnt tan poly” was rumored to originally be called “Fisher Body Rust” before some undoubtably fun-killing lawyers got a hold of it. Other 2nd gen high impact colors that never saw the light of day were “Gang Green”, “Frank Lloyd White” and “Statutory Grape”.

  8. Robert Mix

    Our first new family car was a baby blue 1973 Dodge Dart Swinger Special, and I love that car for many reasons, but mostly for the name which flowed like a song lyric. I was just a kid, and would love to have that car today. We had it for years on the Southern Oregon Coast, and wash/waxed it every week to keep the salt air from rusting it. It almost needed to be made of brass to keep that cancer from appearing though.

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