Duster Update: Almost Ready To Go

1974 Plymouth Duster

With the auction nearing its end, I thought it would be a good time to discuss some of the little irritants that I addressed this week. I always try to leave cars at least marginally better than when I found them and lucky for me, this one didn’t need much. Some things that bothered me though were a sticky shifter, faulty wipers, and a speaker switch that was in a spot it wasn’t supposed to be. These faults all turned out to be simple fixes, but it did take some time to get them all sorted out. If you want to see how the bidding action plays out, you can watch the auction here on eBay.

Wiper BushingMy first order of business was to fix the windshield wipers. They didn’t work at all so I assumed that a fuse had blown or that the switch was bad. After digging into the dash I quickly found that the motor wasn’t hooked up to the wiper arms. I had noticed a round piece of plastic on the floor of the car when we purchased it, but didn’t give it much more though. Well, it turned out that it was part of the bushing that connects the motor to the wipers. Apparently this is a common problem so luckily the needed part is available at most auto part stores. The new one went right in and we now have working wipers!

Next up, the speaker switch. The second to last owner drove this car quite a bit during the years he owned it and he must have gotten sick of listening to talk shows because he installed a FM equipped radio. At least he found a period correct unit and threw the original AM one in the trunk. The only problem was that he also installed the front to rear balance switch, but obviously didn’t have the stomach to drill a hole in the dash. I don’t either, but having that switch jammed in there was bothering so I tucked it up under the dash in anticipation for the next owner to decide what to do with it. There are two speakers in the back deck that can be hooked up if so desired.

1974 Plymouth Duster Dash

Finally, the gear change. I may be a shifter snob, but there isn’t much that bothers me more than a sloppy shifter. Ours wasn’t exactly sloppy, but it did catch when you would move the knob sideways in its gate. The issue was also making it difficult to shift into first and reverse occasionally. A little investigation revealed that there wasn’t anything wrong with the shifter itself and that the real problem lay in the linkage. So, after pulling a pin and turning one of the rods a few times, everything was lined up and smooth shifting was restored!

Duster Parts

It has been a pleasure having this old Duster around. I had never longed after a Plymouth before, but now I could see myself wanting another one down the road. Perhaps one the special models like the Feather or Space Duster? Having a project in the shop that is in such good shape has definitely been a change of pace too. Josh and I had gotten used to starting with much less. Don’t worry though, we’re not getting soft! Our next project is going to present quite a challenge. The bidding on the Duster has done better than expected, so it will be interesting to see what it ultimately brings. Any guesses? Will it go higher or have we hit the ceiling? Either way, we are happy with the results and just hope it goes to a good home!

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Comments

  1. trickieDickie Member

    Thanks for all this Duster info Jesse. A real pleasure to read! Its been fun to follow all this. Wish I could have this car. I would come UP there and drive it back to Central California.

  2. Joe

    I think you will get just below $8K or maybe a few hundred more for the Duster. Guessing $7,950 to $8,400. Nice of you to fix these little annoyances for the new owner!

  3. Gerry

    That comment about the shifting really brought back memories. My Dodge Dart Sport would occasionally get “hung up” between 1st and reverse. My solution was to simply reach under the car and jiggle it a bit. I finally got around to adjusting the linkage just like you. Good times!

  4. Joe

    Good for you guys!!! SOLD for $10,477. This could be the start of a big appreciation run for Dusters, Dart Sport Demons, and the under-appreciated A-Body Mopars!

  5. Mark E

    Well, I’m surprised at over $10k! I would have thought $7500 was tops. Shows what I know… Anyway, once you get the funds you can get another project, like maybe those three Citroen SMs?? (grin!)

  6. jim s

    i hope the new owner is on the site and keeps us updated.

  7. Barry

    I’ve enjoyed seeing this Duster and following it’s time with you guys. They really are nice looking cars. I do have one question though, how common were Dusters with standard shift? Most of the ones I saw back when they were a common sight were automatics. Or perhaps I just wasn’t paying attention.

  8. Robert Eden

    I was totally enamored with this Duster, having sought a Gold Duster with the gold snakeskin top for ages. (My parents drove one in the ’70s, so the nostalgia factor is great.) I bid past eight grand, but the price ultimately shot higher than I thought it would. Congrats to the high bidder, as he/she looks to be getting a fantastic and almost-never-seen car.

  9. Barry Thomas

    Well done, Jesse. $10K+!! I like the fact that you don’t pull any punches and oversell your cars. Nice to see. Good luck with your next “find”.
    Barry Thomas’ “Wheel to Wheel” blog

  10. Dolphin Member

    The ’65 Mustang fastback from a week ago sold for $9,100 and this Duster sold for over $10K. Both prices are certainly more than these cars would have sold for just a few years ago, but prices of the best vintage cars have risen a lot more and that tends to drag up the prices of the rest.

    I think these two examples have two things going for them: they are vintage, and they are worthy designs because they look good, so owners will feel good about owning them. And barring another Wall St financial meltdown, they will likely keep increasing in value, making them worth putting money into.

    I’m glad to see that this Duster worked out for the Barn Finds boys. I think it was a good buy when they bought it, and it was a good buy for the person who bought it through the ebay auction.

  11. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    The selling price was a surprise, but then again, this is a great car! We still haven’t heard from the high bidder though, so let’s hope they don’t plan on flaking out on us. There were a few last minute bids though, so if we never hear from them, it will go to the next highest offer on Wednesday!

    • Robert Eden

      I will cross my fingers that the bidders flake until you get to mine. No flake here! Haha.

  12. Steve Harper

    As the owner of a slant six A-body, I was surprised and delighted to see the final selling price of this car. But as others have remarked, this is a well preserved, not often seen, visually appealing vehicle.

  13. ConservativesDefeated

    Ten thousand dollars for a Duster,admittedly an unusually original Duster! Wow!

    Good for you guys. I guess if you were around when it was new, like I was , the best way for me to look at this is to think about what a dollar buys today versus in 1974, gas being about ten times what it cost then.

    Easier to accept what the best old cars go for that way. Sound funny calling a ’74 Duster a old car. But then it’s all relative.

    Love the shifter on the floor

  14. jim s

    has the new owner picked up the car?

  15. Joe

    I hope the high bidder comes through for you guys! But this raised a question in my mind. If a high bidder balks, yet through the bidding history he/she was instrumental in bumping up the price to high levels, seems to me the next highest bidder was not treated fairly and may very well decline to buy “on a second direct offer” at his/her “second highest bid price”. Seems to me that the next highest bidder should look back in the bid history and disregard all bids after the “highest bidder/balker” started to bid. Might be best and fairest to ask all bidders for their best offer OR just re-list the auction and do it all over again. What do others think about this case? What happened Jesse and Josh? How have you handled it? (Good learning experience for all of us!)

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