Fresh 360: 1973 Plymouth Space Duster

Is it a gimmick, or is it a useful feature? That’s the question that the most distinctive feature of this 1973 Plymouth Duster posed when the car was first released. For my money, the folding rear seat that gives the Space Duster its name is a very practical feature, and I have to say thank you to Barn Finder Pat L for referring the Duster to us. It is located in Porterville, California, and has been listed for sale here on Craigslist. The Duster can be yours by simply handing the owner $7,500.

The Duster is finished in Gold, and I’ve been trying to work out whether it is wearing a pretty weathered vinyl top, or whether the vinyl has been removed to reveal the adhesive beneath. Either way, the car is going to need some cosmetic work. Being a California car, it is apparently free of any rust issues. There are signs of some previous repaint work on the passenger side rear quarter panel, but the rest of it would appear to be original. It wears a few dents and dings, but the body and trim are generally in good condition. That enormous hood scoop certainly isn’t original, and personally, I would probably “misplace” that during the restoration. The wheels also aren’t original, but personally, I really don’t mind them. So, the cosmetic work on the Duster would seem to be fairly straightforward.

The interior of the Duster is in pretty decent condition, with the vinyl on the seats and door trims looking really good. The carpet and headliner also seem to be in good condition. The biggest issue is the dash pad, which sports a crack roughly the size of the San Andreas Fault. However, a quick search revealed that replacement pads are readily available for around the $320 mark. That makes this a fairly cheap interior restoration.

This is the feature that gives the Space Duster its name, and from my perspective, it’s a pretty handy thing. The folding rear seat allows easy access to the trunk, but also means that items such as surfboards, skis, or similar long items can be carried with ease. There were some people who thought at the time that the idea was a gimmick, but there were more people who saw this as a useful feature. You only have to look at how many cars eventually sported this feature to realize just how big its impact was.

It isn’t clear what originally occupied the engine bay of the Duster, but whatever it was, it ain’t there now! What the next owner will get is a very healthy 360ci V8 engine. This brute has been treated to a high-performance cam, roller rockers, a high-rise intake, 4-barrel carburetor, a new exhaust, and a high-flow radiator. Add into the equation a freshly rebuilt automatic transmission (only 5 miles), an 8¾” rear end, and power steering, and it all adds up to a nice package. It isn’t clear exactly what sort of power the 360 delivers, but the answer is probably somewhere around “plenty.” Regardless, the owner does describe it as being very strong. Well, it sounds like there’s going to be nothing to spend here.

If you want a 1973 Plymouth Duster, well take your pick, there are plenty of them out there just waiting to be snapped up. If you want a Space Duster, then that’s a whole different ballgame. If you can find one, then expect to pay something like $1,500 as a premium for this feature alone on top of the asking price for a similarly equipped Duster without that folding rear seat. Given this vehicle’s overall condition, that would seem to make it a very competitive buy at the asking price.

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Comments

  1. Grandpa Lou

    I weep for the innocent little slant six that was probably once there. Poor little thing, never hurt anyone, only wanted to be g and to be loved.

    10
  2. Jeremy

    The rear set of rims I dig. The front chrome generic set are my least favorite of all time. No matter, I’d have factory style rally’s on it in a minute. I like the car, it’s as old as I am but has held up much better than I!

    5
  3. Steven Bell

    Two words for $7.5k asking price: No Way.

    If one looks hard enough….turns over enough rocks….peeks in enough old barns, one can STILL find cars like this duster; a bit raggedy but WITH small block V8 (318 or 360)…hell not too long ago I found and walked away with small block 68 barracuda in good running/driving shape….VERY streetable for $1700 bucks.
    Far too many mopar folks have resorted to smoking dope these days. Sad.

    4
    • jerry z

      You find a rust free Duster for $1700, let me know. Finding a rust free mopar period is like finding a unicorn.

      13
  4. Troy s

    Space truckin’! Outside of the dash I like it pretty much as is. The 360 looks capable, like the six pack style hood scoop, wheels are fine but Cragars would be more nostalgic.
    I’ll say one thing about the interior, that is plain..plain…plain!

    3
  5. Del Gray

    73 was the last year for 340.

    Ño 73 had a 360

    What is the Vin here ? 6 banger ?

    If you are going to restore a car at least try and get a few things correct ?

    Are there no 340s left in California ?

    1
    • Steve R

      340’s are much more expensive than 360’s in the part of California where I live. This car has the earmarks of a budget build. In that case there is no reason to go with a 340 unless it falls into your lap.

      Steve R

      6
      • Grandpa Lou

        I question why the seller is selling. Is there something to hide? I would worry about a 904 tranny. (I assume that is what is there, if it was originally a six or 318, a lot of other hardware is lacking as well) Did it recently get rebuilt because of a power related problem and is set to blow again? Would it have killed them to rebuild a 727? I lament about how cheap these once were and few of us paid any attention.

        2
  6. rod444

    Huh. Had the same car, same color and all and had NO idea there was a model with a fold down rear seat.

    That would actually put it in the “useful for hauling things” category instead of the “pretty to look at and fun to drive” category of most of my collection.

    Geez, I think the WIFE might even approve for her thrift store hauls.

    2
  7. Brian

    Two friends and I went from Vermont to Colorado in one of these on winter break our senior year of college. We did the trip non-stop except for gas and bathroom breaks. The fold down rear seat came in handy for skis and also for sleeping. We did 4 hour shifts and being able to stretch out in a sleeping bag worked great.

    3
  8. Dave Brennan

    Too bad the right side of the garage wasn’t further away. I would have stopped at the first crunch rather than dragging the whole side of the car. Otherwise, too plain for me

  9. Miguel Member

    I can get a real Super Bee in Mexico for this price in nice condition. The prices are getting crazy for these entry level cars.

    2
  10. Greg

    The 360 and the 340 were both available on the duster in 73.

  11. Rosco

    The fold down rear seat was pretty common in the Duster. Neat to have, but pretty much adds nothing to the value.

  12. TimM

    Really cool looks like the buy of the week unless the seller is hiding some important information about the car that we don’t know!!

  13. Sean

    The “Gold Duster” package had a vinyl roof that looked like reptile skin. ” That vinyl roof is a real first-rater. Looks like it come off a gold alligator.”

    1
  14. Walt

    What’s their #? I got the cash

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