Last Registered In ’80: 1970 Plymouth Duster 340

The Plymouth Duster 340 is a prime example of where compact car meets muscle car. To bolster sales of its Valiant – which looked a lot like a librarian’s car – they came up with the Duster fastback that was akin to what Ford had recently done with the Maverick. But, unlike Ford, they went a step further right away and threw a powerful small-block V-8 under the hood so it would also appeal to the under 30 generation. That apparently worked as Plymouth sold nearly 25,000 Duster 340’s in the first year. This 1970 Duster 340 is one of those cars, but time has taken its toll and it needs a full restoration. It’s located in Leesburg, Virginia, and available here on craigslist for $8,500. Thanks, Gerry G, for the tip!

Here’s some Duster trivia for you. Because Plymouth was targeting a more youthful audience, at first they wanted to name the car after another Warner Bros. cartoon character like they did with the Road Runner. Apparently, Warner thought the licensing agreement wasn’t rich enough for them and Plymouth balked at the fee to name the car along the lines of the Tasmanian Devil. Instead, it became the Plymouth Duster, whose distinctive logo was reminiscent of that popular cartoon critter and is one of the most recognizable today from that era. On another note about youth, buyers of the 1970 Duster 340 initially found themselves getting a break on car insurance rates because the vehicle was initially branded a Valiant and didn’t yet carry the muscle car mystique. By 1971, the insurance companies got wise and that ship sailed. Thanks, Hot Cars, for the trivia!

The seller’s 1970 Duster 340 is said to be original — right down to the rust. It comes with the build sheet and fender tag, so we don’t have to guess what the car did or did not come with from the factory. Rust is an issue in the trunk pan, cowl, lower quarter panels, and one or more floorboards. It’s reasonably clean underneath for not having been undercoated from the beginning. The car comes with a South Carolina title from 1997 (the last time it was titled) and a 1980 registration from the same state (thought to be the last time it was registered for plates). It sounds like the car has changed hands a few times and had nothing done with it. Only one photo of the interior is provided, showing the need for carpets, seat covers, and a new dash pad at a minimum.

From the build sheet, we learn some of the following about the car:

  • Built in February, 1970
  • Painted two-tone, Lemon Twist Yellow (FY1) with Black (TX9) painted roof
  • Legit Duster 340 with its matching numbers 340 cubic inch, 4-barrel, 275 hp V-8
  • Matching numbers 3-speed (D13) transmission with 3:23:1 rear axle (D53)
  • Variety of other items like the Rally instrument cluster, deluxe steering wheel, Duster 340 interior décor group, Rallye wheels, and dual exhaust

The title from 1997 says the mileage then was just 12 miles less than today, so it’s an accurate portrayal of the dormancy of the car. The seller says that the engine was reportedly last started by the previous owner three years ago, but he has not tried it himself, but we’re told it turns freely. All original engine components are still in place, such as the exhaust manifold, carburetor, and intake. To assist with the restoration, the seller will toss in an extra hood, trunk lid, and cowl along with the owner’s manual. Oh, the car had new tires installed in 2017, with no use since then.

Once restored, the next owner of this car could have a machine worth close to $40,000. Despite its rust issues, the fact that its complete gives this car a head start on the road to recovery. The asking price sounds a bit rich, but it seems that way for almost every old muscle car you see for sale these days.

WANT ADS

WANTED 1970-1978 Datsun 240z 260z 280z Hello, I’m looking to buy a datsun z car from 1970-1978, project condition or nicer car considered Contact

WANTED 1966 Buick Riviera GS Ready to buy now!….. 66, Riviera GS. Jerry: 303 663 3963 Contact

WANTED 1969 Plymouth Roadrunner Looking for parts for this project. Especially seats Contact

WANTED 1994/95 Dodge Dakota 4X4 Looking for a nice ’94/’95 Dakota 4WD in nice shape.Want a V8. Contact

WANTED 1958 Buick Limited 2 Door Hard Top Looking for a 1958 Buick limited coupe hard top, survivor or restored. Contact

Submit Your Want Ad

Comments

  1. Mitchell Gildea Member

    Want some car with that rust?

    Like 8
  2. Troy s

    It’s been sitting for years, rusting away slowly, it’s too bad this wasnt gone through a decade or two ago. Like the big T-handle for shifting duties, stock as heck 340, so so gearing.
    Never knew the cartoon connection for a name on these Dusters, which is interesting. Tasmanian Devil is a bit much though.
    I always wondered if Plymouth would have used a 383 had these been around in ’68-’69.

    Like 2
  3. William Shields

    Coming from the great white salted north the body on this isn’t bad. I’ve seen people try and resurrect these with bodies in much worse shape just to have a factory Duster 340 and not a clone.

    Like 4
    • Fred Hubler

      I grew up in the not-so-great white salted northeast, where my Dad bought a ’72 Plymouth Ruster new and patched it every spring until he traded it for a Zephyr in the ’80s. I think Bondo’s stock dropped a few tenths of a percent the day it left the road.

      Like 5
  4. Jim

    Hard to tell exactly how bad the rust is on this car. Doesn’t look real bad from the sides, but the top of the front fenders was the first place to go on Valiants. No pictures of that area. The interior is a real mess.

    Depending on the rust, however, it might not be bad at that price.

    • bone

      In New England its the bottoms of the fenders that went, .For some reason it was the 73 – 76 Darts that rusted badly in the upper fenders and inner wheel housings. We had a lot of these (not 340s) ) in our salvage yard in CT. in the md 1980s. 10 years was the average life expectancy of most cars back then ; mostly due to rust.
      This one looked fair at first, but when I saw the rot out in the cowl I thought that any buyer should really check this one out.

      Like 1
  5. sir_mike

    Love…sort of…the period 70’s 1/4 panel decals…remember when they were popular.

    Like 3
  6. Superdessucke

    I don’t know if it’s the camera angle but what’s up with the brake master cylinder? Looks like it’s rusting right out of the firewall. I also see a hole on that side. That could be very problematic.

    It doesn’t look near as bad as some other Mopars featured here, I’ll give it that. I’d still need to see this in person before buying though.

  7. XMA0891

    All this car needs is to be taken in by any number of “reality” TV Shows and she’d be better than factory-fresh inside of two weeks.
    Seriously; I still really like this car!
    Some questions for a Plymouth Pro: Looks like there is a hole where its shifter would’ve been – Would this originally have been a three-on-the-tree car?
    Are those “Plymouth” decals factory OEM?

    Like 1
    • Gus Fring

      No, that’s not a column-shift column.

    • Gus Fring

      Those decals were available, back then, through Direct Connection at the dealer parts counter. They were only standard on Superbirds.

      Like 3
      • DON

        They made them aftermarket too , I put a set of them on my 72 Duster – it only had a 225, so I dont think I impressed anyone !

        Like 1
  8. Gus Fring

    Too bad it’s not a 4-speed…3-speed kills the value, unfortunately. An automatic would bring more than a 3-speed.

    Like 2
    • Steve R

      A four speed swap would be easy. Besides, who could tell? It wouldn’t hurt value and would make it more enjoyable to drive.

      Steve R

      Like 1
      • Tony Primo

        May as well pull the trigger and go 5 speed then.

  9. Russ

    I had one just like it back in the day! Bought it off a used car lot for $1500 and outrun every Corvette, Z, Mach I and every cop car but the last one! LOL! Learned you can’t outrun the 2-way! LOL! Would love to have this one but the price is too rich for all the work it’s gonna take.

  10. Guardstang

    1970 is the only year the trunk lid is flat, many times they were replaced with later lids. I’ve read that the marketing folk wanted to call the 340 the CK edition with an empty phone booth decal at the back. When the hood was opened the hood pad would have the Superman S emblem on it. Marketing could not even come close to understanding the concept.

  11. PatrickM

    Well, if I was to buy this car, the first thing I’d do is deep clean it, re-paint it (I don’t like yellow cars). Question: do the brakes work? If so, why are there wheel chocks behind the rear tires? There is a lot to be done to this car. Body looks straight from these pics. Still, $8,500.00 seems high to me. Or is it just the way things are going these days? Our money is tight and so many folks are just out to make a quick buck. Leesburg, Va. isn’t very far from me. It wouldn’t take me long to get there. But, I can’t do this one.

  12. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    Once a fine machine, not the fastest or the most optioned of its kind, but still a respectable ride. Never have been a Mopar man (with the exception of 426 hemi) but I could see someone who likes these cars rebuilding this one for personal use. I was did have the bad luck of owning a 67 Coronet 500 at one time, finally sold it to some unsuspecting poor soul.
    God bless America

  13. knelipot

    Ya hit the nail on the head. Mom (RIP) was a librarian and loved her Valiant. Her name was Valerie, after all. Had to work hard to talk her out of a new Volare; she got a Cutlass instead.

    Right about that time, she got tired of my brother and I talking over her head about cars so she went to auto mechanic classes at the local tech school. The old farts there wouldn’t let her mess with the wrenches much but she was never taken by shops again. And she thanked me for talking her out of the Volare.

  14. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Part of the Rapid Transit System

    Like 4
    • stillrunners stillrunners Member

      You got that right – 14 seconds is what you needed to be in it !!

  15. Ted Ashley

    Good color combo, but it’s not clear how much rust this one has hidden. If it’s solid, it could be a decent buy at $8k with the parts.

  16. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Factory standard front disk brakes as well….not a bad start with it being original as it is – 3 speed was standard and was not really a bad trannie.

  17. K Gun Offense

    I seen this car for sale somewhere else recently about a month ago. I can’t remember where. Maybe locally as I live 45 minutes away. Lot of rust for that price and a lot of work to restore. Have to let you know when I remember where I seen it for sale before this.

  18. bone

    You buy cars to impress the ladies ?

    Like 1
    • Troy s

      Hey Quintin III, think man cave on four wheels here, a different kind of fulfillment, or pleasure so to speak.
      If you dont understand that I really have to wonder …why on earth you looked at this car in the first place. Have a great day!

  19. Tyler Bailey

    I bought this car in November of 2020, I plan to restore it back to its prime. Motor has been fired and is currently on its way to a machine shop, we’ve took the 3speed and put it on the shelf for a freshly built 4speed, we’ve replace the cowl on the car due to a fist size rust hole on the driver side from pine needles, also we’ve replace the full inner driver side fender. The car is sitting with the front end in primer and soon to be painted, I’ve bought everything for the interior, minus the seat covers and padding. We’ve put a lot of work into this thing and hope to be cruising in it this time next year! Cool experience to bring these old mopars back from the dead.

    Like 1

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.

*

Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.