Numbers-Matching: 1971 Plymouth Duster 340

One of the most popular cars we see here on Barn Finds is the Plymouth Duster, and especially the Duster 340. And why not? They were attractive, inexpensive and reliable cars when new. And if you play your cards right, they won’t break the bank today in collecting them. This 1971 Duster 340 appears to be in a state of transition as it’s inside a shop wearing a replacement front clip off another Duster (or two).  Looks like it was in an accident, but there’s no mention of that. Located in Rancho Cucamonga, California, you can find this one here on craigslist for $8,000. Thank you, Rex Miller, for the tip!

The Duster debuted in 1970 and gave the Valiant line a shot in the sales arm. It was sporty and attracted younger buyers, something that Plymouth wanted. And since speed was the name of the game in the late 1960s/early 1970s, you could also order a Duster with a 340 cubic inch V-8 that was good for 275 hp. The 340 small-block debuted in 1968 when it was first in the Barracuda and Dodge Dart. When the fastback Duster came out two years later, the engine was installed in 24,875 Duster 340s. Demand for the Duster 340 dipped the following year, partly because Dodge rolled out their own Duster, the Demon. Between the two makes, 22,964 340s saw the light of day. That number was 24,454 in 1972 and 27,046 in 1973, the last year of the 340. For 1974, it would be replaced by the 360 which doesn’t seem to have the same attraction with collectors today. Thanks to Swinger 340 Specials for the production data on the 340 motor.

If I was a selling a car like this 1971 Duster 340, I would take a zillion photos and describe the car in great deal. Unfortunately, the seller here didn’t do that. What we see is likely an original Duster 340 from the cowl back. It appears to be wearing its original Top Banana paint – again, from the cowl back. Some rust repair was likely done on the driver’s side rear wheel opening and some is still brewing just back from there. However, the front fenders and hood seem to have come from three different cars and the front bumper is laying on the ground. I’m guessing it was wrecked, the front end replaced and then the work stopped. There looks to be a Dart Swinger of the same vintage sharing shop space with the Duster.

We can’t comment on the interior because there are no pictures of it. The same is true of the engine, although the seller tells us the car carries a numbers-matching 340 with factory 4-speed. Yet, the right column of the ad lists the car as having an automatic transmission. One is wrong. Since there is no mention if the car runs, we must assume it does not.

Primo versions of the Duster 340 have been known to go for $35-40,000. This one is largely an unknown, costing you $8,000 just to get started. You’d have to assume a full restoration, including mechanicals, body and paint. Not cheap. And who knows what kind of hidden damage may be behind the replacement sheet metal. A better ad or a lower price would help move this car.

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Comments

  1. sshayss

    Lemon Twist

    Like 1
  2. Mark

    Standard 71 grille which would be incorrect for this car.
    I believe the 340 and Twister models had the shark tooth version.

    Like 2
    • jerry z

      From the pics, it looks as the whole front end has neen changed so that may be a problem. Cali car would most likely have a solid body. Well at least I hope!

      Like 1
  3. Jim

    Looks to be in pretty rough condition for 8 grand. And there are no interior pictures, meaning it’s probably a disaster. No thanks.

    Like 2
  4. Matthew Hafer

    I’m sorry but with whats in the description and pics thats a $3,500.00 car all day. The problem is some dip sh– will come in and buy it and thats why they are so expensive.

    Like 6
  5. Bill Meadows

    My first new car was a 1973 Duster 340cu auto price was less than 4000$ Those days are long gone.

  6. Steve Bush Member

    Another seller who is too lazy/stupid to give us any decent info or take good pics. But he wants $8k for a ratty Duster. Too bad the cars in the background look way better than it.

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