Only in Oahu: 1973 Dodge Dart Custom

1973 Dodge Dart

First and foremost, I’m not much of a traveler. But among the places I have visited, Hawaii remains one of my favorites. My wife and I honeymooned in Maui, where I spent copious amounts of time taking pictures of forgotten classics draped in island greenery and fighting losing battles with corrosion due to humidity and long-term parking on a bed of wet sand or leaves. This 1973 Dodge Dart on the island of Oahu hasn’t suffered that fate, however, and looks like the perfect runabout for getting to the luau on time. For more information, you can find the car listed for $12,990 on Hawaii’s craigslist here.

Island Dodge Dart

When it first hit the market, the Dart found favor with buyers who appreciated the smaller but well-equipped alternatives to more upscale models in the Dodge lineup. Although high-performance models were later introduced, such as the Swinger 340, the plain-Jane sedan and coupe variations remained popular with consumers. Unfortunately, the Dart’s clean lines (the original show car was designed by Ghia) would be marred in later models like the ’73 due to the requirement for unsightly large bumpers to comply with Federal safety standards. However, this didn’t stop customers from coming in the door and the car would remain in production for 13 years and was considered a success in the domestic compact marketplace.

Survivor Dodge Dart

Take one look at this island Dart and it’s clear it has been loved. The body looks incredibly straight and the chrome still shines. Island cars are always such a curiosity to me. How did they get there? Where were they before? How many different people have owned the same car in a close-knit island community? And how would this Dart look with a roof rack and some surfboards? (The answer to that last question is fantastic!) With only 70,000 miles on the clock, the simplicity of the standard slant-six engine and the new-for-’73 electronic ignition combine to offer an affordable entry point into classic car ownership. It may not be the fastest or the flashiest, but at a certain point owning a simple, easy to work on hobby car is far more enjoyable than dealing with a finicky, limited-production model.

Dodge Dart

If I take any issue with this listing, it’s the price. My feeling is that almost $13K is a tad ambitious for a Dart that’s not equipped with one of the hotter engines. Hagerty estimates that a GTS hardtop coupe has an average value of $16,179, which is very close to this seller’s asking price. In general, everything is more expensive in Hawaii, from cereal to clothing, but that shouldn’t affect the value of a car that’s far from uncommon. However, the chances are good it’s the only one on the island in this condition, so the seller may be guessing a mainland transplant is willing to spend a bit more to get their hands on a classic Mopar that doesn’t require hundreds of dollars in shipping fees. Is this Dart perfect for bumming it to the beach? Let us know in the comments below.

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Comments

  1. Dave

    admittedly the car is a nice clean and straight example of Dodge’s little dart, I don’t think ’73 was the nicest year cosmeticly for this car.Earlier ones looked better. For the price point I hope it comes with a life supply of pineapples !! LOL!! Happy New Year !! everyone!!! Keep the finds coming in 2015 !!!

  2. Mark

    The maui waui flows deep in this one, for $12,900 I could find something a LOT more appealing then my Grandmothers Four door Dart

  3. Leon

    I have my late grandmother’s 74 Dart Swinger hardtop It was parked in barn during it’s first 16 years. I hope to restore for my two boys. It’s oddball. Auto and AC. But no power steering and it has drum brakes all around. The windshield washer is foot operated. Mine made in Feb 74. Front bumper frame mounted with big rubber blocks but the rear bumper is smooth and mounted on recoil shocks. Anyone know a good source of NOS parts ?

    • Desi

      What are you looking for Leon?

      I might work at the manufacturer…

      Try here for some NOS bits. The site is a bit dated, but most are still in business.
      http://www.chryslerclub.org/links.htm

  4. JW454

    If you can pull this kind of coin from old classics in Hawaii, I have a few I’m going to be shipping there.

  5. Wayne

    I remember this year, It’s the one where Chrysler thought it was okay to make the distributor/oil pump drive out of nylon. Combined with the smog crap, the first time it was shut off and it dieseled all the teeth on the gear evaporated causing a no-start no-lube situation. Brilliant.

    In finishing up this year and considering I was turning bolts when this thing was built, I am having a tough time understanding some of the prices these boat anchors owners are
    asking . This cars only asset at the time it was built was the engine and trans, Most of the rest of it was garbage. There was a reason Hollywood used Chryslers in all scenes where maximum destruction was needed, They crumpled up like a wet paper bag. and when rolled at a low speed would vaporize. Good for Hollywood bad for you. I am having a tough time understanding the craving for these cars or the others made at this time because I remember what a warranty nightmare they were. Leaking, unreliable pieces of smog stifled crap that when sold on a Monday were back Tuesday on the hook with the starter or other part hanging from under the car. The days of A 454 that put out a rousing 160 HP and got 10 miles to the gallon. Basically everything American was a rolling piece of crap that wasn’t worth the tow bill. It opened the door to the imports taking over. Who would have guessed a buyer would appreciate quality, Gas mileage and a low price in the same package ?
    Sorry if I have offended anyone, but I feel we should let this dark cruddy piece of American automotive history die rather than be celebrated.with a price tag like this dimwit is attempting. We have made some good cars in our history, But the early seventies was not one of those times. Happy New Year and please stay safe.

    • Jeff Lavery Staff

      Hey Wayne – good thoughts all around. Personally, I raise a glass to any car that has survived all of these years in largely original condition. It may not have been the best car ever made, but someone loved it enough to keep it on the road! Hopefully it stays somewhere warm when the next owner takes possession.

    • Woodie Man

      Exactly.

  6. jim s

    if you live on the island and want a slant 6 you can go with this or pay to have one shipped in at great cost. i hope the new owner does take good care of it. nice find

  7. Bruce R. Colbert

    I remember these also.
    Bought one new in ’72.
    In two years, rusted unbelievably .

  8. Achman

    3 things go against this car in terms of its relative worth:

    1. 4 door, not coupe
    2. Slant six, not 318 or 340
    3. Auto, not 4 speed

    Even though it is nice, I would struggle to pony up $5k for this…and I love Darts.

    I would much rather find a ’72 Swinger coupe with a 318 and 4 speed. Super fun, underrated car…and easily found in excellent shape for the same price if not less.

    Watch for rust in the rear quarters, especially where the vinyl roof meets the windshield and fender. Also, trunk and gas tank rust. These cars are extremely durable, and the switch to a manifold, aftermarket carb and dual exhaust can really make a huge difference in a 318…

  9. Woodie Man

    Enough Maui Wowie…..it’s a slant six 4DOOR……in other words a run of the mill 4 door “compact”for that year. I remember driving in one without the vinyl roof to work with a friend in the mountains of Colorado..in ’73. All I remember is thinking.what a square car and those vinyl seats are COLD!

  10. SoCal Car Guy

    I have so many mixed feelings about this car; hardtop would be much more interesting, 340 (or even a 318) instead of the slant six, four-speed instead of automatic… I really like a mid ’60s through around 1970 Mopar musclecars, but, for the most part, Chrysler products of the ’60s and ’70s were utter pieces of, well, excrement.
    My first new car, right out of high school was a 1969 Barracuda fastback, 340, four-speed, 3.91 limited slip, power steering and disc brakes. Ran strong (beat only by Hemis, Cobra jets, big-block Corvettes and an occasional big-block Camaro) and handled very well for the time, and started falling apart the day after I brought it home. The (optional in 1969) fold-down rear seatback broke the first time I used it ( and broke again and was “fixed” again about three months later), the wipers broke the first time I needed to use them, the clutch linkage failed less than three months after I bought it (dealer said a “locating pin” was left out during its build and that the linkage bent a little bit more every time I shifted), the driver seat upholstery started splitting open in the pleats after about 10 months and it started to get rust bubbles below the rear window about the same time — on a Southern California car! All of those issues were repaired (or patched up) under warranty. It also had valvetrain issues and had valve guides replaced twice under warranty before the car was three years old. If Lemon Laws had existed in 1969-72 Chrysler would’ve owned a lemon yellow ‘Cuda.
    I still have warm-fuzzies for that car; a lot of fun, good looker, and the biggest P.O.S. I’ve ever owned. So bad that I will never even consider owning another Chrysler product — and yet I still like the damned things.

  11. gunningbar

    Shipping cars to HI is about $1,000. Not a big deal. But 13 k for a granny car? No thanks. But always good to see some people take care of their cars.

  12. Gay Car Nut

    My favourite years for the Dodge Dart are 1970-71, 1973-74, and 1975-76. I’d take mine with the 3.7 litre slant 6 engine.

    Like 1
  13. Gerald Sample

    I have a 1973 Dodge Dart 4 door, vinyl roof, 318 automatic and think it is just fine. Runs great, only has 24100 original miles. I am second owner. It has always been garage kept. Any body know where I can get a washer reservoir with pump (new) please give me a reply.

  14. Car Nut Tacoma

    I’d buy a 1973 Dodge Dart if I knew someone who had a nice original example.

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