Plum Crazy Original: 1973 Dodge Dart Sport 340

Brian BirknerBy Brian Birkner

Remarkably original in Plum Crazy Purple, this Dart Sport 340 is an appealing later model muscle car. Having spent its time in California, this Dart still needs some final touches to be a great looking Dart. Featuring a rebuilt engine and transmission, this Dart could be your driving project for $7,800. Find it here on Hemmings, out of Weare, New Hampshire. Thanks Pat L for the Plum Crazy submission!

The freshly rebuilt drivetrain is not stated as being the original, so we would certainly ask if pursuing this Dart. Even though recently rebuilt, the engine already looks to need a re-spray from looking at the water pump housing. Also the 340 has been updated with several performance modifications. The biggest items being aluminum heads and headers. There is no evidence of rust in the engine bay as it is evenly coated with black semi-gloss paint.

Looking inside of this Dart reveals a rough, but original, interior. The dash is dried and heavily cracked needing to be replaced. The door panels have split, and some of the material is rolling back. From what can be seen, the carpet, and the seats aren’t too shabby. I am also not a fan of the aftermarket tachometer, the shifter, or the loose wiring dangling from the dash. Although all of these items could be easily remedied.

Getting past the faded and dry Plum Crazy Purple reveals a straight bodied Dart. At a quick glance, this Dodge looks like a winner, only needing a little buffing to really make its originality shine. Unfortunately there are a few very well hidden rust spots that need attention. There is rot that has developed around the rear window, running into the rear quarter sections. There is also some rot around the tail light sections, and there is some bubbling developing in the lower portion of the quarters.  Overall the body looks solid and reasonable, despite these pesky rust areas. The grill has a very well disguised broken section, but the original fiberglass hood is in great shape. Right on the edge of needing a full restoration, I could see this Dart being enjoyed as is for a while as a fair weather cruiser, until being restored. Would you pick up this Dart for the $7,800 asking price?

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Comments

  1. chuck farley

    We always called that color “Statutory Grape”

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  2. flmikey

    …hate the shifter….too many mods….pass…..but I am guessing it will bring all the money…

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  3. Roko

    Can’t be original since that colour was last available in 1971.

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  4. Chebby

    I don’t think you could get Plum Crazy in 73, in one of the door jambs there is blue peeking through it. The 340 is the best part of the car. I had a 1975 Duster and I always wanted to alter the emblem to read RUSTED.

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  5. John H. from CT

    Figure $3K to do the interior, gauges and dash if you the majority of it yourself. Then the bodywork, which you could be into for $10K assuming no chrome and a solid underside. Unfortunately, no pictures provided of that. I’d ditch the aftermarket valve covers and make this look more stock. Likely the paint on the engine looks so bad because somebody didn’t clean and degrease it before they poof canned it. Time for a pressure washer, degreaser, and an air brush so you can paint the tight spots in place. Add $5K to whatever you assume you will spend, just to cover contingencies, then do your own math on the total. IMO, at $7K, not an unreasonable deal if the underside is very solid.

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  6. Rod

    Looks like it was yellow there is a spot over the brake booster that came off exposing the original. My bet is this would be a headache as it is a rust bucket.
    Had one and loved it but rust was the problem.

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  7. Scott

    Had one of these in High school. Mine had bucket seats that were high backs. Not sure if it was an option difference. Had a friend with a ’74. His sport had a bench with the split fold front seat and adjustable headrests.

    The engine compartment has a lot of things missing. I understand that these are gaining in price. Have to believe that there are better examples out there for this price.

    Think they are a good looking car and the 340 would get up and move when allowed to.

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  8. JW

    I think there’s more work than meets the eye here … Pass !!!

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  9. Rock On

    I bet that you can shave some money off the asking price now that the snow is on the ground.

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  10. Jeffery M Pringle

    Needs to much work for that price! & prob not A matching numbers car!

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  11. Rustytech

    I didn’t especially like the 73’s, that bumper is down right ugly. This car needs lots of love and $$$$ to make it right. $4000 tops. Watch though, somebody that’s never done a restore will pay stupid money and it’ll be back on the market in a year as an “work in progress i.e. In pieces!

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  12. erikj

    Yea it is not original, but the style and present color gives me juvanation to get going on my baby.
    Its a 71 ,I think it is a twister . Very nice body, bucket seat, floor manual shift,v-8,and its got a 83/4 rear. Best is it is factory -In violet color. I would love to post it since many of you like these as I do.
    My plan is to do the orig. color, Possibly do a 340 clone since I have to do the black out hood and 340 wedge decal( Hand a red71 340 duster in high school that had the factory hood effect done and it was so cool . When parked people would walk by and turn there head to try and read that 340 decal. Funny, got to do it to my duster I have know.
    The dart, with the purple just really tells my to get off my ass and get “r” done! It will be something I will be very proud of. Sorry to ramble!!

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  13. JoeyB

    I would bet a dollar for a doughnut this ruster was originally green, it is clearly visible on the front inner fender-wells.

    JoeyB…

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  14. John B

    In any parking lot on earth, those ridiculous exhaust pipes would draw blood from the shins of persons walking behind this typical 1970s mess. I especially hate it when an idiot paints the engine compartment on a Mopar! Sadly, I feel my nature risin’ over this critter…help me!!!

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  15. erikj

    john B, I hear you on those tips. My 71 will wear the correct, factory 340 tips with the factory hangers so they sit where they are supposed to be. That is the right look in my option.
    I’ve seen to many that try to look close or different and it just don’t compare to the correct app.. And same go’s for the engine bay-DO IT RIGHT! or don’t do it. When I see one that got the all black job- stupid ,just leave it if you cant get it right! GOD know my blood is heating up.

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    • John B

      As for Mopars, I’m a purist, within reason. (seven Dusters owned and several other models 68-75). Who cares how much the original parts might cost, as long as you know just what those items actually were? A ’73 Dart would be the last of the chrome box-tip A bodies. The big rear bumper and its supports spoiled that arrangement the next year. Maybe some younger persons do not remember the correct items and colors from experience, but I do at age 57. Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth had exhaust systems sorted out from the performance, sound and appearance perspectives by 1970. With the reproduction market vastly expanded since the old days, I say as you do…DO IT RIGHT!

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  16. Blindmarc

    Built many mid 70’s A bodies, and this one isn’t worth the money….

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  17. rando

    This is a mess. I can’t remember where the engine numbers are stamped, but I’d dang sure run them to make sure it’s not a 318. Externally, they are identical, if memory serves. And sellers will mislead you there. The interior is a mess; may as well gut and rebuild. Wiring harness and all – no telling what all has been messed with there. Engine bay? May as well remove engine and fix it RIGHT, with whatever color is going to be the final color. Eek. And it’s a 73, so the value is not that great to start with. To me this is a $1000 car, that’s it. Too many sketchy mods to sort. Would not trust it to drive to end of driveway. Not enough pride of ownership in this one. And I do love the A body Mopars.

    I love how the Demon/Dart sport just tacked on the Dart front to the Duster rear, leaving the wheel openings mismatched. Gotta love badge engineering.

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  18. erikj

    Thanks John B ,I,M 56 so I’ve been there and had the orig. stuff. I bet I have had at least 24 or more a body’s. The 70-72 duster is my favorite. My High school car started it all. It was a 71 340,4spd, Ragoon red with the blacked out hood. Sold it right after high school to a cheesy car Add to dictionary that, but we all got a story like that. If you might have seen on ebay there is a revelle model of a ragoon red 71 340 w/blacked out hood. That is exactly what I had. To me that’s the holy grail of dusters. Glad to here that some else under stand that aspect of dusters. Who would of thought back in the late 70s-80s these where considered through away cars-look at the money they bring now, glad I have what have.

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    • John B

      While this Dart inspires me only slightly, it does conjure up memories. This is my last Duster, a cloned car I admit…pictured around 2002.

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  19. John B

    My favorite was the ’71 in light gunmetal metallic with the flat-black hood and huge 340 Wedge decal. Originally 3 speed, went to 4 with a pistol grip shifter that was too short but fun anyway. 3.91 gears and bench seat. I even found an factory tach for it at the dealer. If I had it today, I would have to do away with the aftermarket stuff(headers, Erson cam, Keystone Klassics), but it would be driven regularly. Young and dumb…it was sold and made into a drag racer by a nitwit.

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  20. Stephen

    I had a 1973 dodge dart sport 340 with an a833 four speed manual transmission for a summer when I was in high school. I used it to drive to my horrible first job at the airport. I bought it because it was cheap “$3500”. She had a cool paint job, it was rally red with white stripes, black interior. I had the car for most of the summer and sold it when I quit my job and could no longer afford insurance. I actually sold it when I took it out to get a few pictures for the online listing. I stopped at a gas station outside of my neighborhood and while I was filling it up. Some guy came up and started asking me some questions about it. He claimed to have bought a dodge demon brand new, but his then girlfriend wrecked it during a night of drinking. He asked if it was for sale and I threw out a price. He bought it on the spot and I’ve seen it several times at our town’s labor day car show. He seems to have restored the car since I owned it. He replaced the ripped seats, replaced the headers with stock manifolds, and painted the car back to the factory rally red replacing the white stripe with a factory correct black stripe. I still haven’t found the perfect car, I have bought and sold several great cars in the years since I sold that car, never regretting a single purchase or sale.

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  21. Stephen

    Also to those who say this is a 318 or a 225 inline 6 this car appears to be a real H code 340 car

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  22. Tom

    If that was original paint it would be peeling not fading.

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  23. SR

    There’s more gremlins in this mess than what’s on it. There has been a lot of corners cut on this thing, the interior is junk & not just the seats it’s obviously set outside with the windows at least cracked if not rolled down in the rain more than once. I’d have to see more of the floor pans. Looks like some teenager with a part time job bought what they could afford at the time ( I’m not dogging up a youngster with a job) and installed them while drinking some of Dads beers hoping he wouldn’t notice he had more than that in the fridge. My Dad always knew. Seems steep for what I see. To me it’s a coin flip.

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  24. Jubjub

    Pretty sketchy ride. Hope it wasn’t corporate blue and white…just always really liked that combo. Always hated seeing plum crazy as the bonehead, go to, repaint color for any Mopar. The post “mod” era Mopar colors weren’t as outlandish but there were some great ones and they had their own character.

    Had to throw this pic in too!

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    • John B

      Wish I knew the story of how the Cars chose a Duster for an album cover! Had one just like it in a gray-blue metallic…but my girlfriend hated it. She drove a Bug.

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  25. JP

    Whether it is a number’s matching car or not, it’s still a 73’A body no matter how you cut it. By the time you put a complete wiring harness, paint, complete interior, rebuilding the dash plus the cost of the car, you are in over what the car is worth retail. Having been thru this a couple of times, the reality of making this a high dollar car is more about sentiments not dollar sense.

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    • Tom

      JP, I have heard Jay Leno say that about some of his choices. “sentiments not dollar sense.”

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  26. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Did anyone catch the 65 Dart with the FIrebrid Nose under “Related Cars”?
    https://www.hemmings.com/classifieds/dealer/dodge/dart/1802104.html

    Yikes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    • JW

      That is down right ugly !!!

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  27. Paul J.

    I know that this is not the same vintage Dart, but it is a 340 stripe delete swinger. Being a 4 spd. car w/o power steering or anything else to leak, it is still my favorite. I still own it, Had it in storage since 1989, pulled it out in 2013 after major heart attack and 4 way bypass surgery. Just completed in 2015, owned it since 1980, and delivered papers next to it when I was12 y/o. There is more to the story but I had several Dusters and one 71 340 Demon in the middle to late 70s.

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  28. George Livesley

    One can buy grandma’s nice clean almost factory new Dodge Dart with the exception of some scratches and bent wheel-well bright trim caused by her being much too close to the side (both/either side) of the garage doors as she was driving in or backing out, or both, for that kind of money and clone it from there and be in it at or close to $10K. A “340” crate-motor should be available around $4K, or less with the rest for a good used set of wheels/tires (or the set you have in the garage.), your neighbor, Bub can do the minimal body work for a song, although paint these days would require singing 6 or more tunes.

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