Real H-Code: 1970 Plymouth Duster 340

Plymouth injected some excitement into its boxy Valiant compact in 1970. The Duster fastback was born and a sporty addition to the line-up. For those who wanted more than good looks in their ride, they could order a Duster 340 with Chrysler’s potent small-block V8. This first-year Duster 340 looks to be in good overall condition and comes with the seldom-ordered 3-speed manual transmission. Pinckney, Michigan is the locale of this automobile and it’s available here on craigslist for $16,000. We appreciate rex m bringing this tip our way!

The Duster was intended to be a competitor to the Chevy Nova and Ford Maverick and cut out a nice slice of the market for itself. The car would remain in production through 1976 when the Valiant series was discontinued in favor of the new Volare. Dodge would lobby for and get its version of the Duster, first named the Demon, and then softened to the Dart Sport. Plymouth built nearly 25,000 Duster 340’s in 1970, but only 15% were said to come the base floor-shifted 3-speed manual. That means that a third would get the 4-speed and half the TorqueFlite automatic.

This Duster is said to be a true H-code car (Duster 340) not a clone of a former Slant-Six model. It’s equipped to be a fast smaller car with an 8 ¾ posi-traction rear end and 3:23 gearing. Front disc brakes are also onboard, and I believe those were standard with the 340. We don’t know the actual mileage of the car because the seller says the odometer is broken.

The car’s body and yellow paint look sound with no visible rust or any mention of it in the past. We don’t know if the glow-in-the-dark finish and black vinyl top are original, but they present well. The same appears true with the black striping, including that on the hood scoops. What we can see of the interior looks equally good with no immediate need to attend to anything but the mileage counter. The Rallye wheels look good with no issues we can see with the chrome trim rings. If you’re looking for a Cars & Coffee entry without breaking the bank, this Plymouth could be a good start.

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Comments

  1. RoughDiamond RoughDiamond Member

    This is a sweet “real” 340 at a great price. I doubt if the listing will be up for long.

    Like 14
  2. Cadmanls Member

    Nice ride but think the hood scoops are Demon items. Guy I worked with in 70 bought a new Duster 340 4 gear had the same color and stripe kit. Interior was identical, was a strong runner.

    Like 4
    • DrillnFill

      The twin scoops are correct for (I believe) 70-71 Duster/Dart/Demon. I think it was ‘72 they went to a single center scoop.

      Like 5
      • Leslie Martin Member

        I believe your correct. The dual scoops were optional on 340 Dusters in ’70 and ’71. Had the same scoops on my ’71 340 Duster and ’70 340 Dart. Without the black matte hood option, they look a little obvious in gloss black against the Lemon Twist hood here. But they are still badass.

        Like 1
  3. Timothy Collier

    Unfortunately, wrong stripes for a 70. The air cleaner is from a later model. The Sears appear incorrect. Buyer beware.

    Like 4
    • Leslie Martin Member

      Okay, I’m, just going from memory on this. But shouldn’t it have the “dustcloud” stripe on the back panel, and the “Duster 340” decals on the front fenders? Also I think the ’70 models still had the metal “Valiant” medallion on the leading edge of the front fenders.

      Not to pick it apart, because from the pictures this seems like a pretty decent car with a decent respray. It just seems odd that they would have got the 340 callouts right, but not done the correct stripes. All those replacement graphics are available.

      Like 2
      • Graham

        I bought a 71 brand new, and the stripe “340” was on it. 70’s didn’t have that stripe kit like you say. Good eye.

        Like 2
    • Scotty McLaughlin

      Timothy you are right about the stripes and air cleaner. I bought a 70 new, it was my first new car and I loved it. The bucket seats had different covers but these are fine. For a 51 year old car this one looks good and well cared for.

      Like 1
  4. DrillnFill

    Great looking car, and if there’s truly no rust, that’s a steal at $16,000. 340 and 323 posi? That’s gotta be a screamer!

    Like 6
  5. Gary Rhodes

    Nice car in a eye popping color and at a great price if it is not a Bondo buggy. The torsion bar crossmember is prone to rot on Chryslers, be nice to have some underbody photos

    Like 2
  6. Gary

    I believe the air cleaner is from a 71. Not a big deal, but if you value originality for profit, then it matters.

    Like 3
  7. Robert Sykes

    The colour is correct..it’s Lemon Twist..my Dad’s pal Al bought a Lemon Twist 1970 duster 340 after trading in his Corvair Monza as part purchase,the hood scoops should be semi-gloss nearly flat black..they did not come that glossy.
    BTW,one reason the 3spd may have been chosen is many wanted to shift themselves but Mopar’s 4spd in the Duster was utter crap..the best(do not sin me) Duster 340’s came with a torqueflite.

    • Don Eladio

      That’s complete baloney…the 4-speed was an A-833 that was bulletproof…basically, the same 4-speed that was used behind the 383, 440, 426 Hemi, etc. The 3-speed is a turd.

      Like 6
      • Leslie Martin Member

        Completely agree. I had the New Process A-833 in my ’71 340 Duster and both of my 340 Dart Swingers (’69 and ’70). Muncie and Borg-Warener could only dream of building a 4-speed that bulletproof. But I have to admit that with the 8 3/4 Sure Grip (It is not “Positraction”) I did have a hell of a time keeping U-joints from blowing up in that car.

        P.S. Nobody “ordered” a 3-speed with a 340 Duster, but they were standard. The 4-Speed A-833 and the Torquflite A-727 Automatic were the optional transmissions.

        Like 7
  8. Steve Clinton

    My dad bought a 1970 Duster 340 in Lime Light Green at the urging of my brother. I wasn’t impressed, being a Chevy fan. My brother now owns a restored Duster and I own a Corvair. Some things never change!

    Like 2
  9. Steve Clinton

    My Dad bought a 1970 Duster 340 in Lime Light Gren at the urging of my brother. I wasn’t impressed, being a Chevy fan. Today my brother owns a restored ’70 Duster and I own a ’67 Corvair. Some things never change!

    • Steve Clinton

      OOPS. Dang BF delayed postings!

  10. Don Eladio

    The D13 3-speed kills it value wise.

  11. TAGS

    No fender tag and a no show of the VIN number…two important things I want to see.

    Like 5
  12. G.D. Shortreed

    As Tags mentions, best way to determine if it’s what it claims it is, show the fender tag and the vin number. I wouldn’t buy a Mopar without that information being available. Still not a bad deal.

    Like 1
  13. DM

    The car is still available and seems pretty nice. Without sounding like a hack, the mirrors, front seats, shifter and boot are not stock (suspect the back seats don’t match the front). The longitudinal striping is correct for a ’71 or ’72 340. The rear stripes are incorrect. The air cleaner is correct for 340s from ’72 to ’73. Duster 340s never came with hood scoops, they were reserved for Twisters. The car is equipped with electronic ignition (that’s a good thing), which was not available in ’70. The trunk should be finished in Lemon Twist. Unfortunately, I don’t see a fender tag. Hopefully there’s a broadcast sheet and VIN tag. The rally dash indicates it’s a real 340 (H-Code), providing it is original to the car. Is the motor original? The seller does not say it is, so probably not. A good price, providing everything checks out. Clearly, an in-person inspection would be helpful. As noted, rust can be, and usually is, a real problem for MOPAR A-bodies.

    • Leslie Martin Member

      The dual scoops were not exclusive to the Twister package. They were available as a separate option on both Twisters and Duster 340’s. Agree 100% that a fender tag would sure be helpful to see to figure out what came on the car and what was bolted on later.

  14. DON

    An interested buyer would really, really want to go over this . Not saying this one is, but some sellers say a Duster is a true H code, which would be the 5th digit for a 340 , but they see the second digit as H which means “high line” , which would make a car likely a 318 – no vin shown makes me wonder about that. This one not only has the wrong stripes and air cleaner , the front fenders are from a 1972 and up ; you can see the newer marker lights , the 70s are flush , and a 70 would have the small Valiant logo on the fenders . The grille is a 71 or 72 as well , the 70 has a Plymouth logo in the center and holes to mount it. The trunk lid is a later 1971 and up too, the 70s do not have the center ridge line. The mirrors are wonky aftermarkets that look awful .

    Like 7
  15. john reed Member

    I had the 340 1970 duster with an automatic console and if my memory served me right his front seat interiors wrong the pattern is closed but not the same had to have been at least recovered

  16. DON

    It also looks to have had cheater panels installed . The quarter panels should not dip below the rear bumper and the should curve inward slightly. These are straight down. Why someone would paint the trunk another color than the yellow happens, but why only do a half ass job ?

    Like 3
  17. Graham

    A couple of other things that make me wonder. The seller says it has front disc brakes. Hmmmm. Don’t see a power brake booster and from what I recall to get disc brakes, you had to order POWER disc brakes. My 71 that I bought brand new had HD drum brakes all around. The other item is, where is the fender tag? Yes I know that maybe there might have been a front end accident somewhere along the life of the car and things do get changed and or left off, but there are things looking at the photos that make me question how original this car really is.

  18. George Louis

    Front fenders look like they came off a 1972 model duster/scamp. As stated earlier the bodyside stripes are not 1970 model year correct. Shifter lever, not a factory piece. Left front turn signal lens missing. Windshield washer bottle, hoses, and nozzles missing. Heater hoses missing going to the heater core (probably a leaker). Front bucket seats, not 1970 vintage. Outside rearview mirrors some kind of aftermarket pieces, not factory correct. The fuel supply line to the carburetor is not correct factory routing. Rear quarter panels hang down past rear bumper not as designed, sure did not leave Hamtramck Assembly Plant Body shop like this.

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