Rebadged Swinger: 1972 Plymouth Scamp

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Chrysler had some pretty cheeky marketing folks back in the 1970s, with their early ’70s line of Dodge trucks and vans and the Dodge Swinger. This 1972 Plymouth Scamp is, for the most part, a rebadged Dodge Swinger and it looks like a very nice car. It can be found here on eBay in historic Morgantown, Pennsylvania. Let’s check it out.

Green was everywhere in the 1970s right down to avocado green appliances. It’s more than fitting on the third-generation Plymouth Valiant. The Scamp was added for the 1971 model year and in 1972 there were over 330,000 Plymouth Valiants sold, their best year ever. The seller says that “Plymouth only made 49,470 Scamp’s in 1972”. This would be the last year for the wing windows in the Scamp, does anyone else miss those? I sure do.

That curved-concave rear window is a work of art. This car looks absolutely fantastic to me, but there’s at least a partial reason why: it has had new quarter panels put on. The seller, a classic car dealership, says that “the paint is mostly original with some paintwork on the replaced rear quarters and trunk drop downs.” It looks like a great job in replacing the quarters, I never really would have noticed if they wouldn’t have mentioned it in the ad and I bet most of you wouldn’t have. But, of course, now we’re all looking for it and looking harder than usual to find a flaw. Original or not, this is one great looking car and those wheel covers and thin white walls are perfect on this model.

The interior is a thing of beauty, at least originality-wise and condition-wise. The rear seat looks like new as do the front seats and everything else other than the carpet.

This beauty is the famous 225 slant-six which would have had 110 hp. I believe 1970 is when Mopar went to a blue 225 slant-six rather than a red/orange one. I’m so used to seeing orange slant-sixes that I can’t get used to the blue ones, but this one looks great. Maybe freshly touched-up but it looks clean and the seller has provided a ton of great photos of this car. Have any of you owned a Plymouth Scamp or Dodge Swinger?

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Comments

  1. leiniedude leiniedudeMember

    Ha! Had one, same color and top, mid 70’s. Taking the girl friend camping and canoeing for a week, so I detailed the car and put Armor All on the vinyl roof. All was going good untill I back out of the driveway and the canoe slid halfway off the car! Pretty funny now. That was my 1st lesson in rigging. I am very good at it now and laugh at some of the ways people secure items on there roofs and trunks. Always giving them plenty of space. Thanks for the memory Scotty!

    Like 16
    • Scotty GilbertsonAuthor

      Ha, sometimes it takes a near disaster to figure out something, Mike. I cringe at the things I see teetering on car roofs and in the beds of pickups as I drive 40,000 miles a year around the US. Scary as H, I get around those clowns asap. From what I’ve read, there are around 200,000 accidents and 500+ deaths a year from junk falling off of vehicles.

      Like 9
      • PRA4SNW

        These are probably the same people who don’t clean the snow off their cars and then get on the interstate and almost kill people.

        I saw plenty of them yesterday and today.

        Like 7
    • DRV

      Only thing better would be the turtle top! It seems 90% of these were in these colors and trim.
      For a driver the slant is a huge bonus.

      Like 10
  2. Ken

    When Dodge saw how successful the Plymouth Duster was, they wanted a version of their own. Plymouth agreed to allow Dodge to use the Duster body in exchange for the Dart Swinger body. Thus, the Dodge Demon and the Plymouth Scamp were born.

    Like 18
    • Tom Henderson

      Chrysler Plymouth Dodge was one company at this time. They traded car bodies across all 3 platforms. Plymouth Valiant, Chrysler Valiant, Dodge Phoenix, and Dodge Dart, were the same car with Scamp, Sport, Swinger, Demon and Duster being sub models. My Dad owned 3 of these and I had 2 myself. All with the 225 slant 6.

      Like 10
      • Ken

        Same corporation, different divisions. I’ve read two different accounts about the Duster/Swinger body trade. Dodge wanted its own Duster; Plymouth didn’t want Dodge to have it, but grudgingly agreed as long as they could have their own Swinger.

        I’ve owned two Demons. My first car was a ’71 Demon 340.

        Like 8
    • Angrymike

      Ha, wing windows in a Chrysler, I have owned 2 Road Runners and my father bought one new in 69 and I don’t ever remember them not whistling on the freeway. I liked the air, but that whistle drove me nuts !

      Like 9
      • Dwayne

        My 86 Toyota pickup had wing windows, which worked great for hot days but way more than once I’ve had very angry bee’s in my lap.

        Like 6
  3. TimS

    I want it for the same reasons I wanted the dark green Dart from a while ago. Beautiful shades of my favorite color, and a model that few people saved.

    Like 10
  4. local_sheriff

    Although I think 67-69 Darts have the best-looking asses to this body,I’m completely amazed at how overall NICE this car presents! All trim even the wheel covers seem unmolested. It seems so cared for; this must be some deceased grey-head’s car…? Absolutely love the ‘dull’ color combo on this, only thing I’d miss about the entire car would be a manual tranny.

    And YES Scotty; miss those vent windows too! Works great to keep blow away from your face when all four windows are down – and provides a poor man’s AC when flipped open on a really hot day

    Like 5
  5. Bob C.

    These were definitely the good years for Valiants and Darts. Never really cared for the 1974 onward models. The Scamp name always sounded kind of girly to me.

    Like 4
  6. skorzeny

    I’d convert to a 340 and a 4 or 5 speed. And some Torque Thrust wheels… No white walls…

    Like 6
  7. PDXBryan

    ’73 Scamp was the first car I got to drive cross country with my folks. Harvest Gold with a tan vanilla top, slant 6. I liked our previous Skylark with Rocket 350 but the Scamp ended up being a real trooper.

    Like 4
  8. Kenneth Carney

    Great story mike! Tickles my funny bone
    just thinking about it! Reminds me of the
    time the Mrs. and I hauled an 8-foot sofa
    on the roof of our ’94 Taurus wagon. She
    drove very slowly while I hung onto the
    sofa with my ass hanging halfway out of
    the car! My kid brother had a car like this
    one. He listened to his friends and wound up ruining it. He stripped of the
    vinyl roof, jacked up the rear, and painted
    it baby crap yellow with cans of spray paint. The car was in great shape before
    he did all that. It ran a 318 V-8 with a 727
    Torqueflite tranny for power. Think it was
    the same color green too. What a waste!
    He should’ve just left it alone and put some mags on it and left it at that. This
    would make a nice car for my neice–
    safe and dependable but a hard sell as
    she’s young and likes Mustangs instead.
    Me, I’d go down the road with a big smile
    on my face with this one. Nice first car
    for someone though.

    Like 3
  9. Gay Car Nut Tacoma

    Lovely looking car. I’ve always loved the 1970-72 Plymouth Valiant. I had a teacher when I was a boy who had one.

    Like 2
  10. Neal

    Great Dart. I mean Scamp!

    I’ve shared some of these comments before, but it is always fun to share anew.

    Grew up with a ’73 Swinger in Philly. It was my parents’ first new car, bought with pride when I was turning three and my brother was on the way or just arrived. Red with white interior and white vinyl top. I helped my dad swap snow tires with the bumper ratchet jack. Learned to wrench doing brakes, starter, oil changes, who knows what else. Pulled our pop up trailer until we got a new Scout in ’78. My mom was so proud to keep that car shiny and clean; unfortunately she used Comet cleanser on the vinyl top which helped lead it to its demise. Dad used it as his commuter until they traded it in for a red Sentra hatchback with a five speed in ’83. Seemed like it was an OLD car by then. (By contrast, my ten year old Odyssey doesn’t seem nearly so old now. Maybe that’s just because I AM!).
    It was a reliable runner but later developed the damp-weather blues, meaning that I remember it stalling out sometimes when wet and Dad needing to shift into Neutral to give extra gas at stoplights. Maybe it just needed a good tuneup, but otherwise I remember it running strong. And then there must have been a windshield seal or heater hose leak which left puddles on the passenger side floor. I remember cold, frozen ponds up there in its final winter. I can still remember the smell of the trunk area with the cargo mat and spare, which wasn’t damp or funky; it just had that old car smell you don’t find anymore except at old car shows.
    I still have a soft spot for them, although I think I prefer the older models if I were to get one someday.

    Another Dart story: my parents had an older (’65?) Dart before the red one. Mom learned how to take off the air cleaner to air-out and fix a flooded carb. She could speed it up by using an old cloth diaper to soak up gas in the chamber. She got a kick out of helping another stranded motorist fix theirs with a similar problem in the Sears parking lot with her “Magic Diaper!”

    This green one is beautiful! And I love the stock look. I spent a lot of time in my youth around Morgantown, Penna, by the way.

    If the picture loads, this is a photo of me and my younger brother shoveling out in the blizzard of ’78 or possibly just an earlier winter storm in front of our row house.

    Like 1
    • Bob C.

      Neal, I used to work in auto glass from 1987 to 2014. These were notorious for windshield leaks. Rubber gasket sets and the bottom only sat in a bed of urethane, no wrap around pinch weld. The urethane of the era was prone to failing in time.

      Like 0
  11. HoA Howard AMember

    No Al Bundy jokes? I know, his was a Duster, ( claimed to be a Dart) but close enough,,,

    Like 1
  12. BigDoc

    I owned a 1975 Swinger darn good little car.

    Like 0
  13. Stevie G

    I had a 1973 Swinger, loved that car. Red with a black top, buckets with the buddy seat, rally wheels and the slant 6 with automatic. I just couldn’t kill that ol’ girl! I wish I had it now.
    As for the topic of hauling stupid stuff in an even more stupid way, I hauled a casket from Milwaukee to Kenosha in an Escort wagon. Should I say partly in the wagon. Took the freeway all the way there with the casket hanging out the back, people staring at me the entire time. No, the casket was not “occupied”. I borrowed it from a fellow hearse club member to use for a neighborhood Halloween event & I didn’t have the gas money to return the casket with my hearse. At least I didn’t lose it along the way lol.

    Like 1
  14. WH

    My first car was a 72 Plymouth Scamp. It was gold with the tan interior and black vinyl top. Had a 318 automatic and the same full wheel covers. I souped up the 318 put on dual exhaust and an 8 3/4 rear end from a 340 Swinger. Sadly a few fender benders and then typical rust problems from a life in New England sent it to the junkyard.

    Like 0

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