Wouldn’t Take Much: 1974 Dodge Dart After 27 Years

It’s not often lately that I see finds that are close to me, but I’ve watched this one and there appear to be no locals interested. This original paint car can be your driver for only $2,900 (a drop of $1,000) or best offer. It’s for sale here on craigslist in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

The 74 Dart was the result of the Demon being renamed in 1973, and featured few changes from the year before, the most noticeable of which was the massive bumpers now required to meet Federal regulations. This one looks so straight I’m sure it hasn’t been in any accidents. The seller tells us it hadn’t been touched in 27 years before being started recently.

Honestly, I can’t tell whether the crud back here is rust, mildew or what. I wondered about the trailer ball as well, especially when I thought this car would have a slant six under the hood.

Ok, this may take a while to clean! Apart from the total discoloration at the headrest, I actually think the seat upholstery looks pretty nice. Perhaps it could be cleaned or re-dyed, but at the worst I could live with the discoloration. And how many 1974 Darts are you going to find with the original upholstery in pretty good shape?

Well look here! Air conditioning vents! And the original radio, too. I’ll bet once this car is cleaned up, you’ll have a pretty decent survivor on your hands. The seller tells us there are 70,000 miles showing, and I think that’s probably reasonable.

Here was my big surprise! Although it’s not a 340 or 360 like the hottest Darts got, the 318 in this car should provide plenty of go for most folks. Hearing that the car runs like a sewing machine and that the transmission seems to work just makes me more enthusiastic. I think this one should be rescued–what do you think?



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  1. Howard A Member

    Only 2 words this, time,,,Al Bundy.

  2. Mitch

    I owned a ’73 Duster (same color) for my 1st car. Before I would fork over a dime, I would want to see how the underneath & unibody looks. If it’s sat for 27 years in improper storage, there’s going to be a disaster in that department. Price needs to be dropped another $1000 as isn’t rare or special.

    • Billy

      Torsion bar rests rust badly. My Dad had a Swinger that we used to call Eileen (I-Lean) because it had rusted and that front end was closer to the ground. Funny, damn tough car, still ran okay that way. Of course, the slant six under the hood (or the 318 for that matter) would have run forever if the body hadn’t disintegrated some more. Chrysler had some bad rust problems in those days.

      • Doug Towsley

        You are correct on the rust, the motors and the rest were very durable, When I got out of the military I would buy these, fix them up a bit and flip them as if you kept the prices right you could do well, For low dollar transportation they were good cars. The leaning tower of power slant 6s were not uncommon to see 300,000-400,000 miles but the auto trans were weak, often reverse went first. You would go thru several trannies to one motor.

      • Dave Wright

        the torsion rests are easy to fix.

      • Billy

        @Doug The slant sixes were, perhaps the best American engine ever made, at least the sixes. Dad had a 76 Volare that ran well after the 12 month warranty expired and a 1972 carb was put on it. We all drove that car over the years, ended up junking it in the late 80s with 247K on it, never once had the engine apart, still ran great. Only reason it was scrapped was because rust had made the body unsafe. Still have a 225 in my 83 Mirada, not fast, but dependable. (of course, need to yank that lean burn someday and put on a super six set up, oh well)

  3. rando

    Please don’t drop the price. I could almost afford it then and it’s in NC where I could actually go see and maybe buy it. So keep the price higher. I want to have to explain it to my wife, even though she supports me having an old car to play with. I like having excuses to not have a project car…lol. I had a 71 Dart Swinger and know these cars well enough to get deep into trouble with. I’m going to tell myself it is way too rusty to consider….Plus that gold and those big bumpers aren’t doing it any favors.

  4. terry

    I’m guessing that the first time my butt hit that seat seams would be torn asunder. And if that’s rust on the dash I’d hate to see the electricals underneath.

  5. Dean

    Piece of s%$# when new, old and worse piece of s%$# now.

    • Woodie Man

      Dean’s correct. These were classic maiden lady’s cars. Speaking of which a sister( a maiden lady at the ripe old age of 24) of an old girl friend had the Duster version in ’77……and even then it was as characterized by Dean.

      The humidity in NC is brutal and is attacking everything metal on the car. On the plus side if you want a slushbox Eileen, you’re young and want to get into a now old car, go for it.

  6. Bob S

    Why would you buy a car with extensive needs like this one for X amount , when a mint daily driver would probably be $1500 more. Rusty dash, no thanks.

  7. Blindmarc

    I’ve built several of these from slant 6, into 360 monsters.,..,,

  8. Dave Or Russ

    It is still for sale due to its a max. $1500 car

  9. Doug Towsley

    Dirty Dusters Done Dirt cheap! Not my style, but these can be decent hot rods, Back in the 1980s I was crew chief on a small scale circle track team (Military guys racing off duty, we kicked butt). While we didnt run a mopar,, On the short tracks the top dogs were cars like this. The suspension is ideal for circle track with the torsion bars. I have some old period chrysler manuals on building race cars and the chrysler/Mopar heavily supported racers. Good tech material.
    But I think this car is a cream puff and nice project material for somebody. Im mostly a Chevy guy,, so give me the same year Nova.

  10. David Miraglia

    Better a Dart than a ASS PAIN….I stand corrected. Aspen…

    Like 1
  11. Ed P


  12. Frank

    Got one very similar to this, same stripe too! Building a 408 stroker to replace the puny 1974 smog edition 318 rated at a massive 175 horse……… At least it should be able to move out of its own shadow now lol

  13. Joe

    Finders Gold. Fantastic street racer in their day—for those in the know. Equal or better than the Novas. 318 is bulletproof, can be built, smog stuff tossed, 4-barrel Holley with Edelbock manifold and dual exhaust added. Never need an overpriced factory 340–just Dodge BS marketing hype. Stay light and fast. If solid, good buy at $2k+.

    • flmikey

      …really? Although the 318 was a great engine, the 340 was developed for high performance…dual timing chains, bigger valves, better flowing heads, high performance intake…a much stronger engine right out of the factory…I would take a stock 340 over a built 318 any day of the week….

  14. Steve

    Back in 1983 I needed a cheap car so I bought a generic white ’74 Dart with a blue interior and zero options for $1,000. Today it would be a real head-turner – they’d be asking why.

  15. Nova Scotian

    This could be a fun project for someone. Entry price can be a bit lower…save for buying a paint/body job, and a set of the widest crager mags to fit under its butt once you add a couple springs to jack her up. It’ll turn heads instantly. The trans might require a rebuild after the clutch pack sits in old trans fluid for so long. Great beater toy, for show and play!

  16. Allan

    My first V8 car was a ’75 or ’76 Dart Sport with the 360ci. The two cars I had prior, were Ford straight 6 motors. Needless to say, I was pretty hard on that Dart. Even though it had an open rear diff, I spun one tire every chance I had. The dual exhaust with cherry bombs exiting just before the rear tires, just added to the fun factor.

  17. RJ

    Whoooooooa Bundy!

  18. John Jefferson

    Here is my Dart Sport 360…. 100% original and under 30,000 miles. This beauty is MINT!

  19. John Jefferson

    Outside shot too….

    • Doug Towsley

      That IS mint! & a time capsule too. Is there a 8 track in it?? Some Linda Ronstadt, Doobie Brothers and Ted Nugent in the glove box? I am not sure to commend you or condemn you. I for one would not have been able to resist hot rodding it. They respond so well and easy. Edelbrock or Weind Intake. Holley or AFB, headers, Cragars and dont forget the 6×9 Pioneer speakers in boxs in the back window.
      Bonus points for a genuine 1970s “A## Gas or Grass Nobody rides for free!” bumper sticker.

      • J Jefferson

        Factory 8-track. Same as my Levi’s Edition Gremlin. I’ve got a thing for low mileage factory original cars.

        The gold one here looks pretty rough for all that money. My Dart can’t be worth more than 3 times this price and you’d have trouble spending only $10k to get it pristine. As Tom Cotter says…. keep looking, there are plenty of good cars out there!!!

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