Slant Six Equipped: 1975 Plymouth Gold Duster

Do any of you have cars in your life that weren’t owned by you personally but you still remember fondly? The Plymouth Gold Duster is that car for me, as my mom owned one as her first new car. While not a gearhead, she still talks fondly about that Gold Duster and its rare “gator grain” roof, and it always makes me smile to see one come up for sale. Check out this survivor Gold Duster here on craigslist for $4,800, spotted by Barn Finds reader Pat L. 

Curiously, this car isn’t too far from my parents. If they weren’t such sensible people, I might be tempted to buy it is a Christmas present for them to relive some of their youth! And truth be told, given this Duster’s honest condition, it might not even be that much of a money pit if it’s as good as it looks in pictures. Plus, with this car’s sparse features, there isn’t much to break. Thankfully, it has power steering.

Continuing with the theme of reliability and simplicity, you’ll find Chrysler’s venerable Slant Six under the hood. I have a former work colleague who only buys old Mopars with this engine installed, citing its quiet operation and low N/V/H qualities, along with being cheap to operate and easy to work when it (rarely) needs work. No word on this Duster’s mileage or any recent maintenance, but it does look clean under the hood.

It looks pretty clean out back, too, and the car’s location in a snow state doesn’t appear to have contributed to any major rust issues. I couldn’t make it out in the top photo, but this Gold Duster appears to have the same roof trim as my mom’s car (it may have even been standard on the Gold Duster, for all I know). This looks like an easy-to-live-with project car with some “limited edition” qualities thrown in; if you do buy it, please keep it stock, as it’s too nice of a survivor to mess with.

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Comments

  1. charlie

    Love the under dash Pioneer cassette deck! Have not seen one of those in ages. Very cool.

    • John B

      I think it was called a Super Tuner. I saw a few of ’em back in the day. As for the car, I also had one from 1975, not a good year for older carryover models, but mine was good enough to pull my 16 foot speed boat. Just plain slow…but likeable anyway! Wish this one had a more inspiring color!

  2. Coventrycat

    Would it be safe to say everyone knew at least one person in their life with a Duster? They were everywhere! Wonder if there’s some Sparkomatic 6 x 9’s hooked up to that Pioneer.

    • Bingo

      Was it Graco or Kraco? Something like that, right?

      • DAN

        that cheap crap was KRACO.
        I was an installer in the 80s, they did not last long
        had a customer come back about every year to have new kraco stereo and speakers installed,lol

      • Jeffro

        Graco sells car seat, strollers, and childrens cribs. Unfortunately, I have yet to find volume control for small children.

      • Dave Wright

        Wasn’t Kraco a Kmart brand?

    • DAN

      why would he install cheap speakers after getting the good Pioneer?
      he wouldn’t! LOL
      likely installed some good Pioneer speakers:)

      • Neal

        Or a nice set of Jensen tri axiels!

  3. Andy

    My parent’s had a 75 my Dad bought new, I was born in 79 & Mom drove it until 86. My step grandpa told my Mom to kick my uncle, her stepbrother the Duster & we can have his 80 300SD Benz since he had picked up a new 300E. A couple years later my aunt & uncle weren’t using it & my cousin on the other side of the family refused to learn how to drive a stick so my mom suggested they trade an 82 Civic for the Duster. A few days later it was done. My cousin drove it for a couple years before she went to college back east. After sitting in their driveway in Malibu almost 3 years it had 2 flat tires. My uncle said he’d like to slide it over a few feet if it would start so my aunt could park. The battery was getting weak but it lit the 1st time.

  4. Mark S Member

    The only thing I’d change is the fuel system. Easily obtained throttle body injection, complete with all the input sensors and processor. Emissions are what put an end to the inline six cylinder engine, that and a move to front wheel drive. IMHO. It would have been nice to see the auto makers keep it around as a port injected option for small trucks and vans. The other option would have been to integrate it with the transmission the way the original mini engine/trans was done where the oil pan is not there and the transmission bolts up in its place and shares the same oil. It would make for a very compact package transversely mounted and with the slant six design hood heights could have been kept to a minimum. Nice car.

  5. Aaron

    I love it. My first classic car was a 1975 Plymouth Duster with the slant six. I bought it in 1999. Mine had AC, cloth interior, vinyl top, and the inside hood release! It had good torque off the line but nothing after that. Manual brakes with power steering. It had a HUGE trunk but so little space in the back seat that no one could sit there.

  6. Jay E.

    Really? $4800.00? I am mystified by the prices of garden variety cars or rusty relics anymore. There are so many late model, modern cars for 5 k I just can’t see the appeal here.

    • Ck

      Why are you here If your not into Old cars?Jay E.you are in the wrong place.Oh you want to talk garden variety, which modern car do you want to talk about ?How about that silver one on craigs list in any city USA.Ohh thats right they are all silver and they all look the same. Buy em all Jay you can have em.

  7. Rock On Member

    @Jay E- That’s just the thing. There are all kinds of 10 year old Civics or Corollas for $4,800.00. The owner of this car kept it on good condition for over 40 years. The further north that you go in the country, the more these are worth. They have almost all disappeared due to rust or just wore out. You very rarely see a Duster on the road where I live. This car is priced fairly for what it is.

  8. Woodie Man

    As I was moved to say about its Dodge doppelganger, it escapes me the attraction these utilitarian people movers have for folks, Perhaps just the fact its now believe it or not 40 years old…which says a lot about my age :)

    They were hohum maiden lady mobiles in their day. But I guess every old car saved is one more for folks to play with…so what the hey!

  9. Ed P

    Lee Iaccoca said Chrysler should have never stopped producing these cars. They were tough and durable. The replacement (Volare/Aspen) were more civilized but they left out the “tough and durable”.

    • Rich S Member

      Lee Iacocca took over in 78, after the Duster, and Dart was gone, And
      can’t be blamed for Aspen and Volare which was already on its 3rd year.

      • Ed P

        Absolutely. Previous management brought the Aspen/Volare to market with no thought toward quality

  10. Dutch 1960

    The attraction is “they don’t build them like that any more”. In some respects, that is a good thing. But, assuming a car like this has some reliability in it, it will get you there, just like the expensive new ones. At the end of the day, that’s what it is all about, getting you from here to there and back again.

    Driving a friend’s similar car, years ago, my impressions were that it just goes, no drama, and that things like handling, brakes, and road feel really don’t exist. The inside is cavernous, yet, at the same time, kind of cramped, as the seats are low, the sills are high, and somehow, the people space is just all the wrong shape. Overall, the driving experience is one of “hey, I got here, no comment on the trip itself”.

    I can see how Honda and Toyota could sell against cars like these, the driver experience was so much more comfortable and inspiring. But these cars are like cockroaches, they will still be around forever, while the 70s Toyotas and Hondas are already almost gone.

    • Ralph Terhune

      IMHO, the more Toyotas and Hondas disappear, the better. Give me good ol’ American Iron anytime!

      • Ed P

        The Japanese brands suffered from rust due to their ocean voyage to get here. If not rust proofed very early, they will disappear on their own.

      • Dave Wright

        Oriental cars use thin recycled steel in everything. It has nothing to do with ocean travel.

  11. Gagagarage

    Yes, the Gold Duster came with the gator grain vinyl roof, as it was part of thd package. Still remember my dad entering a contest to win one for my mom. Always knew someone with a Duster all the way through the 80s.

  12. Dave

    I have to wonder. Back in ’75 as high school juniors my best friend’s older sister bought this exact car new. Exactly the same. She babied it for years, through college and after she married. We lived about an hour south of the current owner/seller. I’m in Georgia now, too far away to get too interested, and my friend passed at an early age due to cancer. But if Vince were still here, he would be all over this, not only for the nostalgia; he’d have a 340 4 speed in it or perhaps something even more exciting. I still have to wonder…

  13. Rich S Member

    In 76 my mom purchase a used 75 Duster that the family loved, but
    it stall once in a while which was dangerous. My sisters boyfriend at the
    Time who was mechanic couldn’t duplicate the stalling, so mom decided to
    take to dealer and ended with a brand new Nova instead. Still to this day my
    mom would talk about the Duster, thinking it might of been bad gas. She really liked the car.

    • Ed P

      At the time, mechanics were fearful of EPA regulators putting them in jail or fines for working on carbs. Many did everything but fix the problem areas.

  14. Rustytech Member

    I always felt that Plymouth did a much better job of incorporating the 5mph bumpers on these than Dodge did with the Dart. It is a much more attractive car. This looks to be in great shape. I’d delete the vinyl top, ( never did like the alligator hide look ) drop in a 340 a have a ball. I’d keep the 6 around though.

  15. Mike Reese

    Now that IS a coincidence … my mother owned one too. I think it would still be running if someone hadn’t totaled it one icy Chicago morning … Not the most fun to drive (my Datsun 510 was much more enjoyable), but the Duster outlasted it by about three years. Still, reliable transportation.

  16. John B

    Having owned seven Dusters, I always like to see pictures of that simple dashboard and imagine closing my eyes in the driver’s seat and still being able to operate each knob, switch and lever all over again. Over a million units produced 1970-76…not too shabby!

  17. Greg Stegall

    My High School friend’s mother had a 1975 Duster Twister with a 318 4 Bbl and a 3 speed manual. We took that car on many trips to the California coast. Great car, but the way we drove it, it got horrible gas mileage. she never knew why her mileage was so poor.

  18. Dave W

    I learned to drive in a blue ’74 Duster with the white vinyl top. It had the 318 V8.

  19. John B

    Anyone remember the Audiovox FM converter that mounted under the dash?

    • Tony C.

      I’ve got one under the dash of my 62 Imperial and it still works fine.

      • John B

        I know that I bought a couple of them over those early years…maybe 15 bucks new? Back then I enjoyed the noise coming from the exhaust of my 340s and 440s more than blaring music!

  20. rando

    Hmmmm, the $700 turbo kit that HotRod Magazine installed recently? Yes there were lots of issues, but why not turbo the old slant six and see what it’d do? lol I’m not sure there is much collector value in an old Gold duster in beige no less. BUT, it would still make a neat old car to hot rod a little without killing it’s value. Could be a lot of fun. Or could be driven as is and a lot of fun as well. I lean toward some backyard hot rodding – no major rebuild into something exotic. Just something interesting that brings up a lot of comments like this one has here. Some people will like it, some won’t.

  21. DVS

    My dad had a 74 Duster with the slant six and three on the floor. I learned how to drive stick in that car. Rotted out bad before the eighties came around.

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