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Small-Block Survivor: 1973 Plymouth Gold Duster

Wanting to give their customers a sporty compact car, the folks at Plymouth came up with the Duster, a 2-door fastback based on the Valiant. While it used the latter’s front clip, the car had all-new sheet metal from the windshield back. The car turned in some impressive sales figures from 1970-76 when the Valiant/Duster line was replaced by the new Volare. The seller’s 1973 car is a Gold Duster edition, one of several appearance packages available over the years. Located in Salinas, California, this Plymouth is available here on craigslist for $10,500. Thanks, Pat L., for turning up another interesting lead for us!

As we understand it, once the first 100,000 Dusters and been built and sold, Plymouth wanted to celebrate the car’s popularity to capitalize on the momentum. Enter the Gold Duster option, the first of a series of trim packages designed to keep the Duster fresh. These also included the Feather Duster, Silver Duster, Space Duster, Duster Twister, Duster 340, and (later) Duster 360. These variations of the basic compact were aimed at keeping customers coming over to the Duster when it came to delivering economy, cargo capacity, and/or performance.

The Gold Duster option gave buyers Duster 340-style side and rear stripes in gold, bright drip moldings, an argent grille, the choice of either a 225- or 318-cubic inch engine, whitewall tires, and deluxe wheel covers borrowed from the mid-size Satellite. Separate production numbers for the Gold Duster were not kept, but they contributed to 264,974 Dusters being built for 1973 alone. The seller’s ’73 Gold Duster looks quite nice although there are a lot of shadows in the photos. Those shadows may make the car look better than it is. The trunk lid, for example, has some perfections in the paint.

This car’s motor is described by the seller as an “HP” 318 V8, with the HP likely an abbreviation for High Performance. There wasn’t such an engine, but the venerable 318 was reconfigured in 1967 by using the then-new LA-type heads and engine block. The changes did not equate to increases in horsepower or torque, which stayed at 230 for the former and 340 lb.-ft. for the latter. In any event, the seller says this engine is original to the car which we’re told has 32,733 (or 132,733) miles. The motor is flanked by a TorqueFlite automatic transmission.

If you wanted the sporty look of the Duster 340 but didn’t have interest in the extra performance it brought, the Gold Duster could have been a great Plan B for the buyer. Hagerty says that one of these cars in “Good” condition should fetch $9,800, while Excellent is closer to $12,400. The seller has priced his/her car in between those figures and added Cragar aftermarket wheels and raised white letter tires to sweeten the deal.


  1. Fahrvergnugen Fahrvergnugen Member

    Does the chrome band across the top indicate missing half-roof canopy vinyl?

    Like 6
    • DON

      Yes it does. The Gold Duster package was the only way you could get a “snakeskin” textured vinyl top.

      Like 4
  2. bone

    The Gold Duster did not have 340 Duster styled stripes’ -they were thinner and straight back, not raised in the rear like the 340s ; some Gold Dusters had no stripe. The Gold Duster grilles were the same as all Valiant/Dusters for their model year ; the full hubcaps were the same for the whole Plymouth A body line and were not specific to the Gold Duster.

    Like 5
  3. Raymond

    No, first, seats and likely carpet are trash, the repaint is ok but that roof trim is off enough to be raised cuz I see a shadow, the back seat dosent line up w the package tray, the engine is filthy, I wouldn’t pay 10 for this, 1500 maybe…so, no…

    Like 2
    • karl

      Also the drivers door has a dent in it , both quarters have rot in them and the right fender looks to have had some work done to it.
      Its a high line Duster ,with the Gold Duster package, 318, power disc brakes .a/c , light package , bumper guards , wheel arch and rocker mlgs, but its not a “muscle car” like the seller thinks it is , and its rough- worth no where near what he is asking

      Like 3
  4. Mutt

    I wonder if wifey would like a “Feather Duster” ?
    You know, for our anniversary…

    Like 23
    • karl

      Well I dont know you wife, but I’m not sure she’d be crazy about it! LOL . The Feather Duster was an absolute stripper model , with aluminum hood, trunk lid, bumper brackets and intake manifold to make it as light as possible for higher gas mileage . They also had manual transmissions and only a one barrel 225 slant six was offered .

      Like 2
      • JoeNYWF64

        Should have had that in earlier models with a big motor!
        & avail in all other models.
        Less weight & big motor is better.

        Like 3
  5. karl

    Well I dont know you wife, but I’m not sure she’d be crazy about it! LOL . The Feather Duster was an absolute stripper model , with aluminum hood, trunk lid, bumper brackets and intake manifold to make it as light as possible for higher gas mileage . They also had manual transmissions and only a one barrel 225 slant six was offered .

    Like 0
  6. Poncho

    C’mon, 10K? I knew prices were getting crazy but now this is insane. Not a muscle car in my book. These were heavy cars. I kinda associated it with a girls car as my brother’s wife had a duster back in the day. Never had any appeal to me…but today for $10k? No way.

    Like 4
    • bone

      I think you’re the first person that ever called an A body ‘heavy” lol A 318 Duster isnt a muscle car ; but the Duster 340 sure was . But yeah, 10 grand for this ride is crazy

      Like 5
      • Valentine

        As A-bodies go, this one’s a porker. Fed bumper assemblies, AC, PS/PB, etc. mean it’s pretty close to 3,400lb if not over. That’s pretty svelte for the era, but pretty chunky compared to its elder siblings.

        Like 1
  7. David

    I owned a 1974 Gold Duster with the 318 V8 and automatic transmission. That car looked good and could move quickly, but it was a shake-rattle-and roll machine that got 14 mpg. There were so many annoying flaws that I got rid of it in exchange for a 1976 Pontiac Ventura with a 260 V8 and automatic transmission. That car was much more refined, but the reliability was like jumping from the Plymouth frying pan into the Pontiac fire. Those were the days!

    Like 0
  8. Dave

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but the 273 was the original iteration of the LA series motor. They even had a hot 4 barrel solid lifter version that was optional in 1965-1967 Barracudas as a “Commando V8”. The polyhead 318 was last available in 1966, and the 318 LA replaced the 273 in cars and trucks except the B-fish. Of course, 1968 would bring the hot 340 to A bodies while B and C bodies got the 318 with the 383 being the next step up. You never saw the 340 in Satellites or Furies and you never saw the 383 2 barrel in A bodies. It wouldn’t be until 1971 that the 360 was offered in B and C bodies.

    Like 1
  9. Kevin

    Agreed, it’s way overpriced, with the dicey pictures,and calling it excellent condition etc.no thanks,if seller was more honest, and knew what he was talking about, it might be worth a look,but at like 3 -4k tops if solid underneath.

    Like 2
  10. George Louis

    The bodyside stripes on this ride are correct for the Gold Duster Package option. The owner added the body side molding but is not correct for the vehicle specification. The wheels are not a factory issue or option. The air cleaner assembly is installed wrong. The air intake should be pointing at the battery, not 180 degrees opposite. A banged-up driver’s door detracts from the vehicle. 318 V8 is no slouch if you have not driven one in these “A” bodies.

    Like 0

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