Starter Muscle: 1973 Dodge Dart Swinger

If it weren’t for the Rallye wheels, this ’73 Dart is would be the textbook definition of a plain jane sleeper. But despite being at home at any Wal-Mart parking lot, this little A-body packs a few surprises. Located in Newton, Iowa and listed here on eBay with a current bid of $2,925 and no reserve, there’s more here than meets the eye.

First off, kudos to the seller for taking some really nice photos. Unlike the usual “squint-and zoom” approach so often necessary to decipher many online ads, these are all well-lit, large, and well composed. At first glance, the car looks like an Al Bundy trade-in; a Parchment and white exterior with a dollop of rust coloration around the edges. But a few tells are visible during a walk-around, including dual exhausts and B/E style flip-top gas cap.

Under the hood, things get more interesting — replacing the original slant 6/Torqueflite combo now sits a 360 cubic inch small-block backed by a 4-speed gearbox.  The seller states that despite a mild configuration, it still packs a punch.  Other accessories such as power steering, exterior, and interior lighting, turn signals, heater/defrost, radio, horn, gauges, speedometer, and wipers & washers are all said to be in good order.

Inside continues the sleeper tradition, with the exception of the shift lever and aftermarket tach.  Also notable here are the factory a/c vents and controls – the seller mentions that all in-car components are still there, but the underhood equipment (compressor, condenser, drier, lines, etc.) will all need to be located and installed before the frosty air will return.

One nice thing (and not often seen on cars like this) is the full documentation that has been kept with the vehicle during its 45-year life.  Not that this is a high-dollar matching numbers car by any stretch, but original papers are usually a good indication the car was well-cared for during its lifetime. The sales agreement notes the original purchaser of this car traded a ’67 Mustang to buy this one new off of a Pasadena dealer’s lot on March 5, 1973.

The seller candidly states they bought the car for their son as a “gateway drug” to see if he really wanted a muscle car, but as he is now in the Navy he won’t be ready for a muscle car for a while. And they recommend it for the same purpose; as a “first” muscle car, at a very modest investment. That makes a lot of sense here, give the car’s lightweight, unassuming exterior and healthy motor.  Sure it has some rust and dings, but what road warrior didn’t back in the day. And with a low current bid and no reserve, it follows the sleeper tradition of speaking softly but carrying a big stick.

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Comments

  1. Classic Steel

    Hmm well taken care of ? Wouldn’t that mean waxed and washed with lil to zero rust?

    This statement confuses me…

    It’s like saying all original with an aftermarket engine , wheels and interior 😜 we know this is not and only a reference to taken care of..

    I like it and the engine and tranny.

    I invision it with new interior and black paint over new quarters….loosing the vinyl roof or at least black vinyl top…

    6
    • RonY

      They took good enough care of it to get it from 1973 to 2018…………

      14
  2. Redragula

    This would look great in black or B5 blue. Since that would require an interior change I would go with buckets and console, and to top it off I’d swap out the granny front end for a 71-72 look

    2
  3. Steve R

    Drive it as it is, beat the snot out of it as you look for a nicer A-body for a driveline swap. There really is no reason to spend money fixing this cars body, it’s disposable, and currently is relatively cheap.

    Being a California car at this point is irrelevant, based on the cars current condition.

    Steve R

    13
  4. Kman

    It would look good in green whith a black stripe. Put the a/c in it.

    4
  5. Jeff

    I really like this car, but honestly I would have liked it even with the slant six. The state of the fenders necessitates body work and a respray, which I’d do in F8 dark green. I may even add a white bumblebee stripe on the rear. If the white top is in good shape, I’d keep it, and I like the look of the Rallye wheels but would instead put on a set of 17″ reproductions from Year One. I’d top it off with white letter tires to accent the white top and stripe.

    4
  6. Miguel

    The first thing the buyer had better do is stop the rust from spreading.

    It is interesting this car started out as a slant 6 automatic and is now a V8 floor shift stick.

    I wonder if the rear end has been messed with.

    2
    • Jeff

      I don’t see an optional diff on the paperwork, so one may assume it has the standard 2.76 rear that came with the slant six automatic. A 318/3-spd would have had a 3.21. Neither will set the road on fire.

      2

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