Swiss Cheese Swinger: 1969 Dodge Dart

You’ll have to bone up on your welding skills with this one, it’s one holy-roller. This 1969 Dodge Dart Swinger is quite a sight, rust-wise, but if a person were looking for their first project and wanted to learn how to weld on a relatively inexpensive and very cool car, this could be a contender. This Swinger is listed on Hemmings with an asking price of $995 or offer and it’s located in Dodge City, Kansas. I’m assuming that this is the only swinger, I mean, Swinger, in Kansas.

The two-door hardtop Swinger body style was new for 1969 and this car is very desirable being an early fourth-generation car. Most Dart fans prefer the smaller-bumper Darts like this one. In 1970, Dodge revamped the design a bit, front and rear, so this ’69 is a great one to grab. But, as you can see, the body work alone will take the skills of pretty much all of the Fantastic Four. Wait, not that Fantastic Four, this Fantastic Four. Or, maybe you’re a superhero at bodywork; it’ll be needed on this one.

You may want to befriend one of the parts suppliers that sell body panels, unless you’re also good at bending and fabricating sheet metal in addition to your skills at welding. There is a lot of rust here and I mean a lot. You’ll see more once we get into the engine compartment. Whether it’s worth it to order thousands of dollars worth of replacement metal or just make your own pieces to fit depends on the next owner’s budget and skill level, of course. This car had to be sitting out in a field somewhere. Kansas vehicles are usually fairly rust-free, aren’t they?

Unfortunately, the interior may be in even worse shape than the body is in, if that’s possible. Almost everything will need work on the inside. What the heck, let’s just say that “interior needs replaced”. A lot of these parts and pieces are available from the aftermarket, thankfully. The upholstery, front and rear, is almost as far gone as it can be, cooked from the hot, dry Kansas climate, and the dash almost couldn’t be more cracked than it is.

I know, I’m thinking the same thing. If this were a V8 car it may be worth the money to restore it. The amount of money that’ll have to be spent on the restoration of this car means that the next owner will undoubtedly drop an SBC.. ha, I mean, drop a 318 or a 340 V8 in there, or some sort of Chrysler (hopefully!) V8. You can see lots of rust in those front fenders, even on the top, which has transferred to the inner fenders, which happen to be the engine bay, which means that lots of work and money will be spent just making this car safe to drive, regardless of what engine it has. Is this car worth saving? I can’t believe I just said that!

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. Rustytech Member

    I love this generation Darts, but this is a basket case, Even at $995, by the time you get the body work done your going to be upside down. If it were a Mr. Norm, or something like that then maybe, but a base 6 banger car? This is scrap metal.

    • Leon

      Slant 6s run forever. If it’s good. $500. Put it in another car or a boat

  2. Ralph Terhune

    This body style actually came out in 1967, not ’69. 1969 was the final year of this design. The next revision came out in 1970 and ran through 1976.

    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Hi, Ralph. The “two-door hardtop Swinger body style” was new for 1969.

    • Belva Parsons

      You are correct on that! I had a 1967 which looked identical to this one!

      • Old Car Guy

        I had a ’67 also. These even though a compact are actually larger than todays Cadillacs.

  3. Rabbit

    The body doesn’t scare me so much as the torsion mounts & rear shackles likely would. I’d bet they’re ready to let go.

  4. Leon

    It’s in Kansas. Looks like it’s almost to The Point of No Return. Soon to be Dust in The Wind

    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Leon is the internet winner for July 10, 2017!

  5. Rich Tague

    No Thanks !!! need Quite a bit of Mula Just to get it decent to Drive !!! Wont get your your $$$$ back on this !!!

  6. Neal

    I wrote this just this evening for another Dart listing that I found accidentally but didn’t realize was from way back in 2014, so I might as well share it here for other Dart fans:

    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!”

    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.

    • Matt

      @Neal
      Great pic! Looks like Wissinoming or Mayfair! I grew up in Wissinoming and can remember shoveling my parents 1969 Chevelle out many times.

      • Neal

        Hey Matt-
        It’s actually Overbrook Park. Our street ran alongside a branch of Cobb’s Creek on the edge of Philly near City Line and Haverford Avenues. Lots of neighborhoods look the same, though.

  7. erikj

    Neal, I love those old stories that are not stories-we lived them!!
    We are lucky to be able to bring them up and really where there. COOL.

  8. Howard A Member

    When “Dart Swinger” is mentioned, images of these cars with a 340 and 4 speed come to mind. This is nothing more than grandma’s Dart with a catchy ’60’s name. The Dart Swinger was the high performance car even a paperboy could afford. I had a 2 door ’64 Valiant , 273-4bbl., 3 speed, which wasn’t much different than this car. It was my 1st ( so-called) high performance car. This particular car looks pretty rough. I guess anything that runs and drives is worth a grand. Be great for just running until the motor drops out the bottom.

    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Hey, Howard. It kind of reminds me of the Rambler Rogue and expecting a ground-pounding V8 under the hood. Or, an E-Body Barracuda with a 225 slant-six. As Rabbit mentioned, the underside has to be at least as rusty as the body is, that would be unsafe for sure.

  9. Royal Ricci

    My Dad bought a Gold 68 Dart with Black Vinyl Interior for my mother in 1971 or so. We sold it in 1973 to a guy with his daughter who was a newly licensed driver and would see it around on occasion at the local A&P. It had the slant 6. Sadly my mom didn’t care for it as she still felt that it was too big of a car for her to drive.

    My Dad in 1973 before we sold the Dart, bought her a brand new 1973 Mazda RX2 four door sedan which she also didn’t drive too much. My Dad would later use that as his daily driver as a CSE for IBM and would go onto drive that puppy into the ground by 1983. when it was severely rotted out.

    • Ed P

      Growing up the was a family down the street. Her husband bought her a new 66 Caprice. She would not drive it because it idled to fast!

  10. gaspumpchas

    Rabbit is correct–first thing to look at are the torsion bar anchors under the front seat. Fixable if they go, but when it gets to that point its scrap metal. you’d really have to want this car to to thru all that work.

  11. chas miller

    no under coat? but if a dam good job of under coat maybe rest would be only a good summers task. salt and as Kansas they over do all salt yes WTF Kansas. see what the great state of Kansas has done for there selves. and the poor man they get trash of road. we are (as a person that lived there in kc 25 yrs worked for gm drove mopars and jeeps) . any parts may b worth ?

  12. AMCFAN

    The price reflects what is here. The seller is ASKING $995 OBO. Means do not pay the $995. asking price. Consider that scrap price is maybe $350.

    Stating that this would be a great car for someone wanting to learn how to weld is crazy. Most projects as bad as this will never get back on the road with good intent. Most people today have to work several jobs and maintain a family. The car will be stripped down and once the poor guy sees just how bad it is it will set and eventually sold for scrap.

    Hopefully someone should steer the poor guy in the right direction and at least buy a car from out West where there are NO rust issues. They simply make a better car when done anyway. This way the fellow having the right car and learn the skills will stay in the car hobby. Not be set up for failure

  13. Ed P

    This is a handiman’s special, I’m just not that handy.

  14. JAMES

    I had a nice metallic blue 1975 Dodge swinger with a white vinyle top and the 318 C I engine. Back in the day it was a very sporty hard top which ran pretty well speed wise. The 318 was a very good engine as I had a 1968 Plymouth fury with it in also. Anyway, This dodge swinger is only good for the demolition derby then scrapped. You cannot weld onto what is not there to begin with.

  15. RNR

    It’s clear most you folks are not from the Northeast – it does’t look that bad to me (and it looks like what ’69 Darts looked like in ’77 from where I’m from – western NY). There are patch panels for all the rusty panels, including the torsion bar mounts. plus you can get reproduction 340 hoods. This is the cheapest starting point for a Swinger 340 clone I’ve seen in some time, and that is how this one will end up. Someone will pay more for shipping than the car itself.

    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      Yep, my ’73 Barracuda looked like this in 1980.
      Except the tops of the front fenders were also rusted out.

      Darn Northeast winters!

    • AMCFAN

      Yes RNR there is a catalog for everything. Rust repair panels are not cheap nor is a 340 clone hood and or related parts. But what would you have to show for your hard earned time money and work?
      A vin specific six cylinder car with a lot of grafted on reproduction parts. For the time and money needed for this block of swiss cheese you could have a lot nicer original car. Estimating if you mostly do the work yourself would $15,000 be a fair estimate? For a car when done maybe $7500? Look what kind of car you can buy for that. A little more then you could have a genuine 340 Swinger! Doesn’t make sense to me

      • RNR

        Yes AMCFAN, I figure that for $15k this would be a nice car. However, I’m not sure what genuine 340’s you’ve seen in the neighborhood of $15k that’s not closer to the same condition this car is in now.

  16. Royal

    Amen RNR

  17. Chebby

    Love early Darts, but this one did too much swinging. Now it has syphillis.

  18. erikj

    Reminds me of the 69 340 swinger 340,blue with auto. Nice shape ,but had a broken steering box mount ,. Still brought it home in around 1982. $75 bucks.
    WOW the stuff around if you looked then. I Had a lot!!
    As I have said, I should write a book since I had 100s for cars like this that I saved as this dart was about to go to scrapped. Sold it to a guy that loved it and had it for many years and kept it a clean driver.

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.

*

Notify me of new comments via email. Or subscribe without commenting.