Potentially Cheap 1970 Dodge Dart V8 Project

As a 2-door hardtop, most 1970s Dodge Darts came packaged as Swinger models to appeal to more youthful buyers. But the same body style was also available in the Dart Custom with a higher level of trim. Such is the case with the seller’s car, which is a Custom that accounted for just 11% of the hardtop production that year. This one is said to run well with a 273 cubic inch V8, but it needs a lot of cosmetic attention, including rust removal. Located in Everett, Washington, this old workhorse is available here on eBay where the bidding is up to a mere $410.

As a compact car, the Dodge Dart would enjoy a long run from 1963-76. Before that, it had served as a full-size automobile (1960-62). By 1970, the automobile was still selling well at 191,986 copies that year. Of those, 119,883 would be Swingers (introduced in 1969), 13,785 Swinger 340s (the performance version of the car), and another 17,208 would be the Dart Custom, the hardtop you ordered if comfort out-weighed style or muscle. All 1970 Darts were made either in California or Canada.

The seller describes this Dart as a good running project. There’s a 273 V8 under the hood now where the VIN says a 225 Slant-Six resided from the factory. The engine is from 1969 or earlier as that was the last year Chrysler used it. Mileage on the motor and/or car is unknown as a placeholder is used in the eBay listing. The car has power steering which needs to be hooked up and the exhaust leaks although the muffler looks newer. It had front disc brakes from the assembly line and the seller says they stop okay, so perhaps attention is needed, too. Finally, the heater fan works but the hoses aren’t connected.

The bronze/brown paint and black vinyl top are past their prime and there is loads of rust in the driver’s side rear quarter panel along with two small holes in the trunk floor. There are two welds on the car for the potential buyer to be aware of: one on the front frame rail and a second where the hood latches. The interior is going to need some TLC, such as the bucket seats being recovered. But the seller has a nice dash pad and chrome trim for the windshield. A trade is possible if you happen to have an American Fender Stratocaster (guitar) laying around ($1500 or less new online).


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  1. DrillnFill

    Interesting FK5 Dark Burnt Orange find, but unless you’re doing your own bodywork and paint, you’re going to be “upside down” into his car in no time. She could be a nice cruiser but she’s rough. And unless you just happen to have a 273 lying around, I wonder why they didn’t go with the ubiquitous 318, I would think you’ll find a lot more parts availability.

    Were factory disc brakes even available on non-340 Darts in 1970? I’m not sure.
    Nice find for someone with the skills and ability to get their hands dirty 🙂

    Like 8
    • Tman

      I thought 273s were painted orange and Chrysler started painting engines blue in 68,69. Where is the “Commado” label for the air cleaner?

      Like 1
    • Dave

      Up until the Magnum era, the 273-318-340-360 were all part of the “LA” engine series. They are externally similar and common parts like ignition components, water pumps, are all the same. The power difference between a 273 and 318 in this application is negligible. The problem, as you’ve stated, is how quickly you’d be underwater here.

      Like 4
    • CJinSD

      My father had a 1966 Dodge Coronet 440 2-door hardtop that he purchased new. It served as his daily driver until 1979, at which point he gave it to one of my cousins. My cousin put 265,000 miles on it, at which point he pulled the engine. That’s when he discovered that it was a 273 instead of a 318, which the salesman had told my father it was. I don’t think 273-specific parts are going to be a problem, because they’ll run forever on 318 LA maintenance parts.

      Ironically, the 318s being used in 1966 Dodges were A-series Polys instead of the LAs that were similar to the 273s. If the car had a 1966 318, it probably would have been harder to maintain as time went on. I remember visits to parts counters where we said we needed filters or plugs for a 318, and the parts worked just fine on the 273. I wonder if that was because the parts clerks assumed we had a ubiquitous 318 LA instead of a 318 Poly?

      Like 1
  2. Greg Williams

    This could be a walk in the park or a nightmare. Depends how much money your wanting to invest.

    Like 2
  3. Terry Bowman

    Dodge did have non-vac disc brakes, but the MC looks like a drum brake set-up. I had a Dart Custom 69′ and I don’t see any of the trim here that mine had. Door custom name plates, side moldings that stated Dart Custom. Head rest seem to be from a bench seat, which the buckets came on the optional GT package. I don’t see much Custom here as in accessories, including full hub caps or rally wheels. Possible a good get around car, but that’s about it. $1,500, due to the rust.

    Like 2
  4. Ralph

    Refreshing to see the seller is not asking for all the money in the world for this one. The folks asking a ton of cash for their stuff makes me feel like we are living in a bad X Files episode. Glad to see someone who has a sense of reality still.

    Like 2
  5. Schane

    I would like to have one just like it…have wanted to make a V8 version of this body for several years. My 70 Charger was that same Burnt Orange paint color and mine too looked “Brown” in certain ways depending on where the Sun was at when you looked at it lol…….man I still miss that car to this day. I have also often wondered if Hidden Headlights like my Charger had could be installed on these cars from something else? I think it would look even better if a person could do this to one. I like the looks of this body style when people adds the iconic double stripes across the tail of them like a Super Bee etc etc…….I don’t like the vinyl top “looks” with this body style tho. I see potential with this one above.

  6. MitchRoss Member

    “All 1970 Darts were made either in California or Canada.”

    They were also made in Mexico and Colombia

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