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V8 Survivor: 1973 Plymouth Duster

Some badges are renowned for their longevity, while others shine briefly before disappearing forever. The Plymouth Duster fits into the latter category, only remaining on the market from 1970 through until 1976. Today, good examples command respect in the market, with values creeping up steadily over the past 5-years. This 1973 Duster is an original survivor, and its condition is well above average. It is looking for a new home, so the owner has listed it for sale here on Craigslist. It is located in Sanford, Michigan, and the owner is asking $12,000 OBO. I have to say a big thank you to Barn Finder local_sheriff for spotting this classic for us.

The owner says that the Duster looks even better in the metal than it does in the supplied photos. That must make it something pretty impressive up close because it does look great in the pictures. The Mojave Tan paint shines magnificently, while the Snakeskin top provides a wonderful contrast. The paint shows no signs of marks or scratches, and the top is free from noticeable deterioration. The panel gaps are about as tight and consistent as you might expect in a car of this age, and there is no evidence of any rust problems. The owner makes no mention of any issues below the surface, which is a positive attribute. The chrome shines well, and the glass is free from scratches or other defects.

The Duster’s engine bay presents to about the level that would be expected for a car built-in 1973. There is a “however” from my perspective. I like an engine bay to look clean and tidy, but I hate to see one that has been bathed in detailing spray. Some people like this look, but I find it to be artificial and unnecessary. Leaving that aside, what we find is a 318ci V8, backed by a 3-speed TorqueFlite transmission. With 150hp on tap, the Plymouth offered buyers respectable performance in a 1973 context. A ¼ mile ET of 16.8 seconds didn’t place it in muscle car territory, but it was decent for a car that was capable of transporting six people in relative comfort. This one might offer some minor improvements on that figure because it has been treated to a dual exhaust. The listing indicates that the odometer shows 38,000 original miles, but the owner doesn’t say whether he holds any verifying evidence. What he does say is that the Duster runs and drives like new.

The interior of the Duster is in good condition, with nothing that would require immediate attention. Having said that, it also isn’t perfect. The front seat shows some wear, along with a loss of some of the pleating effect on the base. There are no rips or tears, so it is serviceable. If the next owner wants to take it to the next level, they could shell out the cash for a replacement cover. The sticking point here is that covers are not a cheap investment. A high-quality front cover in the correct material and color will cost around $440. The faux woodgrain around the gauges is also damaged, but a kit to address this is available for under $50. Beyond that, the dash, carpet, and door trims look good, and there are no problems with the pad.

The rear seat is more in keeping with this Duster’s condition than the front seat is. When I look at the state of the seat and the carpet, I have my doubts that anyone has ever sat in here. They are close to perfect, while the same would appear to be true of the remaining rear trim and the headliner. There’s nothing that requires attention, and it is ready for the next family outing.

If a clean classic from the 1970s has been on your radar, then this 1973 Duster would seem to be worth a closer look. It isn’t perfect, but its condition is better than average. It is a car that would seem to be ready to be driven and enjoyed, but it has a few minor needs that might satisfy a buyer who is fond of the odd spot of tinkering. One of its strongest points is that it features a V8 under the hood. This might mean that it will burn some extra fuel when compared to a six, but it offers far better performance to offset this. It does appear that the owner might be negotiable on the price, which might be enough to tempt one or two of our readers. Could one of them be you?


  1. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    Impressive condition for a 47 year-old car. Considering that it seems to need very little and apparently can be enjoyed as-is, the price seems fair. The 318 may guzzle a good bit of fuel but it’s an improvement over the slant six performance-wise. I do get a kick out of the names auto makers gave to their exterior colors though I have to admit “Mojave Tan” sounds a lot better than poop brown. I like the full wheel covers and the fact that the bumpers are “normal sized” and not those particularly unattractive bumpers that showed up the next year. The only thing it really needs is A/C. It’s a nice car that should sell fairly quickly.

    Like 10
    • bone

      The rear bumper was larger for 74 -76, the front bumper beam is the same

      Like 1
  2. DON

    It looks nice, but I’m going to say its been repainted. The “snakeskin” half top , the body color and interior color along with the v8 and extra trim looks like this was a Gold Duster , which had decals on the fenders and not metal emblems , and a special stripe down the side and on the tail.. There are no fender markings or stripes, and the paint looks too good and a shade off from the engine bay, so these were likely sanded off when the body was redone. The instrument cluster is severely worn so I have my doubts about the mileage . The hubcaps, while not a big deal, are not Valiant/Dusters but look more like a mid 60s Fury. It looks good, but a potential buyer should check it out in person before buying it .

    Like 21
    • Superdessucke

      Yes. All that glitters sometimes isn’t gold.

      Like 4
    • Skorzeny

      Wheel covers, not hubcaps.

      Like 1
      • DON

        They are wheel covers, but for 60+ years I and everyone else I’ve dealt with in the automotive world called them hubcaps.

        Like 20
  3. Vin_in_NJ

    Al Bundy called and wants his car back!

    Like 16
    • Bob C.

      He always called his a Dodge.

      Like 6
      • ADM

        When it was a Dustpan.

        Like 0
  4. Scott

    I use to have one nearly identical,just a lighter exterior,almost yellow! Mine had ac though.It wasn’t bad on gas at all. At least not until I bolted 340 heads/manifold/ignition system/904 to 727 w/shift kit/8 3/4-3.23/headers with the earlier A body exhaust tips. Car ran very well and was mistaken by being powered by a 340 many times.It was just one of those freaks!

    Like 3
  5. Bob C.

    A friend of mine’s dad had a blue 1973 Duster he bought new and drove for several years. His had the exact same vinyl seats, only blue, I remember like it was yesterday. It was as basic as you could get. No radio, no PS, or PB. I’ll even bet it had the 198 slant six.

    Like 1
  6. Stangalang

    I wonder if Al Bundys car was a v8 or the leaning tower of power..

    Like 3
  7. Kevin

    Okay. I’m interested ONLY if it comes with the Leinie’s sign in the first photo.

    Like 3
  8. Jcs

    Great cars. Impressed that you pulled a snakeskin top out of the supplied photographs.

    A/C a particularly easy add on these. The factory system had underdash vents anyways. My family had a butterscotch over black 71 Dart Swinger with a 318 automatic and factory air. That little car flat hauled ass, surprising many a Mustang and Camaro and served our family well for over 15 years. Surprisingly it even showed its taillights to a 72 GTO more than once.

    Deserves a closer look indeed.

    Like 5
  9. George Louis

    This is a low line Duster, look at the steering wheel, the dash panel and glove box door would have had the extra wood grain accents. The side post battery does not cut it either. Do not understand why the instrument cluster is worn the way it appears in the pictures. It looks like some one stripped the car but the factory did not stripe cars in this fashion.

    Like 1
    • DON

      Its not a lower line, in 1973 most of these cars had the same steering wheel . The Tuff wheel was an option. Not all higher line or even Gold Dusters had the optional wood trim . It has a 318 with power disc brakes, carpeting , vinyl top and bumper guards. It definitely was a Gold Duster .

      Like 0
  10. John Jennings

    Looks like a flipper car: Repainted and cleaned up, but battery and dash show much higher miles. Seems everyone is trying to cash in on Dusters and Demons-buyer beware.

    Like 2
  11. William

    Nice car, not 12 grand nice, but a nice little car.

    Like 2
  12. Pete in PA

    IMO this car is hardly an original survivor. As DON says the color is a shade off and the emblems are not what they should be. The car is almost certainly a gold Duster and I’m putting my money on 100k+ miles, Wheelcovers are off, I think, a 66 Belvedere.

    Having owned and daily driven several of this vintage Duster, Demon, Scamp, Swinger I am astonished at the asking prices for examples today. These were utilitarian, entry level cars. While I much prefer one to, say, a Maverick or a Nova come on… $12k??? Start adding some options or even a 340 model and you’ll get my attention.

    I guess B- and E-body prices are so stratospheric that Mopar-hungry buyers might just pay this for a basic A-body.

    Like 5
    • DrillnFill

      Have you seen the prices lately for any Mopars? Try to find any V8 Duster that’s not a rusted-out crapbox for less than $15,000. If this car in reality is as good as depicted, I think it’s a good deal. Your mileage may vary, of course, but here in the northeast 12k isn’t bad 🙂

      Like 3
  13. WH

    Have to agree with others who say it looks like a repaint. Looks like a base model Duster that had the 318 and vinyl top option boxes checked. And please get rid of those ugly wheel covers.

    Hub caps cover the center of the wheel where the lug nuts are. Wheel covers cover the whole wheel.

    We had 2 base model Dusters 72/73 225 and a 72 Scamp 318 that wasn’t a base model (steering wheels were different).

    Like 1
  14. ACZ

    Bottom side pictures should be required on any car from Michigan, regardless of mileage. Pure Michigan……..rust.

    Like 3
  15. DWrichard

    Had Gold Duster for one of my boys,what a rust bucket–i would go around the lower quarters with a magnet,how much Bondo??

    Like 1
  16. Leo

    I had a buddy who got one of these new, only earlier than this model just because of my age when he got it. He got a new one when he was back from Nam for about a year. I will always remember him and that red car because he always wore a motorcycle helmet when driving it. Red of course. I don’t think he ever got over 50 mph in that car. But he always had on that helmet.

    Like 0
  17. Richard Martin Member

    I had a very basic one in green. 225 ci. automatic A.M. radio. Not too bad for what it was.

    Like 1

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