Well-Baked Project: 1970 Dodge Dart Swinger

Looking to add a sporty image to their rather pedestrian Dart sedan, Dodge introduced the Swinger in the 1969 model year. It was a 2-door hardtop that could be had from mild to wild, with a 340 V8 to fit in with the muscle car crowd. Most Swingers were sold with either the 318 V8 or venerable Slant-Six, like this one from 1970 with the 225 cubic inch engine. The car is well-baked from being out in the desert over the years but is said to be a solid runner after having some mechanical work done. Located in Fallon, Nevada, this largely rust-free Dodge is available here on craigslist for $4,500. Thanks, Boot, for another great tip!

While the Dart has been a part of the Dodge line-up on and off for more than 60 years, its most memorable run was likely the 4th generation of cars built between 1967-76. As a corporate cousin to the Plymouth Valiant, Chrysler would sell literally millions of the pair over the years. The front clip and rear deck got a nice restyle for 1970, which no doubt helped Dodge sell more than 190,000 units. As an interesting footnote, all ’70 Darts were built in Canada – even the ones for the U.S. market – except for some 4,000 cars. The Dart Swinger (non-340) would carry a big part of that load, accounting for nearly 120,000 of those automobiles.

This ’70 Swinger is said to be better than it looks. It still wears some of its original blue paint and most of the sheet metal looks decent except for two rust spots. One area is in the lower right front fender and the other in the upper portion of that same fender in the engine compartment. So perhaps a replacement fender should be secured before applying a new coat of paint. Elsewhere you’re likely to find a pinch of surface rust. The interior has had some work done, but the reupholstered front bench seat just doesn’t look right. An entire new interior set would make the most sense.

Nearly 70% of all 1970 Darts came with a Slant-Six engine and this car is no exception. Those were solid little motors in their day. The head has been rebuilt and the valves and springs are new. The TorqueFlite automatic transmission has been serviced and the bands adjusted. The car also sports a new water pump but some of the instruments are out of whack. Both the fuel gauge and speedometer aren’t working, so you’ll have no way to track when you need gas, and the odometer has been holding at 66,000 for who knows how long.

The cost of acquiring this Swinger isn’t high, but you’re going to have to put an equal amount of money or more into it to be something other than a car to run to the grocery store in. 50 years later, most of the interest in these automobiles is with the Swinger 340, Duster 340, and the Demon 340. Those can be $20,000 cars and up in great condition, but considerably less for the more routine Dart.

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Comments

  1. DrillnFill

    That’s a pretty low price but this Dart is going to need a lot of work to be presentable. Both seats need to be recovered @ $420/ each and there’s lots of little ‘70-specific bits and pieces that are missing and not reproduced anymore. And then there’s the needed bodywork unless you’re going for the “Roadkill” look. Could be great but will be a labor of love!

    Like 4
  2. George Louis

    I do not know where you get the information that “ALL DARTS” except for 4000 were built in Canada. Chrysler built the 1970 Dart Swinger at the Hamtramck Assembly Plant on the small line, line number 2. If you also check assembly plant records you might even find some Darts were built at the Chrysler Los Angeles Plant, in California up until Chrysler choose to close the plant in 1971.

    Like 6
    • Slantasaurus

      Russ doesn’t seem to know much about Mopars, or at least he makes a lot mistakes/ misinformation, read his write up on the 67 Coronet R/T today.

      Like 2
  3. Uncle buck

    Cool find my brother and his future ex wife drove one with a homemade trailer from Kingston Massachusetts bro Alaska in 1992. Only breakdown was the trailer lost a wheel.

    Like 3
  4. mrgreenjeans

    I’ve got a ’71 Swinger in Butterscotch / black vinyl interior and black vinyl top. Rallye wheels and 3 spoke ‘TUFF’ wheel to steer with. It is a color that takes ALOT of thought to accept, but since this color is somewhat rare along with it’s Panther Pink and Goofy Grape siblings, makes it a bit more palatable. These A-body MOPARS never got much love when new and were pounded to death if equipped with the 340. They never got much respect either until they walked all over an unsuspecting challenger. It has not been until lately the prices for well kept examples started to creep up thru the teens and into the twenties, with the more rare colors and rare optioned cars pushing even further. To ride in one with proper digger gears and a potent 340 torquing up the front end, is a great thrill……

    Like 3
  5. s

    OK. I like this car, but, there is no way in hell I’d spend $4500 on a Swinger that needed to be totally repainted and every single interior component needs to be replaced! And it only has a slant 6. You could find a lot nicer Dart than this for $4500. It’s not like this is some obscure and scarce model car.

    Like 1
  6. wcshook

    My ex girlfriend had a green ’70 Swinger with the slant six. Very good car. Nothing fancy, but dependable. A buddy and I were at a stoplight in West Palm Beach Fl. A guy and his date were beside us in a hopped up Chevy Nova. I popped it in Neutral, raved the engine, then put it in low. Light turned green and I was gone! That guy SHOULD have left me in the dust! He bog down. We got caught together at the next traffic light. I repeated what I had done earlier. My buddy looked at them. He was mad and his girlfriend was laughing!

    Like 1
  7. Jost

    My brother had one of these ( same color ) with the 225 slanty and three on the tree. Manual steering, etc.. I found it to be fun to drive. It amazes me how many people my age ( late 60’s) never had the pleasure of driving 3 on the tree. Glad I experienced it.

    Like 1
  8. Bill-W

    1970 Dodge Dart – Built for US Market :

    Hamtramck – 888
    Los Angeles – 2,602
    Windsor – 168,755
    TOTAL – 172,245

    Dart (base) LL : 6 cyl
    4 dr Sedan – 17,161
    Swinger Hardtop – 81,714
    Total – 98,875
    Dart (base) LL : 8 cyl
    4 dr Sedan – 2,007
    Swinger Hardtop – 29,211
    Total – LL – 31,218

    Swinger 340 – LM :
    Swinger Hardtop – 10,386
    Total – LM – 10,386

    Dart 270 LH : 6 cyl
    4dr Sedan – 13,341
    2dr Hardtop – 8,009
    Total – 21,350
    Dart 270 LH : 8 cyl
    4dr Sedan – 5.500
    2dr Hardtop – 4,916
    Total – LH – 31,766

    Total 1970 Dart by Body Style for USA – 172,245

    Like 1
    • George Louis

      Bill W: Thank you for the comprehensive Pant Build Summary statistics. I still remember standing outside the fence line on Dunn Road outside the Shipping Lot at Hamtramck Assembly Plant in August 1970 watching an engineer test driving a Dart Swinger 340 in orange color diving in the parking lot. He also had waiting in the wings a 340 Dart in the lime green color.

  9. MitchRoss Member

    Seems like 4 door Darts were quite rare in 1970. Can this be correct?

    • George Louis

      Yes,that is true, more two doors built vs four doors. Dodge ran an advertising spot offering a free automatic transmission if you bought the featured option package

  10. tony giordano

    Nice memory car, my gal and her father at the time were indecisive, on a car for her graduation present so I took the lead and made the deal in white plains , ny, then told him to write the check…amazingly at 17 the father listened to me an bought one for his daughter patty for $2800 new; green with black and white hounds tooth interior…those were sweet days…thanks for the memories

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