Here’s Why Gearheads Love The Plymouth Duster

Before the Plymouth marque withdrew from the market in 2001 and became rebranded as Dodge and Chrysler, it offered some of the best muscle cars in the game, like the Barracuda, the Fury, the Superbird, and the iconic Road Runner. Models of Plymouth muscle cars were both imaginative and intimate, and occasionally they combined the two qualities into a single design. In the end, Plymouth, which had been a low-cost brand of Chrysler, succeeded in forging a muscle car identity along the road that was distinct from that of its Dodge sibling company.


One of those amazing cars that ruled the American streets around this time was the Plymouth Duster, which joined the family in 1970 as a fastback coupe version of the compact Valiant. The Plymouth, in contrast to most muscle cars, quickly rose to the top among budget-conscious enthusiasts.

The Duster is the most likely Plymouth’s underappreciated muscle car today and is frequently overlooked by collectors who prefer the toughest and most powerful models in the category, along with older vehicles built on a tighter budget. With early 1970s vehicle aficionados starting to appreciate Dusters, it may be time for them to bloom.

Here’s why gearheads love the Plymouth Duster, and why it makes a great addition to your collection of vintage muscle cars.

RELATED: The Plymouth Duster Returns With Some Dodge Challenger Influence


The Plymouth Duster Has A Well-Designed 2-Door Coupe Shape And Lots Of Adorning Features

When the Duster debuted, it still shared a lot of the Valiant’s front sheet metal and drivetrain components, along with the 108-inch wheelbase. The Duster did, however, come with unique styling from the midsection to the rear, with a semi-fastback roof and a unique rear valance with no bezels.

Its front fascia had the same simple design, receiving round headlights that sandwiched the logo-flaunting grille with the chrome outline, blending perfectly with the chrome bumper. 1972 saw the intro of new taillamps and a new surface mount. The following model year received a new grille, bumpers, taillights, and hood, but the rest of the care remained the same visually. The vehicle maintained this look until 1975, when Plymouth threw in a new grille, and on it, was the re-introduced Plymouth 3-pointed-‘spear’, giving the car a bolder frontal appeal.

The Gold Duster package added cool gold stripes and badges, which concealed the doors, wheel covers, front, and rear, as well as the vinyl seats and carpeting. A Duster Twister package was also available, which unlocked a more nostalgic taste, with the 340’s styling cues, including a shark-tooth grille and side stripes that mirror the Duster 340 Wedge stripes.

Top Of The Line Plymouth Duster 340

Customers could have the Plymouth Duster in two variations of the “bulletproof” Slant Six, first used in the original Valiant: the 198-cubic-inch version, which made 125 horsepower (up from 170 cubic inches and 115 horsepower of the previous year) and the larger 225-cubic-inch variant, which churned out 145 horsepower. There was the 230-horsepower, 318-cubic-inch V-8 for individuals who valued performance over efficiency.

The 275-horsepower Plymouth Duster 340, which was first designed as the CK — for Clark Kent — served as the Duster’s high-performance model. The model’s 5.6-liter small-block V-8 came with all the good stuff, like the long-duration camshaft, high-flow cylinder heads with 10.5:1 compression, and a single Carter four-barrel carb. With its high-powered engine, the model also carried heavy-duty anti-sway bars, six-leaf rear springs, and sturdy disc brakes.

Later in 1972, Plymouth reduced the 340’s compression ratio down to 8.5:1 and swapped out the 2.02-inch intakes for smaller 1.88-inch alternatives. Aside from this, new emission laws came along. This had the effect of decreasing power output to 245 horsepower. This was the Duster 360’s rating when it first appeared in Twister and Gold Duster bundles in 1974. Unlike the previous model years, the Duster 360 fastback coupe was the heaviest in the lineup, weighing 3,315 pounds.

RELATED: Mopar Barn Finds: Dodge Demon And Plymouth Duster Are Practically Twins

Fast And Fuel-Efficient Feather Duster Model

The Feather Duster was another sort-after model in the lineage. Unlike the mainstream model, the Feather Duster lost significant weight, thanks to its lightweight aluminum parts, like the hood bracing, the intake manifold, and bumper brackets. Even the manual transmission housing. All these aluminum components had weight savings of about 187 pounds, making it around 5 percent lighter than the standard Duster.

Power from Chrysler’s 225 inline-6 ​​motors went to the wheels through either a Torqueflite 3-speed automatic or the most engaging A833 overdrive 4-speed manual transmission. The engine featured a low-restriction exhaust system, an extra-high rear axle ratio, and a single-barrel carburetor. With the manual gearbox, the feather duster retained the most fuel-efficient ratings in its size class, at up to 24MPG in the city and 36 MPG on the highway.

The Plymouth Duster Is An Inexpensive Muscle Car On The Market

The Duster’s affordability is one of its best features. In its six-year run, Plymouth sold a total of 1,332,846 Dusters due to their low price, before it was eventually axed.

Fortunately, it’s still affordable today. According to Classic, the 1970 – 1976 Plymouth Duster currently retails for around $29,486 on the market, making it one of the most affordable muscle cars from the era.

For comparison, the typical price of a Vintage Pontiac Firebird is $54,745, and the average price of a Dodge Charger from the same model era is $86,466, which is comparable to the price of the Mustang and other classics.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *