AJ’s Car of the Day: 1973 Plymouth 318 Duster

AJ’s Car of the Day: 1973 Plymouth 318 Duster

Car: Plymouth 318 Duster

Year: 1973

What makes it special: The original Plymouth Duster was a semi-fastback two-door coupe version of Plymouth’s Valiant model marketed from the 1970 to 1976 model years. Following the design changes on the Valiant models, the Duster also received a new hood, grille, front fenders, bumpers, and taillights for 1973. The taillights on previous years mounted from the inside and had a flush appearance. Starting in 1973, the taillights were mounted from the outside and were trimmed in chrome. These remained unchanged through 1976.

What made it famous: Other changes for the 1973 Duster were simpler single-piston slider-type disc brake calipers were introduced for 1973, standard on 318-powered cars and with power-assist on 340 models replacing the Kelsey Hayes four-piston calipers. Disc brake-equipped Dusters now had the more-common 5-lugs on 4.5″ wheel bolt pattern. A 3- speed Torque Flight automatic along with a manual transmission was offered with the 225 slant six. Electronic ignition became standard across the board. Also a “Space Duster package” was offered, allowing the back bench seat to be folded down, thus providing more space to carry cargo. There is also a security flap allowing private things to be stashed away from view of others. A new, metal sunroof was optional for 1973. The rear window defroster/defogger was upgraded to an electric-grid style for 1973, which replaced the previous recessed package shelf air blower. A 150hp, 265 ft/lb. OHV 318 was the base V8.

Why I would want one: I absolutely LOVE the Plymouth Duster. Sporty styling and I’m a huge fan of any model that was intended to be an economy model, but also received a V8 option. If it carried a Slant-6, imagine how much better it moved with a V8.

Fun fact: From 1974 to 1975, actress Judy Strangis was a TV pitchwoman for the Plymouth Duster in the role of “Mean Mary Jean,” wearing a football jersey and short denim hot-pants.

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