Junkyard Find: 1975 Plymouth Duster

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1975 plymouth duster

During the same trip to a Los Angeles (actually Santa Fe Springs) wrecking yard that produced photographs of this junked ’89 Buick Reatta, I spotted this used-up ’75 Duster. These things were once among the most commonplace vehicles on American roads, and it seemed that most of them were this shade of green.

With the Slant Six or optional 318 V8, the Malaise Era Duster was cheap, reliable (for its time), and slightly sporty transportation. With the 230-horse 360 engine in place, the 3,115-pound Duster would eat up the heavier, less powerful ’75 Chevy Nova with ease. In fact, the power/weight numbers on the ’75 V8 Duster are pretty similar to those of the ’12 Honda Accord… though that comparison falls apart if you look at things like fuel-economy figures, comfort, or interior quality.

Plymouth used the Duster name on several platforms, starting with this one. First there was the “sporty Valiant” 1970-76 Duster, then there was the Turismo-based Duster of 1985-87 (best remembered for the legendary “Cocaine Factory” ad, above), followed by the tape-stripe-inundated Sundance-based Duster of 1992-1994. It’s too bad that Plymouth is gone, because we’d all love to see an Alfa-based Duster.

This one has been picked over pretty well. Since the late Chrysler A-body cars have brake components that bolt onto the 1960s B-bodies, you rarely see a Malaise Dart or Valiant that hasn’t had at least some of its front brake components grabbed by a disc-brake-seeking Belvedere or Coronet owner.

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  • Nrd515 Nrd515 on Jan 07, 2012

    A friend of mine had a black 340 Duster that ran great and he refused to sell, even after he got married. Sadly, he took it to work one night and an old guy fell asleep and crossed the center line and totaled it. My friend was ok, and the motor lives on in his 70 Dart that he recently bought as a rust free great body/totally trashed interior desert car. It had a nearly dead 318 in it, and the hopped up 340 made it a rocket. Now if he can just find all the interior parts he needs to make it into something that doesn't look like a homeless person's car inside, he will be all set.

  • Bygeorge Bygeorge on Jan 16, 2012

    Murilee, shame on you - you left out one! The Duster name was first revived for a trim package available on the 1979-1980 Plymouth Volare coupe (F-body).

  • Dukeisduke I know it really isn't, but the central display looks like it's being held by one of those cheap spring-loaded mobile phone mounts. Poor interior design.
  • Fred Remember when radios were an option? Do you know you can use your phone to listen to any radio station in the world? This is just a whole waste of time.
  • Pig_Iron ASTC 3.0 AM radio was successfully demonstrated at CES. It is a common standard shared with terrestrial television, so the audio equipment is commonized for broadcasters. And no royalty fees to pay, unlike HDRadio which has been a less than stellar success. 📻
  • Art Vandelay Crimes that are punished with fines encourage abuse by those enforcing them. If it is truly dangerous to the public, maybe jail or give the offenders community service. People’s time tends to be very valuable to them and a weeks lost work would certainly make a high earner think twice. If it isn’t a big danger why are police enforcing it (outside of raising money of course). Combine it with a points system. When your points are gone you do a week imitating Cool Hand Luke.
  • Cha65697928 High earners should pay less for tickets because they provide the tax revenue that funds the police. 2-3 free speeding tix per year should be fair.