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Plymouth Duster



History

1970-1976






Introduction: The Plymouth Duster debuted for 1970 as a performance version of the Plymouth Valiant. Providing tremendous bang for the buck with its performance 340 V8, the little Duster put many bigger muscle cars to shame.


1970 Plymouth Duster






Comments: The Plymouth Duster debuted in late 1969 as a 1970 model and was a sporty version of the Plymouth Valiant. The Duster featured curvy exterior styling and a rounded fastback look for the rear. The front end was the same as the Valiant. The interior was pure Valiant. The Duster was available with a variety of engines, ranging from two slant six cylinder engines to either a 318 V8 or a high performance 340 V8 rated at 275 bhp. It was the 340 V8, coupled with the Duster's extremely low price, that made it a hit. The base price was a mere $2,172 (only a little more than the 1960 Valiant) and included just the 198 Slant Six, a column mounted three speed manual transmission, and manual brakes and steering. However, any performance buyer would go straight to the 340 V8 option. For a mere $400, this option added the 340 V8 with four barrel carb, dual exhausts, floor mounted three-speed manual transmission, a 3.23:1 rear axle, a heavy duty suspension with larger diameter torsion bars, extra leaf springs, front stabilizer bar, front disc brakes, and a unique instrument panel that included a tachometer and 150 mph speedometer. At a total price of just $2,547, the Plymouth Duster 340 was much cheaper than either a Plymouth Road Runner ($2,900) or Mustang Mach I ($3,300).

Production:

Engines:
198 I6 125 bhp.
225 I6 145 bhp.
318 V8 230 bhp.
340 V8 275 bhp @ 5000 rpm, 340 lb-ft @ 3200 rpm.

Performance:
340/275: 0-60 in 6.2 seconds, 1/4 mile in 14.7 seconds @ 94 mph


1971 Plymouth Duster






Comments: The Twister, a new trim level between the Duster and the Duster 340, debuted for 1971. Basically a Duster with more standard features, the Twister featured Rallye wheels, racing mirrors, side and lower deck stripes, a flat black hood with hood scoops, bucket seats, and a unique grille all as standard equipment. The biggest engine available was the 318, and the appearance package was topped off by a little cartoon tornado with eyes logo on the back panel near the taillights. The Duster 340 (but not the base Duster or Twister) also received a new "sharktooth" grille.

Production:

Engines:
198 I6 125 bhp.
225 I6 145 bhp.
318 V8 230 bhp.
340 V8 275 bhp.

Performance:



1972 Plymouth Duster






Comments: Dodge re-rated all of its engines to the new SAE Net standard. The top of the line 340 saw its rating drop from 275 bhp SAE Gross to 240 bhp SAE Net. The Twister trim continued, but lost the unique hood and grille. All Dusters received a new set of long thin taillights, and standardized marker lights. The 198 Slant Six engine was dropped. The hood scoop was changed to a new dual snorkel scoop, similar to the 1970 Dodge Challenger T/A. The "Gold Duster", a new appearance trim was also introduced.

Production:

Engines:
225 I6 145 bhp.
318 V8 230 bhp.
340 V8 240 bhp @ 4800 rpm, 290 lb-ft @ 3600 rpm. (SAE Net)

Performance:



1973 Plymouth Duster






Comments: 1973 saw the Duster 340 lose its unique grille and all Dusters received a new grille, bringing them in line with other A-body cars. The taillights were changed, and the old sleek bumpers were replaced with bulky bumpers to meet the new Federally mandated 5 mph standard. A new model, the Space Duster, was added. This model featured a fold down rear seat and folding trunk separator which resulted in over 50 cubic feet of cargo space.

Production:

Engines:
225 I6 145 bhp.
318 V8 230 bhp.
340 V8 240 bhp @ 4800 rpm, 290 lb-ft @ 3600 rpm. (SAE Net)

Performance:



1974 Plymouth Duster






Comments: 1974 saw the most successful sales year for the Duster. Unfortunately, this would also be the year that the 340 V8 was dropped and replaced by the 360 V8. Despite the greater displacement, decent 245 bhp rating and greater torque, the heavier 360 engine couldn't match the outright performance of the old 340.

Production:

Engines:
225 I6 145 bhp.
318 V8 230 bhp.
360 V8 245 bhp @ 4800 rpm, 320 lb-ft @ 3600 rpm. (SAE Net)

Performance:



1975 Plymouth Duster






Comments: The Plymouth Duster's engines were detuned for 1975. The 360 V8 dropped from 245 bhp to 230 bhp. The Twister was discontinued.

Production:

Engines:
225 I6 145 bhp.
318 V8 230 bhp.
360 V8 230 bhp @ 4200 rpm, 300 lb-ft @ 3200 rpm. (SAE Net)

Performance:



1976 Plymouth Duster






Comments: The Plymouth Duster's engines were detuned again for 1976. The 360 V8 dropped another 10 bhp to just 220 bhp. New this year was the "Feather Duster." This ridiculously named trim would feature a slant six engine with a lightweight deck lid and special exhaust system and was tuned for maximum fuel economy. Available with either a three speed manual or automatic transmission, the Feather Duster could achieve over 30 mpg - a major accomplishment in 1976. There was also a "Spirit of 76" Duster that featured (drum roll ...) a "Spirit of 76" sticker on the rear quarter panels. This would be the last year of the A-body Dusters. The Duster name would continue on, but they would be on the F-body platform and resemble Volares.

Production:

Engines:
225 I6 145 bhp.
318 V8 230 bhp.
360 V8 220 bhp @ 4400 rpm, 280 lb-ft @ 3200 rpm. (SAE Net)

Performance:








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