There are some cars that are easy to underestimate, and this 1970 Plymouth Duster is definitely one of them. Mopars compacts were far more famous for being grocery-getter basic, but that isnt to say that the company didnt slip a few screamers out the door. Put a V8 in a lightweight car like this, and the performance is going to be impressive. So forget what you think you know about garden-variety Dusters and have another look at this beautifully restored Lemon Twist Duster 340.
First off, yes, its a real H-code Lemon Twist Duster 340, not a dressed up clone that came with a slant-6 or something. According to the fender tag, this one is loaded with options, too:
VS29:Plymouth Valiant,DusterSpecial2 Door Sports Hardtop
H0B: 340 275HP 1-4BBL 8 CYL1970Dodge Main, Hamtramck, MI, USA
187870: Sequence number
E55: 340 cid 4 barrel V8 275hpD32: Heavy Duty Automatic TransmissionFY1: Top Banana / Lemon Twist Exterior ColorL6X9: Trim - Vinyl Bucket Seats, BlackTX9: Black / Black Velvet Int. Door FramesB13: Build Date: November 13152551: Order number
V1X: Full Vinyl Top, BlackA01: Light PackageA62: Rallye Instrument Cluster PackageC16: Console w/Woodgrain PanelC55: Bucket SeatsG33: LH Remote Racing Mirror
H51: Air Conditioning with HeaterL31: Hood/Fender Mounted Turn SignalsM21: Roof drip rail moldingsN41: Dual ExhaustN95: Emissions ControlR11: Radio Solid State AM (2 Watts)
V5X: Body Side Stripes, BlackV8X: Transverse Stripes, BlackY05: Build to USA SpecsEN2: End of Sales Codes
The other interesting thing about this particular Duster is the vast amount of money someone spent restoring it. No, these arent six-figure cars, and probably never will be. But this one has been extremely well done, top and bottom, with a lot of new parts and smart upgrades throughout. You can see in the photos that the bodywork is straight, that the 2-stage Lemon Twist paint has been expertly applied and buffed out until it was smooth and slick, and the correct 340 decals have been applied for a true OEM look. Gaps are pretty much how the factory would have done it, and while the result isnt exactly a stealth-mobile, it looks really, really good. This is a Duster youll be proud to show at the local cruise nights, and it will be welcomed at any big Mopar event in the country. Dont forget, there are an awful lot of guys out there who really dig these compact cars with heroic engines.
Like the bodywork, someone spent a lot of time and money on the trim, too. The chrome bumpers are recently re-plated, the stainless has been straightened and polished, and even things like the grille and rear valence panel are superb. Youll note that this car features fender-mounted turn signal indicators, and a cool Go-Wing out back. The black vinyl top keeps it from being Lemon Twist overload, and works really well with the black stripes, Go-Wing, and hood scoops.
Although it says 340 all over the body, the heart of this Duster is actually a fresh crate 360 with a ton of performance parts. Although the 340 was a pretty potent small block, who can argue with an extra 20 cubic inches? Properly dressed in a coat of Hemi Orange paint, the engine looks appropriately vintage, and the chrome Mopar-logo valve covers give it a bit of eye candy for showing off at the local cruise nights. Up top, theres a correct air cleaner with 340 decalshey, you dont have to let people in on the secret if you dont want to, right? Aside from the MSD ignition box mounted safely on the inner fender, everything else is appropriate to the car. Things like the hoses and clamps, alternator, and even the battery, are correct reproduction items that give the engine compartment an authentic appearance. Up front, a correct radiator and fan keep it cool, and youll note that there are no performance-sapping accessories like power steering or A/Cthats pretty butch. You may also have noticed that the hood scoops are functional, thanks to vents in the hood feeding cold air to the engine bay. Again, its not exactly a sleeper, but it doesnt look nearly as potent as it is.
And for you guys who absolutely need authenticity in your cars, this car does come with the original, numbers-matching 340 block. The restorer wisely removed it in favor of the crate motor when he built the car, knowing that it would help preserve the cars value. After all, when you throw more than $60,000 worth of restoration work into a car, you want to protect your investment.
Assisting with the acceleration duties is a 727 Torqueflite 3-speed automatic that snaps through the gears with real authority. Out back, theres a standard Chrysler 8.75-inch rear packing cruise-friendly 3.23 gears, which are ideal for all-around performance in such a lightweight car. Look at the photos, and youll definitely see what I mean about someone spending WAY too much money on this Duster. The floors are painted to match the body, and the finish quality is first rate. No botched repairs, no sloppy workmanship, just clean sheet metal and excellent details. Of course, you wont miss those big, chrome long-tube headers feeding a true dual exhaust system with Flowmaster mufflers and chrome tips, but the suspension has been rebuilt and uses fresh bushings and shocks all around. Brakes have been rebuilt, and all the lines and hoses are new. Wheels are traditional Rallyes wearing 215/70/14 Firestone Firehawk white letter radials.
Inside, the original black bucket seat interior has been restored to stock specifications, with a few upgrades. Everything looks so good, I have to believe most of it has been replaced, from the firm bucket seats to the unfaded dash pad, its all nice workmanship and top quality materials. Matching Duster-logo floor mats protect new carpets, and all the woodgrain decals have been replaced. The center console is a rare option on Dusters, and looks right at home in this sporty compacts interior. The Rallye gauges look original, and everything works properly. An auxiliary oil pressure gauge has been installed to keep an eye on the vital fluid inside that new crate motor, but otherwise the dashboard is as it was in 1970. Oh, and the original 2 watt Music Master AM radio has been chucked in favor of a more powerful, upgraded AM/FM/CD unit that makes this car such an easy cruiser.
At RK Motors Charlotte, we understand that not everyone has a six-figure pile of money to spend on a hobby car, and weve recently dedicated our considerable resources to locating clean, high-quality, affordable collector cars that will appeal to a wider audience. This is one of those cars. There are no stories behind this one, and it needs no excuses. It is a clean, well-built, fast, fun cruiser that will deliver a ton of bang for the buck for the next lucky owner. With more than $60,000 spent on the restoration and the original, matching-numbers block included with the car, this one is way under-priced for what you get. Call today!
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