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Question Of The Day: We All Want The Top-Of-The-Line, But Where Is The Love For The Base-Model Car?

Question Of The Day: We All Want The Top-Of-The-Line, But Where Is The Love For The Base-Model Car?

How many Super Sport-equipped Camaros exist? Probably three times as many as Chevrolet made. How many Mustang Cobras, or 5.0 GT cars, are out there? Do a quick Craigslist search. And don’t get me started on seeing “R/T” badges meant for a 1969 Coronet R/T slapped on the back of a 1998 Grand Caravan. What is it about the top-tier trim level that turns rational people insane? A standard Firebird isn’t much. A Firebird Formula flies under the radar. But if you say “Trans Am”…whoo boy, you might want to get out of the way of the stampeding hoards.

Hunting Craigslist usually dredges up tons of the faked and severely beaten being passed off as something special, but this time it brought up a genuine gem: a 1973 Plymouth Satellite. Ok, maybe not a gem, but this thing hooked my interest and won’t let go, and it’s for what it is: this is the most bare-bones, basic Satellite coupe I’ve ever seen, from the blue paint to the stock pizza cutters and hubcaps. In the Midwest, you can find cars like this, but they have sat for years and are in danger of tearing in half from the rust. If they are street able, they have been subjected to years of modifications and the 318 under hood is probably on it’s last legs…or it has been converted into a Road Runner.

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Oh…that reminds me: this isn’t a V8 car. This is powered by the nearly unkillable Slant Six, and sports the best security system for the modern age ever, a three-on-the-tree. And it’s strange, but the idea of jamming the 400ci into this car actually does seem like sacrilege. A Hyper-Pak intake, some machine work on the Slant Six, and a small turbo and some interior attention for the faded door panels and you’d have a neat commuter car that didn’t make you look like you gave up on life. Plus, you could troll Mopar shows, parking it between Road Runners and Chargers. Bet you’d get more looks than they did!

So what say you, readers: is there any love for a car like this, or would the first thing you do be V8 swap it?

Craigslist Link: 1973 Plymouth Satellite

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12 thoughts on “Question Of The Day: We All Want The Top-Of-The-Line, But Where Is The Love For The Base-Model Car?

  1. Appleseed

    Nope. Would still get a 440. But the Slant 6 would be safely stored in the garage for a later date.

  2. Beagle

    First thing I thought was Cummins 4BT. I’ve had a curiosity about the 273 for a while – maybe I would think about decent heads and a turbo for one of those. I’ve driven six cylinder three speed cars and they are scary slow to the point of being dangerous these days. I’d like to see what Dulcich’s leaning tower of power does on the dyno, something like that might make me feel safer in it. 🙂

    1. Beagle

      And it’s GONE. Dammit.. I’d have to get a split bench for it too. I drive like it’s a Nascar, right up on the steering wheel. My passengers shouldn’t have to keep a knee in the glove compartment just because I drive that way. 🙂


    I’d leave alone. Clean and detail it, fix what is worn or broken but not dump a ton of money into it and then drive it…enjoy it…If you’ve never driven a 6 with a 3spd on the column you don’t know the joy it brings….It is not fast, it wont toss you back in the seat but it is just friggin’ fun…..

    1. HotRod

      I’ve drove them and I’m not a big fan. But they are faster than any of the other inline sixes if the day.

    2. RK

      They are fun! These old beauties will get their day. Ah, reminds me of the old Econoline; big gas six, three on the tree, driving thru the Black Hills in ’82. That’s work; all the switchbacks and the big steering wheel! If you get any photos of the old 69 – 73 era shortbox window van, please show ’em!

  4. HotRod

    The car definitely needs more power. I wouldn’t necessarily dump a big block in it although it would be very tempting. But a very well warmed up 340 or 360 should help things out a whole heap.

  5. Chris Raab

    My parents had a ’74 Satleite…brown with a white vinyl roof, 318, automatic, 4 door…was traded in on a Plymouth Horizon TC-3…Ahhh, the cars of my childhood! 🙂 The Satelite was a pretty cool car, the TC-3, not so much! There are also Jeep Pickups and International Scouts in my past!

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