Tucson, Arizona…land of dead airplanes, scalding temperatures, and BangShifter Joe Haber, who spends his free moments of the day hunting through the pristine metal around his area. Joe also likes to taunt me every now and then, and today he led off with a doozy…a formerly Plum Crazy Purple 1970 Plymouth Duster trar set up for a big-block Chrysler.
Plymouth’s A-body coupe was Mopar’s best example of a new car on the cheap. Given the Dart platform and told to make a winner, the design team basically built a whole new car from the A-pillar back and wildly succeeded. The Duster spawned a Dodge clone (the Demon/Dart Sport) and a metric ton of sub-models. And yes, the factory sold a 4×4 version in the Plymouth TrailDuster, a Dodge Ramcharger with a different grille. However, even in the wildest days of Mopar design did the though of a 4×4 A-body Duster cross anybody’s mind. That kind of creativity only exists in the free world, and this well-used and abused Mopar chimera is now looking for a good home.
There’s no indication as to how it was created, but the best guess is that a Ramcharger frame now lives under the Duster. The beast is set up to run a Chrysler big block and automatic, but the 383ci engine and transmission are going with the car…on a pallet nearby. The seller claims that the running gear was yanked for a different project that stalled out, and that you are a a carburetor and a battery (and a few days’ work) away from a running and driving vehicle.
So, how does it fare with the Rough Start guidelines? At $2500 for the whole kit, it meets the financial objectives, but that comes at a cost: this is a kit, not a running and driving vehicle. Whether or not this beast moves again is fully determined by your dedication to getting this thing up and running. Make no mistake, you are jumping into the very deep end of the pool here, but fortunes favor the bold and with the right amount of work this thing could be awesome. All you have to do is believe…