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Rough Start: This 1970 Plymouth Duster Trar Is Rough, Alright, But It’s Set Up For A Big-Block – What Do You Think?

Rough Start: This 1970 Plymouth Duster Trar Is Rough, Alright, But It’s Set Up For A Big-Block – What Do You Think?

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…

Craigslist Link: 1970 Plymouth Duster “Mud Monster”


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15 thoughts on “Rough Start: This 1970 Plymouth Duster Trar Is Rough, Alright, But It’s Set Up For A Big-Block – What Do You Think?

  1. Tedly

    Once the “Kill it before it breeds!” knee jerk reaction passed, I’m kinda digging it. Some interesting possibilities there.

    1. Nick D.

      Also very similar to the Baja AMC/Hurst SC/Rambler that James Garner ran. I’m not into trars, but this thing has some potential

  2. BeaverMartin

    I like it. I’m not a Trar guy either, but for some reason I can see driving this with a mad max theme flat black paint job and 6-71 poking through the hood.

  3. Blue'67CamaroRS

    It appears to have a nice enough body that I would “untrar” it and still put the 383 back in it


    What really caught my eye was the proportions. Normaly a trar looks off, wheels arent centered, and they look silly but for some reason, this one works and reminds me a great deal of the Olds Cutlass Baja car that James Garner wheeled. With the miles and miles of trails in this area this could be a blast…or an endless money pit and the fist step towards a diviorce….

      1. ANGRYJOE

        I knew your Commander woud not let it happen…I figured maybe we could convince someone else around here to get it so we could sit back and watch the first moon shot or Rome burn…..

  5. Ingles

    Has anyone showed this to Frieburger yet-I can see a ROADKILL episode (or 2 ) in this thing for sure!!!!!

  6. Gregg68

    Pull out the hockey masks, the shoulder pads, the leather, vintage top fuel masks, crossbows, & boomerangs…

  7. Clay Taylor

    I’d be curious to know if it is an original 340 car, or if someone swapped the dash into it. If it’s an original Plum Crazy 340 car, then the shell’s worth what they’re asking. With the Rally dash, smooth column, and 4-speed pedals already there, it’s definitely got some good parts with it.

  8. Steven Elkins

    This brings back some nightmares! Back in the 80’s I took in trade a 67 Malibu hardtop on a 68 Wagoneer frame, with 283, truck 4 speed, 4.88 geared Dana 60 rear, Dana 44 front, spinning 38″ Gumbo Mudders. It drove like a log skidder.

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