June 10th Update: When we originally featured this Gold Duster three weeks ago on May 20th, the seller was asking a very optimistic $19,000. We see the car is still for sale but is now reduced to a more realistic $14,000 which is between the #2 “Excellent” and #3 “Good” levels so its now worth a second look. Good luck with the purchase!
In our quest to find a suitable Malaise Monday candidate this week, we came across this nicely restored 1973 Plymouth Gold Duster Edition here on Craigslist in Westfield, New Jersey where the private seller has an asking price of $19,000. Based on the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool and accounting for a twenty percent reduction for being equipped with slant six versus a V8 engine, the seller currently has his Duster optimistically priced above the #1 Concours Level. While we recognize this car appears to have a fresh amateur restoration and prices of Dusters as of late are on this rise, we’re going to award this example our GWR “Optimist Award” after Monday as we feel the price is simply too high.
Plymouth, Chrysler’s value brand at the time, introduced the semi-fastback two-door Duster in 1970 to complete with Ford’s Maverick and AMC Hornet, both of which launched the same year as well as Chevrolet’s redesigned Nova that first appeared in 1968. In addition to marketing the Duster as an alternative to these cars, Plymouth spun this model as a competitor to the venerable Volkswagen Beetle as well as the new domestic subcompact models such as the Ford Pinto and Chevrolet Vega. Plymouth offered numerous trim and option package variants of the Duster that included the Gold Duster Edition featured here. The Gold Duster package provided a number of upgrades over a standard Duster that included special badging, gold stripes on the sides and rear, wall-to-wall carpeting, pleated all-vinyl seats, whitewalls, full wheel covers, a deluxe insulation package, and a canopy style vinyl roof.
The private seller of this numbers matching 1973 Duster is the second owner. The seller states that he and his son “refurbished the car to original condition in color and style.” Given that the paint appears to fresh on this example combined with their propensity to rust, we strongly encourage potential buyers to do their homework on this car to know where to look as well as be able to verify that all of the trim tags on the various body pieces match the car’s VIN. If you observe discrepancies, you’ll get a feel for how extensive the “refurbishment” needed to be.
We like that the sellers modified the 225 cubic inch slant six with a period correct Clifford Performance package that includes a shaved cylinder head, high performance intake manifold (topped with a Holley four barrel carburetor), a nicely detailed performance header dumping exhaust gases into a custom dual exhaust system. These modifications likely provide performance on par with a stock 318 V8 also offered in Dusters.
The seller states that his car has all of the original air conditioning parts although he does not confirm whether the system actually works.
While the interior pictures provided leave a bit to the imagination, its clear the pleated vinyl seats and carpeting present very nicely. Also included with the sale is what the seller describes as an age appropriate AM/FM cassette stereo in an unmodified dashboard.
Oddly, while the seller rightly includes the original intake and exhaust equipment, he also mentions the following extra pieces come with the sale: two hoods, one trunk lid, two doors, one console, three grills, one bumper, the original gauges, and “more.” While we understand including original parts for those that have been modified, we’re at a loss to explain why so many “extra” body parts come with the sale on what’s supposed to be a restored car. At nearly $20,000 this is big money for what is a refurbished early 1970s Malaise ear car. If you’re trying to relive your early driving years and this car checks all of the right boxes during an in-person inspection, we say, “Good luck with the Purchase!”