I have a 1974 Swinger. I'm the second owner and the car has 80,000 miles on it. The car is a 10, no rust, no dings, no dents, no door problems etc. It is one bad ass, this car will smoke most cars on the road today, and all the people saying negative stuff just don't have a clue of what they have. A 1974 Dodge with the 318 is one bad ass ride.
Interesting how things change: in 1974 a Dart with a 318 was an old lady car, something grandma drove to the supermarket.
Now, it's "one bad ass ride"? lol.
Yes, it is interesting how these cars have come into their own. It's an indication of how new cars are crappy, ugly, and stupid looking in comparison to some of these old '70s cars. A '74 Dart is a breath of fresh air in a time when every car on the road looks like some generic Toyota. And with a '71 318 2-barrel rated at 230 horsepower (up substantially from the 150 hp rating for a '74), the 318 is not too shabby when facing the realization that the 440's are all in heated, climate controlled garages out of reach of most workaday enthusiasts. With a few minor upgrades to that 318, you have a 300-horsepower, 2-door sport sedan. I think that commands a little more respect than "lots of laughter".
Once again--the '71 hp rating is GROSS rating; th '74 hp rating is NET rating. The hp did not drop substantially from '71 to '74.
And it's a sad state of affairs indeed when a 318 is considered a performance engine.
Don't scoff at the 318. It's already one of the most reliable engines ever built, and it has surprising performance potential. Nobody realizes it because Dodge had no reason to tap it for performance with engines like the 273, 340, and 383 as base engines for performance models. People who bought most grocery getters were perfectly happy with the 318 2-bbl. Performance or not, anyone would have to admit that it's nearly impossible to beat a 318 for reliability and durability.
Dodge detuned all their engines after 1971 to comply with emissions/environmental restrictions. The 1972 340 and 440, for instance, lost compression ratio, intake valve sizes (the 2.02 and 2.08 "coke can" intake valves were gone) and horsepower compared to 1971. The 383 also disappeared, replaced by the more anemic 400. True, they began measuring horsepower differently, brake versus net, but the 1974 318 didn't have the same power/performance as the 1971 318. Now to be fair, some of the later 318 designs did have very good flowing heads that were superior to the earlier design, but they were strangled by emission control devices. Depends how you define substantial: it may not be 230-150 = 80 hp, but I would still guess that horsepower loss was measured in the "10's-of".
I read this review as I owned a new 1971 Swinger and a 1975 Duster. The 71 was excellent in all respects however the 75 was not. It was continually in the shop with ignition, carb issues. They were my first new cars even lacking a/c at the time. I did some mild performance upgrades better tires including a rear sway bar which improved its handling. The 75 was the reason I went to foreign cars thereafter. In time purchasing a Supra and now own an Acura TL type S. I have never regretted this decision and I cannot say they have bland styling. My 71 Swinger may be still running around however. I just had a bad taste with the 1975 and I am sure the 1974 is similiar to what I had. The 340/360 engines not the 318 were the way to go if you wanted muscle.
I had a 1970 Dart Swinger as my first car. It was purchased new by my Grandfather and I got it in 1981. It had a 318 auto 2.76 gear ratio, no power steering or power brakes, No air. That car felt quick, but only ran a 16.5 1/4 at the strip, not modified at all. My next car was a 73 Dart Sport 318 auto. It had power steering and power brakes and air. I felt a lot slower than the Swinger. It was a heavier car. I now own a 74 Duster with a 360 auto 2.94 gear ratio. Fast ratio manual steering and brakes High rate torsion bars and super stock leaf springs, front and rear sway bars. It has run a best 1/4 mile of 12.81@104mph. At an autocross last year it had a quicker time than these cars; 03 Mini Cooper, 91 CRX, 94 Camaro, 87 Supra, 94 firebird, 97 miata, 79, RX7, 03 350Z, 93 Mustang, 92 Celica, 88 Conquest, 92 Celica, 91 MR2 and 03 Protege. That was only my second autocross ever. I just like the old Darts and Dusters and will continue upgrading my car for the fun of it.
We just nabbed a blue 1974 Dodge Dart sedan for the Matt Saracen character as his 1st car for the Friday Night Lights TV show on NBC. It was in a farm field for 12 years. It started right up after it was pulled out. We've had to replace the master cylinder, gas tank, exhaust/muffler, tune up, oil/filter, idler arm, and charge the AC unit. The automatic transmission shifts fine. Otherwise it's a great car for $1,000.00. The interior is near perfect. The paint has lots of desirable patina wear giving it the "1st car I ever bought" look. It will see plenty of action. Watch for it starting episode # 7, second season. It's a hoot and a great picture car.
I have a 1974 Dart Sport with a slant 6 225. The car was primed when I bought it, and it is still primed, however I do get a lot of compliments on it. I get compliments like, Man, that is a man's care right there, or Awesome ride... among others.
Fact of the matter, is they don't make cars like they used to. I see a lot of potential in my car - an engine swap 318, 340, 360... I know a modified 318 can make well over 400 h/p.
I recently got a break on purchasing a complete stock 72 318 engine. I will be having fun modifying it, along with the cars tranny, suspension, drive train and cross pipe breathers. Just remember it is silly to judge a classic muscle by the make or by how big the engine is.. if the owner plays his cards right, if it is a small block or a big block (beware), don't under estimate creativity.
Yeah, I honestly don't see what's wrong with just keeping an original 318 or 225 as a nice daily driver.
I have a really nice '73 Charger that gets compliments every time I take it out, which is just about every day because I like driving it to work. It has a 318 2-barrel and is totally stock, because I happen to prefer originality in cars. I guess I'm also long past the need to have to race anybody to prove anything, and long past believing that racing does actually prove anything.
Most people seem to get that if you're driving a classic car, it's because you enjoy it, not because you want to race it. There are a few oddballs who just don't get the concept of classic cars at all, and think if you're driving such an old car it must be because you can't qualify for a car loan. Those aren't my kind of folks because they live in such an alternate reality.
In my years of driving my Charger, only one person tried to race me, and oddly enough he was a guy in his early 40's (i.e. you'd have thought he was old enough to know better) driving a POS Chevy pickup. He had obviously done a lot of work to the engine, and was revving the hell out of it at the stoplight next to me. I took off like normal, and he took off like at the drag strip when the light turned green, which actually he made an ass out of himself. I guess he had something to prove, and hopefully he felt a lot better about himself and his POS pickup after that.
I was kind of laughing about it, like "Yeah, your built 396 sure dominated the hell out of my 318 2-barrel! Way to go, buddy!" But then, my Charger was still the nicer car, still gets the compliments, and he still was driving an old POS pickup, so what was the point of that? In fact, that was a few years ago, so I'm sure what's left of that pickup is sitting in the weeds somewhere, and meanwhile I'm still driving and enjoying my Charger.
So if you have a Dart with a Slant 6 or 318, go ahead and enjoy it. You have nothing to prove.
I have a 72 Dart Swinger with 96k on her. It's my first Mopar, and I traded my Chevy K10 pickup because I have a kid coming, and never understood what the fuss was about, but when a new Ford (well an 07 Mustang V6) wanted to play, yeah my lil 318 2bbl with 3 inch Flowmasters came out on top.
So I guess I am trying to say it made me a believer, and the smiles and everything else are a hoot. Oh, and I am only 25, but out of my Z28s or my 70 GTO clone, or any other car, the Dart is the finest lil everyday driver I've had.
Thanks, Shawn in NJ.
Over the years I've owned a 1972 slant 6 Duster and a 1972 Duster 318 with two-barrel carb and dual exhausts. Both were really great cars, and I'd love to have another one. The 318 was a great running car, but there is no way it could beat a 2007 V-6 Mustang in either acceleration or top end. I currently own a 2007 Mustang V-6, and it is much faster than my 318 Duster was.