The 340 muscle car status is verified by the H engine code in the fifth spot of the VIN. L
We've got a spot in our hearts for the sleek lines of the semi-fastback Plymouth Duster. It was introduced in 1970 as an answer to the Ford Maverick and Chevy Nova, and it's easy to forget that Duster's unibody rides on a 108-inch wheelbase-a full 3 inches less than corporate cousin Dodge Dart's 111-inch chassis. Though shorter wheelbases tend to ride rougher, drag racers know Dusters deliver more traction than Darts. Thank you, short wheelbase!
While most of the Dusters built during the model's six-year production run ('70-'76) were powered by frugal Slant Six or 318 two-barrel mills, Plymouth cranked out plenty of Duster 340s ('70-'73) and Duster 360s ('74-'76) for performance fanatics like us. Here's a sadly neglected '72 Duster 340 we found at Winkel Auto in Milford, New Hampshire. Of the 227,992 Dusters built in 1972, only 15,681 were 340 powered. That's about 1 in 15. Let's administer last rites, shall we?
* The full-length 340 body side stripes were introduced in 1971. Duster 340s built in 1970 wear a comparatively invisible Duster 340 sticker on the front fender.
* In the Sept. '71 issue of Car Craft, the report on Plymouth's high performance menu included this observation: "The biggest disappointment, if that's what you want to call it, in the Chrysler line is the discontinuation of the 426 Hemi as a readily available option. It will still be available (sold separately in a crate) as a special-purpose, through-a-dealer, off-road, high-buck, you-better-stand-in-line-if-you-want-it extra. How many engines will be produced and how hard it will be to get them is anybody's guess."
This one was ordered with a column-shifted 727 TorqueFlite automatic (8,530 built), a $208
Amazingly, the original 340 is still in place. In emissions-conscious 1972, the top dog 34
Plymouth made sure the 340 Duster wasn't ignored. Look closely and you'll see the original