1974 Plymouth Duster

2 months from the day of pickup to on the road with new paint!! Lots of elbow grease and time, very little in the way of "cubic dollars!" 

October 2015 Update!

So a week after we get back from 14.1's the Doug's D453 headers went in.

Saturday 10/10/15 test and tune at Lebanon Valley Dragway.

Best pass a 13.08 at 103 mph.

First pass- Garbage.

Car was like the 6th car down the track and it was cold. Spun the hell out of the slicks but HOLY SMOKES LOOK AT THE MPH.

14.38 ET-100.56 MPH-2.71 ST

The only difference between the car today and two weeks ago is the headers and the H-pipe is gone. Car picked up a solid 5 MPH.

Second pass- Slowest of the day disregarding the first wasted pass!

Car ripped off a mid 13 like it was nothing. Car was left in drive just like 2 weeks ago.

13.49 ET-100.19 MPH-1.93 ST

Third pass- Jetted the primaries one step richer, manually shifted 400 rpm higher.

13.31 ET-101.42 MPH-1.91 ST

Fourth pass- This was a lost pass that got my teeth on edge, best short time of the day! When I was shifting from second to third I missed and went into neutral! I instantly lifted, popped the shifter into third, waited for the trans to engage and mashed the gas again.

13.30 ET-100.09 MPH-1.86 ST

Fifth pass- I know I was running out of time (3:11PM) and the track was packed so I decided to go for broke and drop the exhaust. Dare I hope there was a 12 second pass lurking? The prior pass with a 1.86 ST should have been a 13.0-13.1. The track was a little slippery again and I could hear the slicks spin on the launch.

13.12 ET-104.14 MPH-1.95 ST

Sixth pass- I lowered the slick pressure in an attempt to get some more hook which is why I lost some MPH. Dropped from 12 PSI to 9 PSI. Best ET of the day (4:37 PM)

13.08 ET-103.4 MPH-1.88 ST

Seventh pass- Last of the day.

13.10 ET-103.5 MPH-1.88 ST

I could have made another pass but felt I didn't have anything left in my bag of tricks to get that last tenth. The car is over a full second quicker than its last outing. If I had a set of 4:10's out back the car would be flying in the 12's all day.

Took the car on the scales, 3675 lbs. which is where I calculated it should be with the addition of the 44RH overdrive trans and I'm sure the owner has gained 20+ pounds compared to 5 years ago when it was last on a scale with a 904. I do have an aluminum rear bumper reinforcement from a Feather Duster and might know where a front one is too. Both would shave a lot off the car.

Also the cam seems to make power right where Comp states it will, 5400 RPM. I do have a set of 1.7 roller rockers that might be able to extend that up a bit more.

Calculated HP is almost identical for ET/MPH 324/322

I'm very satisfied with the cars performance, it exceeded my expectations.

Calculated hp 2 weeks ago = 250 hp (average between ET/MPH)
Calculated hp yesterday = 323 hp (average between ET/MPH)

Adding 18% for drivetrain losses, that works out to 380 hp or so flywheel which is in line with several dyno articles on the 5.9 with a good cam, intake and headers. 18% is a touch low I think as I know from a Chrysler engineer that 18% was observed from them going from a 300+ hp 2.2 on a dyno to in car testing with a manual transaxle, 20% with RWD and a auto would be closer I think.


September 2015 update.

Beat on the car like it owed me cash, ran flawless for almost a dozen passes at Lebanon Valley Mopar day. I had not planned on taking the car but with the CSX is still giving me fits, wanted to see what the Duster would run with the mods (overdrive-cam-carb) done since 2010. 

I was in for a slight disappointment.

2010 14.2 at 94 mph
2015 14.1 at 95 mph (2.08ST)

318 exhaust manifolds are just killing the car, time for upgrades! MPH didn't change a bit with or without son on board nor did any other of the changes since 2010 have any impact. 

P.S. Best and last pass of the day was with my son on board. We had lined up against a 392 Challenger and I took him out on the tree and he never caught up in time even though at the traps he had 15 mph more speed! Was flipping great!

Waiting in line to enter..

First pass with slicks.

Backing into the waterbox.

My son caught this shot just right.

On the return road.

At the time of pickup, August 17th 2008 , New Jersey.

The grill was broke into 7 pieces and the lower insert was trashed.

Some of the sheet metal was nasty but very solid underneath. 

The interior was a mess, but everything was there. The seat had several broken springs.

Like I said, a mess! The floorpan was good aside from a hole on the passenger side (fixed)

Under the hood was also all there, dig the 70's dealer installed Dana cruise control!

I completely stripped the body and interior and then sent it off to the bodyshop.

I did all the detail work including retaping the harness, re-spraying behind the grill, redoing the headlamp buckets, latches, etc.

Doesn't look like the same car does it? It took me 2 weeks to rebuild the grill! Several pieces were missing which had to be made from scratch.

I still have to reinstall the windshield trim, still polishing it and making sure the new gasket doesn't leak.

Now that looks a bit better eh? Tuff wheel is a reproduction.

The whole dash was pulled out of the car (I removed the windshield) and the odd holes were welded up and filled. I repainted the dash, repaired the harness, cleaned and polished the cluster and painted the steering column too. The radio is a JVC stereo with CD player and MP3 player input, the hole was already there and modern tunes would be nice. Speakers are hiding under the dash. The sill plates are original, I knocked out the dents and polished them up in the garage.

Still have to install the headrests but wish for the seat skins to settle a bit first.

Took a year or two but finally found the carpet I was looking for.

Before the 318 came out I tossed a Performer intake on with a 625 cfm Carter with a reproduction 4bbl aircleaner.

Out comes the 318!

5.9 Magnum power! Enginequest heads with Crane roller cam and 1.7 roller rockers. The a/c will go back on when it is detailed up.

Reproduction battery with AGM, ventless! No acid to spill...

Had lots of fun actually doing some of the detail work... Not finished yet but getting there. 

Exhaust system is from Summit racing with home grown H-pipe made from scrap. 904 was rebuilt and fortified.

Rear end was rebuilt with 3.55's and a Auburn diff from a Jeep! Tank, springs and area detailed while at it.


Installing the stripes, was going to go black but after looking at a lot of cars settled on the white ones.

At local car show (Ocean Beach)

Installing the slicks at Lebanon Valley.

Shakedown! Nothing exciting, 14.2 at 94 mph on first outing. Gratifying that the car ran best just as I drove it to the track! Any changes just slowed the car down. The 318 exhaust manifolds need to go into the dumpster as I think they are choking the engine. I have a larger roller cam for the engine too as the one that is in there is pretty mild.

Hanging out at the Berlin Turnpike.

Not done with the car yet- At some point in the future the a/c will be reinstalled, I'm going to install an overdrive transmission (already got it,) need to pull the engine to paint the engine bay and detail the front suspension along installing a front sway bar setup.


Thanks for visiting Donovan's Dodge Garage