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127 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My first car, bought with hard-earned grocery bagging money, was (and still is) my 1973 Dodge Dart Sport. It's all original, 318/3spd, 2.73 axle, Currently has 140,000 miles, a few dings and nicks here and there but the body is very solid.

So I got the car when I was 17, back in the mid 1990s. I really cherished it...washed it (probably too often), changed the oil (every month!), kept the interior immaculate, etc...but I refused to drive it in the winter and it became pretty impractical as I was paranoid to leave it in a parking lot unattended, etc. I held onto the car but have since cycled through quite a few daily drivers and weekend-only performance cars...and the Dart has been sitting outside under a cover for years.

I took a look at the car yesterday...and it hit me that I had to pass it on to someone else before it really started to rot away. The interior is still in good shape. There is some mildew on the vinyl...but so far, it's wiping right off and it doesn't smell. The original paint still looks ok but it desperately needs a wash and a wax. The engine...didn't start. It didn't even crank over when jumped...I haven't had time to trouble shoot it yet but it was showing its age and probably due for a crate engine as of the last time I drove it.

Can anyone offer any advice on selling this car? What does a solid/non running A-Body go for?
Where would you advertise it?

While I recognize that this is irrational, this car will not be sold to someone who seems like they would trash it...though my neglect over the past 7-8 years hasn't done the car any favors. :)
Thanks for any input!

EDIT: I can't seem to figure out how to upload a here's a picture that I linked to the Miata forums (a Miata is my current daily driver) years ago. The pic was taken a year or two before I parked it.

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127 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
First things first, the problem is almost certainly the starter (or solenoid or lock or transmission switch). First, make sure you have good heavy jumper cables. Second, try starting it from neutral instead of Park in case the issue is the switch. Third, if it still does nothing when turning the key, go to the relevant Allpar section and continue from there. If it was the ballast resistor, it would turn over but not start.

The 318 is in your favor as is being a Dart Sport rather than a Valiant four-door. When you say three speed, do you mean manual or automatic? Still it's not a terrifically valuable car.

Disclaimer: I have a 1974 Plymouth Valiant slant-six and have my eye on a 318 powered 1974 Valiant Brougham. And yes, selling's a good idea at this point. It really needs to be indoors and driven now and then

PS> If you want to sell it, for Heaven's sake, tell us where you are.
Awesome information...Thanks so much for taking the time to wrote that up. It very well may be the switch...honestly, if the starter motor quit, I wouldn't be surprised. It worked incredibly well considering the age and amount of use.
I will try all of these things this weekend, assuming it stops raining for long enough. :)

The car has the 904. It would be interesting if it was a 3spd manual. Did they still offer that in 73? The only A-Bodies that I have seen with this transmission were '72 or older.

His profile says CT. There is a decent market for these cars, especially if unmolested and relatively rust-free. I see too many of them for sale with body-painted bumpers, garish colors, big blocks stuffed in, roll cages welded in, etc.

This should fetch at least a few thousand dollars - pictures would be helpful.
Thanks for this input, Bob. The car is solid...I am indeed in CT...the car lived much of its life (about half, I guess) in South Carolina which undoubtedly helped minimize the salt exposure.

The chrome is faded on the bumpers but they are presentable...and fortunately, I didn't have the money for the 440 swap that I wanted, otherwise this car probably would have been a pro-street/freak of nature like the rest of them.

If I could get anything like a few thousand for it...and it wasn't headed for the demolition derby, I'd be happy. I know it's not a rare collectable...

Honestly these A-Bodies are just good driving cars. As much as I wanted a fire breathing muscle car, it didn't really lack for anything. The 318 was always torquey and smooth...and it sounded great.

I'll clean it up over the next couple of weeks and post up some pictures. I'm not to big of a man to admit that I'll cry when this car leaves my possesion. :D

I really, really appreciate the input, guys.

That was my thought. FWIW, there's a guy in NE PA selling a mint 318 Valiant Brougham, but he might have arleady sold it, for $7,500. It's very low mileage (I think 12,000?) and looks new, inside and out -- looks far better than my own 14,000 mile Valiant.
That's insanely low mileage...for both of these cars. Amazing!!

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127 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well... nearly two years have passed and the Dart is not only still in my possesion but it is getting some of the much needed/deserved love that it should have gotten 10 years earlier.

I just couldn't make myself sell it.

The original 318 is...shot. The motor is locked up, which certainly explains why it wouldn't turn over. I pulled the motor and I'm trying to decide what to do with it. It will need a full teardown/rebuild and while an all numbers-matching Dart would be cool, I'm ok with putting that on the back burner but any mods that I do to the car will be done in as reversible as possible fashion... So if the desire comes along, the car can be returned to stock.

I picked up a used "Magnum 300" 5.9L crate motor from a good guy on the A904 has gotten a rebuild with a TF2 shift kit, upgraded clutches, deep pan, external cooler, etc. I am working with the fellow who sold the engine to me on an A-Body width suregrip 8.75" axle...still trying to decide which ratio. The car now has a huge Champion radiator with high performance electric fans. Cooling should be no problem.

It's mostly back together (with the stock 7.25" axle....yikes) and my goal for this summer is to get this all together and get it running reliably. Next summer I will look into subframe connectors, and refreshing/upgrading suspension components, cam/valvesprings/headers, etc.

Thanks to all for the input on selling the car but I'm glad I didn't go down that path. This project is really making the long, dark winter a lot more tolerable.

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127 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Bearhawke said:
MRGTX: I hope you're aware of the external balance issues with the 360 and the need for a 360 only balancer and torque converter or at least a special flexplate unlike the '318' pieces. :)
Thank you...and yes, I am. Finding the right flex plate was a bit of a pain in the rear since my use of the 904 is apparently bit out of the ordinary

The motor came with the weighted flex plate that went with a 727...but B&M has long since stopped making one for the 904...I ended up with a Dodge Ram 5.9L weighted flex plate that was the correct diameter for my trans, mated up to a neutral balance TCI torque converter with 2600 rpm stall speed.
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