Thursday, October 20, 2016

Duster: Plymouth's Sporty 1970 Valiant

Chrysler Corporation's large sedans were redesigned for 1969 and given what was termed "fuselage" styling, a more rounded-off appearance than the previous "three-box" angular look.  Other models carried on with the older style, among them the compact (in the American context) Plymouth Valiant.

The decision was made to freshen the Valiant line by adding a sporty looking coupe with semi-fastback styling.  This became the Plymouth Duster of 1970-1976 (Wikipedia entry here).  As the entry mentions, the Duster was a sales success to the point that Dodge launched its Demon model the following year as a facelifted Duster.


Here is a 1970 Plymouth Valiant.  Everything from the cowl forward was used on the Duster.

Rear three-quarter view of a Valiant four-door sedan.  The character line on the lower part of the rear door was used on the Duster as was the rear bumper (minus the cut-outs for the backup lights).

Front three-quarter view of a 1970 Duster.  The windshield framing seems slightly different than the Valiant's (more rounded corners) and the greenhouse and upper fender line are new.

Side view of a 1970 Duster 340, the muscle car version of the Duster (Barrett-Jackson auction photo).  The Duster shares the Valiant's rear overhang, which helps visually reduce the size of the greenhouse to the point where it seems too small.

This rear view shows most of the Duster-specific styling.  Given that it is a major facelift of a design with considerably different character, it's hard for me to criticize the result, which is distinctive and fairly pleasing.  Were this a from-scratch design, I would criticize proportions and the front end's differing character.

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