Since there was no new model immediately forthcoming, Duster planners concentrated on improving their existing car. The 1973 Space Duster Pak option (also known as the Spacemaker Pak) was the result.
The 1973 Duster had a revised look which featured a new
grille and hood, squarer taillights, and larger bumpers.
The 340 also gained new side and rear-panel striping.
Harking back to the original 1964 Valiant Barracuda, the engineers reconfigured the body bracing to allow passage between the passenger compartment and the trunk.
The rear seatback folded flat forward, while a security panel immediately behind folded backward, creating an opening 64 inches wide and 13.5 inches tall. The happy result was a fully-carpeted cargo area 6.5 feet long (long enough for skis and surfboards), offering 56 cubic feet of cargo space.
And if you opted for a sunroof (metal this year, as opposed to the folding vinyl sunroofs available in 1971-1972), you could also haul taller objects through the hole in the roof.
Plymouth Dusters could always swallow loads of stuff. With the Space Duster option, the car's cargo capacity was truly enormous.
The product plan for the 1973 Plymouth Duster also called for front- and rear-end "freshening." Up front, a new hood was created that featured a "power dome" raised center shape.
The new grille was a series of argent rectangular horizontal boxes, eggcrate-filled and stacked three high. The center ones were the same width as the hood dome, while the outboard boxes were interrupted by the parking lamps.
Running along the top was a bright molding which widened under the power dome to display the Plymouth name. New rectangular headlamp doors completed the look. A deeper front bumper was fronted by massive vertical guards necessary to meet new federal bumper impact standards.
At the other end, above the new deeper rear bumper, fresh lamps -- their lenses still split horizontally -- were moved to the outboard ends of the lower deck panel and framed in conventional bright bezels.
These lamps were actually cheaper than the chromeless ones on the original Plymouth Duster. But the combined front and rear appearance changes, with their new formality, seemed to move the Plymouth Duster away from the original concept of a hip, slightly counter-culture little coupe.
The Twister and Gold Duster packages continued with subtle changes; a new hood blackout treatment with smaller fake scoops for the Twister, new side and deck panel striping available in gold, black, or white for the Gold Duster.
The Plymouth Duster 340 also sported reworked body-side and rear striping. The front suspension was tweaked via new upper and lower control arms, improved upper ball joints, and new knuckle arms.
The V-8-equipped Dusters now came with front disc brakes standard (power on the 340), while all engines were fitted with electronic ignitions. Interior fabrics were upgraded considerably. As a result, Plymouth Duster production increased once again, this time to 264,974 cars.
In 1974, the Plymouth Duster 360, with a larger-displacement 245-horsepower engine was introduced to the public. Find out more about the Plymouth Duster 360 on the next page.
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