Having spent most of their 1971 tooling dollars on new parts for the limited-volume Duster 340, the Plymouth sales and marketing types created the Plymouth Duster Twister package (the name itself a neat twist on Duster) in hopes of getting wider use from the new tools.
The 1971 Plymouth Duster had a distinctive grille
and new graphics included with its Twister package.
Announced in February, it was available on six- and eight-cylinder cars. Twisters were fitted with the distinctive 340 grille and a special black "Duster twirl" bodyside tape stripe with Twister decals.
Except for a black-and-body-color strobe treatment on the center plateau, the hood was blacked out and could be ordered with twin flat black simulated hood scoops. Lower deck stripes, dual racing mirrors, wheel lip and drip rail moldings, deluxe seat trim, whitewalls, and Rallye road wheels (sans trim rings) completed the package.
To hammer home the idea that the Twister was a 340 look-alike, a neat double-page ad showed a Duster 340 and a Twister parked side by side, both in identical Lime Light paint.
Despite the yearly expenditures of tooling dollars, Chrysler's market-leading compacts had not been totally redesigned since 1967. Thus, as originally planned, the 1972 compacts were to be all-new, and the Plymouth and Dodge exterior studios had prepared attractive Darts, Valiants, Dusters, and Demons with softer lines and rounder body sections.
But these cars were stillborn. During 1970, when the go/no-go decision had to be made, Chrysler was undergoing one of its customary crises. Financial uncertainty, coupled with the Duster's runaway success, led the planners to cancel the all-new cars.
The 1972 Gold Duster package included a new "canopy"
vinyl roof covering that covered only the forward portion
of the top and was available in two colors.
Designers were disappointed, but in retrospect, the planners were right. The existing A-bodies were so popular that they didn't have to be changed; they continued to command more than a third of the compact-car segment.
Plymouth stylists scrambled to add new seasonings to the existing Duster. Changes were concentrated at the rear, where the new taillights were wider and still split horizontally, but by the argent plastic lens collar and not by sheetmetal.
Underhood, the 340 V-8, with its compression ratio reduced to 8.5:1 and net horsepower to 240, was now available on any Duster. Optional on all V-8s was an electronic ignition system eliminating the condenser and breaker points. For the ecologically-minded, a two-quart plastic litter bag was standard, attached to the inside of the glove box door.
The Gold Duster's front seats
folded quite flat
to ease rear-seat entry.
A full vinyl roof, which terminated in an unnatural and unattractive break at the top of the rear quarters, was still available. Whitewall tires. Satellite wheel covers, drip moldings, special interior trim, and gold lower deck panel tape stripes completed the look. Duster production hit 228,012 units.
In 1973, Plymouth didn't have a new model coming to the marketplace, so they focused their attention on the 1973 Space Duster Pak options. Find out more about this
package on the next page.
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