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1971 Plymouth Duster Shorty Is So Weird It's Actually Cool, Still Rocks V8 Power

Shortening a car may seem like a strange idea today, but it used to be a more common customization practice a few decades ago. Why? I have no idea, but I guess they could be a lot of fun to drive? All I know is shorties are an intriguing way to stand out at the local cars and coffee. And this 1971 Plymouth Duster is no exception.
1971 Plymouth Duster shorty 16 photos
1971 Plymouth Duster shorty1971 Plymouth Duster shorty1971 Plymouth Duster shorty1971 Plymouth Duster shorty1971 Plymouth Duster shorty1971 Plymouth Duster shorty1971 Plymouth Duster shorty1971 Plymouth Duster shorty1971 Plymouth Duster shorty1971 Plymouth Duster shorty1971 Plymouth Duster shorty1971 Plymouth Duster shorty1971 Plymouth Duster shorty1971 Plymouth Duster shorty1971 Plymouth Duster shorty
Shortened sometime in the 1970s, this Duster had its wheelbase reduced to only a third of its original size, while the front and rear overhangs remained untouched. The doors were removed altogether, so ingress and egress are possible only by jumping over the side panels. Good thing this Mopar is a convertible, right?

But the proportions and the lack of doors aren't the only things that make this Duster look weird. The green lace motifs that cover the upper part of the yellow body also give it a psychedelic look. Far from tasteful, I know, but these finishes were a thing back in the 1970s.

And check out the five-slot wheels, the dual intake, and the quick-release pins on the hood. Whoever built this thing wanted a true-blue muscle car shorty.

The interior has been redone as well. Sure, the car still sports an authentic Duster dashboard, but the seats have been redone to include reclined backrests. The vinyl side panels are rolled over the top of the side panels, a feature likely inspired by 1930s luxury cars.

Look close enough, and you'll notice the unusual position of the gear level, placed right under the steering wheel. I'm pretty sure it's rather uncomfortable to drive with a shifter between your legs (even if it's an automatic), but hey, sacrifices have to be made if you want a three-person bench seat in a shorty.

But while it's shorter than the average Plymouth Duster, this Mopar comes with a full-size V8 under the hood. Displacing 360 cubic inches (5.9 liters), the V8 is true to what Plymouth offered in this car in the 1970s. However, it's not a numbers-matching mill since the Duster didn't get a 360 until 1974.

Even so, Mopar engines of this size from the era were good for more than 200 horsepower, and that's more than enough to push a shorty quite fast toward 60 mph (97 kph) and down the quarter-mile. Not that it's something you want to do in a car like this, but I know you like numbers. And just for reference, the 1974 Duster 360 came with a solid 245 horsepower and 320 pound-feet (434 Nm) of twist.

Even though this build is more than 40 years old, it appears to be in great condition inside and out. Sure, the paint shows its age, but it's in far better shape than most classics from that era. As for the drivetrain, it runs as it should, according to the seller.

Yup, this car has a seller, because it's looking for a new home. If you're in the market for a shorty that you can still call a muscle car, this 1971 Duster fits the bill. And it fits in a small garage too.

The shortened Mopar is being auctioned off by eBay seller "pastandpresentmotor" and the bidding is at $8,300 with 24 hours left to go as of this writing. There is a "reserve not met" status though.

I'd definitely give this Duster a spin, although this 1956 Chevy Nomad shorty is also an interesting choice. Would you drive a shorty?

Editor's note: This article was not sponsored or supported by a third-party.

 
 
 
 
 

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