What We Like: Relatively cheap, readily available, comparatively easy-to-find parts, the platform will accept the traditional Mopar performance parts to build your own hot rod.

What We Hate: Ornate luxury trim levels and a granny-car image on the later models.

The Factory Dream Combo: The '70 340 Swinger was one of the toughest looking A-Bodies ever built.

Our "Build It" Dream Combo: We would favor a svelte '70-'72 Dart-the perfect basis for a low-buck bruiser big-block swap.

Duster '70-'76As the Barracuda faded from the A-Body lineup at the end of the '69 model year, Plymouth debuted the phenomenally successful low-priced Duster in 1970. The Duster merged Valiant front-end sheetmetal with all-new two-door semi-fastback styling. The sweeping roofline and rear quarters gave the Duster a sporting appearance, while commonality of parts with the Valiant made for an exceptionally low-priced car. When the 340 engine was ordered, the lightweight Duster 340 was a true giant-killer on the street. The 340 package continued through '73, though by '72 the engine was tuned down and derated. Factory performance Dusters continued until the end of A-Body production in 1976, with the underappreciated Duster 360s among the hottest performance cars available in the mid '70s.

Factory performance Duster 340s, particularly '70 and '71 models, have become recognized and sought after as collectibles in recent years, commanding serious prices in restored condition. Plain Jane Dusters are still a great value, and because of their vast production runs, bargains and project cars can still be nabbed at lowball prices. Though the factory hot rods are getting scarce today, any Duster is an excellent platform for a performance buildup. Fill out the basic Duster with the mechanicals of your choice, and what can be made of these versatile A-Bodies is limited only by your imagination.

What We Like: Light weight, relatively easy-to-find parts, performance pedigree and heritage since day one with the Duster 340s and famous drag machines like "Mongoose" McEwen's AA Funny car. We can still find Slant Six and 318 Dusters far cheaper than B- and E-Bodies.

What We Hate: Clueless doofus TV producers who think a Duster would be a perfect loser ride for Al Bundy, then call it a Dodge.

The Factory Dream Combo: A '71 340 four-speed in Sassy Grass Green, with the hood blackout, wild "Wedge" graphic, and 340 side stripe.

Our "Build It" Dream Combo: The Strope-built "Dust-Ya" do-all machine does it all for us.

Demon/Dart Sport '71-'76One year after Plymouth's wildly successful introduction of the semi-fastback Duster, Dodge came to the market with the handsome Demon. The Demon shared sheetmetal with the Duster, but with unique taillights and a front clip borrowed from the Dart line. With a narrow chrome front bumper over a sheetmetal valance panel, the Demon had a distinctively different appearance than the Duster. An attractive stripe package and available twin hood scoops complemented the look. The Demon became Dodge's performance compact, having the 340 listed on its option sheet while it was absent from the Dart. For '73, the Demon name was dropped in favor of Dart Sport, but Dodge continued to offer their top small-block as a performance option until the end of the line in 1976.

What We Like: The Demon looks like a hot rod, with aggressive striping and black-out treatments, scoops, wheels, and exhaust. The Demon 340 was a performance car marketed unambiguously as a performance car.

What We Hate: The name change in '73 to "Dart Sport." It's nondescript in our opinion-like calling the '69 'Cuda 340 a "Valiant 340 Sport."

The Factory Dream Combo: A '71 Demon 340 decked with the full barrage of appearance options, High Impact Color, Rallye wheels, and a floor-shifted T-Flite or 833 4-gear. As with most of the performance cars for '71, Dodge pulled out the stops on boulevard presence.