It was a tough year in 1972, as this was the last year for the high-compression 340. Fuel economy was getting more attention by all the Big Three. The only visible change in the A-Body was a new grille for the Dart, Swinger, and Demon.

For the 1973 model year, the Demon was renamed the Dart Sport because of pressure from certain religious groups. The matte-black hood was dropped, but the other trim details continued. This also marked the first year for federally mandated 5-mph front bumper and 2 1/2-mph rear bumper damage-resistance as standard fare. The electronic ignition system became standard, and the 340 got a compression cut. The new Torsion Quiet Ride added more chassis rubber, and non-Slant-Six-powered A-Bodies switched to the same (large) wheel bolt-pattern as the B-Body and E-Body cars. A manual sunroof and a fold-down rear seat joined the Duster/Dart Sport option lists. This was the last year for the 198-inch Slant Six. This would also be the last year for the Scamp/Swinger's front vent windows.

In 1974, the federally mandated bumper standards toughen to 5 mph for the front and rear, necessitating a rearend restyle to sedans, Swingers, and Scamps. The 225 was now the only Slant Six offered. The 340 was replaced by a four-barrel-equipped 360, and the oil shortage in October 1973 all but killed Chrysler's big car sales only a month after the newly styled C-Body was introduced. Luckily, A-Body car sales picked up the slack. The extra-plush Valiant Brougham and Dart Special Edition models were offered as hardtops and sedans that appeared at midyear and stayed in the A-Body lineup through 1976.

In 1975, even tougher federal emission-standards lead to catalytic converters on Slant Six and 318 V-8s (the 318 was available with an air pump/cat-delete option in all states except California). The Duster 360 and Dart Sport 360 had dual exhausts without cats, but were 49-state-only cars and not sold in California. The "Hang 10" dcor option was offered on the Dart Sport. Despite sales success, A-Body cars were overproduced, leading to an industry first use of rebates to buyers (Chrysler Car Clearance Carnival) in the spring of 1975.

In 1976, with the introduction of the F-Body (Volare/Aspen), marketing and promotion of the A-Body lineup was curtailed, leading to a big sales drop. The Feather Duster and Dart Lite models were added with lightweight body components, Slant Six engines, economy-geared OD four-speeds and rearends. The Duster 360 and Dart Sport 360 models were discontinued, but the powertrain and chassis hardware was offered as an E58 package that was optional on any A-Body. Police versions of the Dart and Valiant sedans were offered, and most were built with Slant Six or 318 V-8s. The 360-powered Dart Sport finished a strong second in Car & Driver magazine's National Civil Disobedience Test, well ahead of the 455-powered Pontiac Firebird Trans Am and 302-powered Ford Mustang II Based Cobra II. A-Body production ceased with the end of the '76 model year.

Chrysler Assembly Plants That Built The A-Body
(Courtesy of
Hamtramck, Michigan
Former Dodge Main plant
Opened 1914; closed 1980
A-Body production 1960-1975

  • Valiant 1960-'75
  • Lancer 1961-'62
  • Dart 1963-'75
  • Barracuda 1964-'69

St. Louis (Fenton), Missouri
Opened 1959; still in operation
A-Body production 1960-1976

  • Valiant 1960-'65, 1973-'76
  • Lancer 1961-'62
  • Dart 1963-'65, 1973-'76

Los Angeles (Bellflower), California
Opened 1932; closed 1971
A-Body production 1960-1971

  • Valiant 1960-'71
  • Lancer 1961-'62
  • Dart 1963-'71
  • Barracuda 1964-'66, 1969

Newark, DelawareFormer tank plant converted to car production in 1957; slated for closure in 2008
A-Body production 1960-1964

  • Valiant 1960-'64, 1974-'75
  • Dart 1974-'75

Windsor, Ontario Chrysler Centre plant
Opened 1928; still in operation
A-Body production 1960-1975

  • Valiant 1960-'65, 1969-'75
  • Dart 1965-'66, 1969-'75