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Plymouth Trail Duster: It's hard to be a bastard

Plymouth Trail Duster: It's hard to be a bastard
Without any intention of offending, we called the Plymouth Trail Duster SUV the illegitimate, illegitimate son of Chrysler. Is the Dodge Ramcharger “clone” better? “The fruit of badge engineering” isn’t humiliating? Dodge and Plymouth, we recall, are branches of Chrysler.

It turns out that the Plymouth Trail Duster is not itself, but someone else’s copy, repetition, reflection. They copied it from someone, copied it, ripped it off... Honor and glory to the original. And this one worked, puffed up the mountain, puffed on the rocks, pulled himself out of the mud, and is not worthy of a kind word outside of connection with his older brother - the Dodge Ramcharger?

Model overview

I don’t want to admit it, but it’s true: the Plymouth Trail Duster is a repeat of the big Ramcharger. Turning one into another is a couple of manipulations. They tore out the radiator grille, installed a slightly modified one, attached the Plymouth nameplate - and a new car was ready. Yes! They gave it their own name.

Plymouth Trail Duster: трудно быть бастардом Plymouth Trail Duster is a clone of the Dodge Ramcharger. Photo: YouTube.com

And thanks for that. Our hero did not lay claim to a specially designed chassis, design, or components. One word - bastard. The model was released not so long ago (1974-1981), but they have already forgotten its name. However, like the Plymouth manufacturing company itself, which ceased to exist in 2001.

Now only rare fans of the brand can talk about the Plymouth Trail Duster SUV. We are among the admirers, so we will restore justice to the best of our ability.


The Trail Duster arrived at a time when Ford launched the Bronco and GM launched the Chevrolet K5 Blazer. The response to competitors turned out to be worthy.

A still from a commercial for the Plymouth Trail Duster. Photo: YouTube.com

The utilitarian off-road vehicle was built on a ladder frame and shortened chassis of a Dodge D-100 pickup truck. The appearance of the car radiated courage, power and strength. The body is 2-door with a tailgate. A removable roof is installed over the cargo compartment.

The full-size sports SUV took up a lot of space:

✅ Length - 4775 mm
✅ Width - 2019 mm
✅ Height - 1882 mm

The distance between the bridges was 2692 mm, the weight was 1735 kg. The wheel arches accommodated 15-inch rollers.

Strong and capable, the Plymouth Trail Duster excels on rocky slopes. Photo: YouTube.com

The spacious interior is decorated with high-quality materials at the level of an expensive sedan. The thrilling off-road experience could be shared by 6 people.

Motor and chassis

At first, the SUV was produced in a rear-wheel drive version, which suited residents of flat regions with little snow. But it wasn't enough for the rocky western states.

The manufacturer met the users halfway: since 1975, torque has been distributed to all four wheels. The engine range included a 3,7-liter inline-six, but the owners preferred 8-cylinder units.

Parameters of the V8 engine located longitudinally at the front:

✅ Volume - 5898 cm3
✅ Power - 185 liters. With. at 4,0 thousand rpm
✅ Moment of force - 384 N * m at 1,6 thousand rpm

The developers chose a 4-speed manual transmission. In the independent suspension at the front, road unevenness was absorbed by springs; at the rear, a dependent mechanism on springs worked.

A car with such a logo on board costs about 73 thousand euros. Photo: YouTube.com

The car was slowed down by front disc brakes, and the rear axle was served by hydraulic drum structures.

We summarize

The Plymouth Trail Duster impresses with its impressive exterior, functional interior and reliable performance.

The vehicle lives up to its reputation as a versatile and durable all-terrain vehicle. With its timeless design and reliable performance, the car continues to win the hearts of enthusiasts and adventurers.

We were curious about the prices for the SUV. They didn’t find the car in Russia, but they were surprised that the body parts were welcome. In the USA, a 1979 car with a mileage of more than 700 thousand km costs around 73 thousand euros.


Photos used: youtube.com

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