Auction Pick of the Week: 1976 Plymouth Trail Duster
It didn’t receive the hoopla that the Dodge Ramcharger did, but the Plymouth Trail Duster is nearly identical except for a few pieces of trim. Plus, it’s rarer. Which makes it a solid alternative to the more expensive and more popular Ramcharger.
Plymouth’s first and only SUV, the Trail Duster PW-100 was introduced along with the new Ramcharger AW-100, which served as Dodge’s long-awaited answer to the Ford Bronco, Chevrolet K5 Blazer, and International Scout. The Trail Duster, which received less attention and was offered as a discounted version of the Dodge, was built from 1974–81 and had approximately 36,000 buyers—about one-third as many as the Ramcharger did during the same time period. And since these trucks were primarily utilitarian and designed for off-roading, who knows how many still survive.
Which brings us to this 1976 Plymouth Trail Duster Sport listed on Hagerty Marketplace. Showing only 19,459 actual miles—yes, we said actual—this Trail Duster 4×4 (VIN AAOBE6X104516) was sold new to Bob Stoody by Sankey Motor Company in Delta, Colorado. And, although Plymouth advertised the Trail Duster as a “highly maneuverable, extremely capable sports-utility vehicle with up-to-the-minute styling that makes it at home anywhere,” its home has always been in Delta. In fact, its second and current owner told Old Cars Weekly in 2021 that it had never even traveled outside the state of Colorado. He purchased it from his next-door neighbor’s widow in 2017 after admiring it from afar for years.
Clearly, both of the Trail Duster’s owners treated it like a cherished member of the family. Finished in Light Gold and white over a tan vinyl interior, it wears its original paint, rides on its original Goodyear Tracker A/T 10-15 LT-B raised white letter tires (safer for display than real-world driving, we’d suggest), and has its original, optional removable hardtop. It even retains its original valve-cover stickers. Under the hood is a 150-horsepower 318-cubic-inch V-8 with a dual-barrel carburetor, mated to the optional Torqueflite automatic transmission.
The Sport package includes Sport medallions, simulated wood-grain vinyl applique, bright tail-light bezels, bright hubcaps, deluxe front bucket seats, and a lockable floor console with a removable Styrofoam cooler.
Among its many features: power steering, power front disc brakes, manual windows, pivoting vent windows, electronic ignition, air conditioning, AM radio, door-mounted map pockets, three-passenger rear bench seat, pneumatic assist for lifting the rear tailgate glass, white spoke steel wheels, chrome bumpers, rear hitch, and a 3.55:1 axle ratio.
Known imperfections include a minor dent on the passenger front fender, minor paint chips, a minor dent in the hardtop on the driver’s side, and a small imperfection on the passenger side of the hood.
While a 1976 Dodge Ramcharger SE (with 318-cu-in V-8) in #2 (Excellent) condition carries an average value of $25,100, a nearly-identical 1976 Plymouth Trail Duster Sport is valued at $23,600. You won’t get this one for that, though. With eight days remaining until the auction closes on Friday, December 1 at 3:30 p.m. EST, bidding has already rocketed to $24,500.
Perhaps the Trail Duster is finally getting its due—this time around, at least.