Plymouth may have disappeared as an automobile brand in 2001, but it remains an iconic name thanks to the performance vehicles it designed in the golden muscle car. Notable nameplates include the Barracuda, Road Runner, Superbird, and the GTX, but Plymouth also built high-performance variants of the Satellite, Belvedere, and Duster.
The latter doesn't get as much love as its 1960s and 1970s siblings though. It's unclear whether it's the design, the small size, or the lack of big-block V8 engines, but this short-lived nameplate (1970-1976) is actually pretty cool.
Sure, the entry-level six-cylinder engines were rather lazy, but Plymouth offered a potent 340-cubic-inch (5.6-liter) V8 in the early 1970s. Good for 275 horsepower and 340 pound-feet of torque, it was potent enough to make the Duster one of the quickest American compacts out there. Especially since the car tipped the scales at less than 3,300 pounds (less than 1,500 kg).
The drag race you're about to see below is proof that the Duster isn't as slow as its power figures suggest. And this duel is a tough one for the compact, as the opponent is a 1969 Road Runner stuffed with a 440-cubic-inch (7.2-liter) six-barrel V8.
One of Mopar's more iconic mills, this powerplant cranks out 390 horsepower and a whopping 490 pound-feet of twist. That's a lot of extra oomph, but it should be noted that the Road Runner is also around 500 pounds (227 kg) heavier than a Duster. So maybe the gap isn't that big?
Well, it's a race that the Road Runner can't lose unless it has some sort of technical difficulties or hits a red light, but this duel is closer than the numbers suggest. Sure, both cars feature upgrades specific to the Factory Stock Drag Race category, which allows some mods, but the Road Runner remains the more powerful car.
However, because the Duster is lighter and off to a better start, the Road Runner is only two-tenths quicker at the finish line. But needless to say, both cars post impressive ETs at 12.45 and 12.67 seconds, respectively. Check it all out in the video below.