1971 Swinger 340 Specials
Read All About It – Sort of
These 2 ads ran in both Edmonton and Regina newspapers letting the public know that these 340 Specials were for sale. There was mention that radio ads ran as well.
All of these Swingers were ordered and built as the Swinger Special which has the VIN prefix of LL23H1R (L=Dart, L=Low, 23=2 Door Hardtop, H=340, 1=71, R=Windsor, Ontario Plant). The cars carry the very coveted Y39 ‘special’ order code as indicated on the broadcast sheets, but the Special does not denote the special run (although it was), rather it denotes the base or bottom line of the Dart model (think low buck street/race car).
As of 2018, there now appears to have been a total of 83 ’71 Swinger 340 Specials built – with Crosstown Motor City in Edmonton instigating the total order and receiving the lions share of 63, with 18 deferred to Crestview, Dodge in Regina and 2 migrating up to a dealership in Fort St. John, BC.
An 'H' code '71 Swinger? No such thing.
The 1971 Swinger 340 Special was neither offered in the U.S. or Canada but was a special factory order by essentially one Western Canadian dealership. The fastback Demon 340 had replaced the hardtop 1970 Swinger 340 in the Dodge lineup and fans of performance A-body hardtops, which were very popular here in Canada, were left empty handed. Crosstown Motor City in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada did something no one else did or could – they ordered a very limited run of hi-performance low buck Dart Swinger 340 Specials through Chrysler head office, thus creating a truly unique chapter in American Muscle Car history.
A Special look back
These 2 photos were captured in the early ’90’s by Dan Rasmussen, the owner at the time of the A4 Winchester Grey ’71 340 Special in the middle. Rick Dempsey (who owned the J6 GoGreen car) was driving by a Tim Horton’s in Edmonton and spotted the other 2 cars in the parking lot, and had to stop and chat. The Y1 car was owned by Calvin Roy at the time, and it had come out of Vernon, BC and was pretty rusty at that time and was sold a while after. The A4 was Dan Rasmussen’s at the time and we know the car came out of Saskatoon but was owned by Calvin back in Weyburn, SK as a high school daily driver - which was bought back by Calvin in the early '90's but sold in '95. It then exchanged hands a few times and disappeared. This A4 car is hopefully still alive and is thought to be in Calgary somewhere… both Dan and Calvin would love to have this car back. If anyone knows of it’s where about’s, please contact us here!
Ahh, the illusive broadcast sheet. It's always nice to have found it, letting you know what went into building these great little muscle cars (this example shows a Crestview version with trim update hand written at the bottom).
Almost all these '71's have their original fender tags intact, which is great. Here I'm showing 2 of them from the Crosstown cars hi-lighting how they were stamped. If 'hood scoops' were indicated, your car had them, and if not - not. Interesting.
The Hard Facts
'Special' Stories, new and old...
Crosstown Motor City
Crosstown Motor City in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada sold a lot more muscle than these Swinger 340 Specials...
Previous numbers of 65 and 75 cars were only estimates, however, according to new research and a first hand account of what actually happened by the original Crosstown Sales Manager, Bob Beveridge, it is now known that a total of 83 were built for 1971. With owner Zane Feldman, Bob and the sales team moving large volumes of cars for head office at that time, they were soon demanding a few more things back. So when Dodge discontinued the Swinger 340 for ’71, they still wanted a ‘price point’ Swinger 340 for the drag racing scene, which was hot in Edmonton at the time. Sure there was the new Demon but they cost a bit more and they needed a stripped down version at a low price point, so they ‘special’ ordered some Swinger 340’s - hey, the worse that could happen was for them to say no but with Zane in a direct pipeline to head office in Windsor, and if needed, in Detroit, the order started coming together.
Bob first asked for a whopping 300 of these cars but knew that wasn’t going to happen - hey, start high... and as things dragged along - so much so that things were getting close to the ‘build out’ time as it was already almost May. Also, with Drag racing season getting into full swing and knowing they were going to be the guys buying these cars, they needed to get these cars built. So, after some prodding from Zane and Bob along with some back and forth and factory commitments, the total build number was soon whittled down to 83 units. Then, as time was dragging along they realized their lot footprint wouldn't allow all 83. They then reached out to regional office (Red Deer) and knowing a number of other dealerships wanting in on these 340 Specials, they in turn made some arrangements with a couple other Western Canadian dealerships, and when the dust settled, 18 were taken over by Crestveiw Dodge in Regina, Saskatchewan and a couple drop shipped to Ft. St. John, BC with the remaining 63 being sold out of the Crosstown lot.
All of these 340 Specials were built sequentially with all V.I.N. numbers and order numbers in consecutive order, which means one of these cars can be identified by the VIN or the order number located on the fender data tag. All fender tags and broadcast sheets indicate L2X9 interiors – however the 25 Crestview cars were all upgraded to the H2XW interiors, hand written in red marker on all their broadcast sheets even though the tag and sheet show L2X9.
The 63 Crosstown cars had a scheduled build date of 507 (May 7) and all came as plane jane LL Swinger Specials – sporting the base L2X9 taxi cab type interiors, no bright work inside or out, all had vinyl floors and no armrests in the back - as the SPECIAL would have. Some of the Crosstown cars have the words "HOOD SCOOPS" stamped on their tags and only these cars received them. The '71 scoops did not receive the chrome band around the front openings on the Crosstown cars, but Crestview versions did. These Crosstown cars were only available in 4 colours, with 8 FC7 Plum Crazy, 12 FJ6 Green Go, 4 FY1 Top Banana and the rest being EV2 Hemi Orange – all hi-impact colours.
A week later, the 18 Crestview cars were built on 513 (May 13) with all cars getting a ‘special’ upgrade, receiving ‘special trim’ typed and H2XW hand scrawled on the bottom of the broadcast sheets, indicating a ‘special’ upgrade. This upgrade included ‘white vinyl seats and door panels and carpet, along with rallye wheels, hood scoops, chrome exhaust tips, and chrome hood/fender moldings. These Crestview cars came in a variety of colors that included GA4, FC7, GW3, GY9, FY1, FJ6, GB2, GY3, EV2 and TX9.
The 2 cars that went up to Fort St. John, British Columbia were part of the Crosstown order and were drop shipped to the ‘unknown’ northern BC dealership, so they were essentially the same as the Crosstown versions.
And here’s what they all in common…
These 1971 Swinger 340 Special’s were quite similar to the 1970 models. The most noticeable differences are the blacked-out '71 front grille, quad tail lights, dash was no longer the rallye version and the '71 rally wheels had dark argent centers. Some of the emblems are located in different places, like the "Swinger" emblem which is located on the front fenders, instead of the rear quarters like the 1970 Swingers, and has the "Special" emblem under it. The "DART" emblem remains on the rear quarters.
The 340 engine had a different 4bbl intake manifold to carry the brand new 800cfm Carter ThermoQuad carburetor replaced the previous AVS version. The right hand exhaust manifold was different and compression was reduced to 10.3. The performance numbers were the same as the ‘70 340’s even with a slight drop in compression and updated intake but the new TQ made up the difference in spades. The heads were now the 360 ‘915’ J castings but still with the 2.02 intake valves and were only produced for 1971. The 340 engines in these Swinger Specials were painted blue since the run is a late '71 production run (May). The engines were not built on the same day or built in the same plants as witnessed by the different stampings on a number of the original engines on these cars, but were all early to mid ‘71 builds.
All cars also came equipped with 3:23 open 8 3/4" rear ends and a couple even received a 3:55 Sure-Grip differential. Not all rear torsion or front leaf spring mounts are boxed and is unknown why some had and some had not received the extra bracing. Most cars came equipped with (D34) 727 TorqueFlight automatic followed by the (D21) 4 speed manual transmission. A couple actually came equipped with (D13) 3-speed manual transmissions and all had a 4-speed shifter ball – even on of the 3 speed cars. All 85 cars got a bumblebee stripe even though none were coded for it and is believed to have been dealer installed.
Only 28 of the 85 cars have been confirmed and documented to date with 3 of them wrecked and crushed and a couple others are still awaiting validation as of 2018. These cars have been found from Gibsons, BC to Connecticut, USA, so keep an eye out! If you have one, have seen one, heard rumors or just want more information, please contact us in the 'sightings' portion of this website. Thanks. Cliff
340 Special Fact Sheet
Here is a one pager that shows reference to many of the details and anomalies that make up one of these 1971 Swinger 340 Specials.
Ron van Maarion's F7 D21 '71