Remember the opening credits of Dazed and Confused when that sweet muscle car pulls into the parking lot to the rousing sounds of Aerosmith's "Sweet Emotion"? Or the cruising montage to War's "Low Rider"? Or the countless other scenes that featured some hair-raising combination of ultimate '70s jam and ultimate ‘70s car?

There's something truly majestic about those wind-in-your-hair, Zeppelin-on-your-stereo drives of yore, and here's your very real, very affordable chance to recreate the magic: a 1972 Dodge Dart Swinger is on the auction block later this month at Auctions America's Santa Monica auction, and it's expected to sell for the non-Earth-shattering sum of $12-$16,000.

Courtesy of Auctions America

Classic American muscle car? Check.

First, let's pause and appreciate how absolutely inspired it is that Dodge named a car "Swinger." To be perfectly honest, the Dart wasn't always this cool: for a while it was an inexpensive sedan known as much for its mediocrity as its rather disparaging mention in the existentialist writings of Jean-Paul Sartre. By the late 1960s, though, Darts were out-and-out muscle cars that rightly earned a place in the pantheon of American classics.

Debuting in 1969, the Swinger nameplate means the car is a two-door hardtop version of the Dart. This is the Dart at its coolest, the Dart in its prime. 

Courtesy of Auctions America

The sound under the hood is pure America

Under those menacing -- and functional! -- hood scoops lies a Chrysler 318cid V8. It's part of the same engine family that ultimately led to the development of the Viper's V-10... three decades later.

This particular Swinger isn't one of the fastest; it puts out a much more modest 150hp. But horsepower isn't everything, folks, and some of the most classic muscle cars are slower than a modern minivan. The visceral element matters just as much as the acceleration. Of the sound, there can be no debate. That V8 will sound just as good as any other classic rolling down the street.

Courtesy of Auctions America

This thing is made for cruising

Take a look inside and a few things will stand out to the keen observer. First, it's clearly in great condition. Second, the seller brought the stereo up to modern specs, so once you get bored of that V8 soundtrack, you can crank all manner of '70s Americana rock. Third? OK, so it's got an automatic transmission. It's not the good kind of automatic either, which is why the car is so inexpensive.

But a car this gloriously retro and gloriously cheap shan't be ignored. If the visceral throwback to the golden American Graffiti/Dazed and Confused era of cruising doesn't hook you, just think about all the Austin Powers-y puns you could make. It's time to swing, baby.

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Aaron Miller is the Cars editor for Thrillist, and can be found on Twitter. He's not ashamed at laughing every time he hears the name Dart Swinger.

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