When I was 16 years old my parents gave me the green light to look for
my first car. It was love at first sight when I saw a silver ’77 Monte
on a Chevrolet brochure. Those long haunting body lines hypnotized me. I
would be in school with my text books open, secretly looking at the
Chevy brochure hidden in the pages. For a young boy it was a sexual
high. This was the exact vehicle I would end up ordering.
Even at a young age I realized how special of a gift this was from my
parents. How they could trust me with a brand new vehicle was beyond me.
Especially since I totaled my fathers 1973 T-Bird while my Monte was
still on order from the Kansas City plant. I couldn’t believe my dad
didn’t cancel the sale. I wanted this car to be a memorial of the trust
and love of my parents long after they were gone. This made me to do a
strange thing especially for a teenager. I drove the car only on good
weather months for close to three years. Then I put it in the garage on
jack stands and didn’t touch it again for 23 years.
The Monte held up well during storage. No sun fading anywhere, no pitted
plastic. The interior was like new. Much is said about the “sloppiness”
during this era of American auto manufacturing. But I must say the car
didn’t leak any fluid anywhere and the air still blew cold. My biggest
problem was corrosion on the bare metal parts. The engine looked like a
car with many more miles then the 28K this one sported.
During restoration strict attention was given to repainted or replaced
parts to restore them factory correct. I won’t bore you with the
restoration details. We all know what it takes.
In the summer this vehicle sits on “Quick Lift” ramps so I can let it
run. I also maintain the restoration. If I’m not showing in the winter I
store it in a “Car Capsule”. I have found the capsule to be an excellent
long term storage system.
I know this is not popular in the auto collector community but this car
is not driven. In the past 25 years the Monte was only driven once.
Shortly after the restoration I made a DVD for my auto show display. I
had two LCD monitors. One monitor showed the restoration. The other had
a video with original music. You can view both of them combined at
http://uniqueverse.com/index2.htm and clicking on the Monte Carlo 1977
button. A high speed connection will be necessary for proper viewing
unless you download the file. My display was meant to be kind of a 70’s
disco era flash back. Computerized lights move, change colors and
patterns while highlighting specific areas of the car.
This car and the display have won multiple “Best of Show” trophies. Even
though there are many cars in my class, 73-78 restored I have been the
only second generation Monte entered. With the flood of Chevelles and
other “popular” cars our second generation Montes draw much attention.
Just like many of you I have soaked more money into my car than it will
ever be worth. We have more than a monetary value invested. That’s the
spirit that feeds our soul.