Dwight Wilson knew his boss in Arlington was looking for an antique Chevrolet Monte Carlo, so last summer he decided to help in the search.
Mr. Wilson went surfing on the internet and discovered an attractive 1976 Monte Carlo on the auction block. His boss, however, was not interested in a 1976 model. Mr. Wilson was, so he placed a bid on the Chevrolet. Mr. Wilson says he liked the stacked rectangular headlight treatment on the Monte Carlo.
A few days later he was notified that his bid was the highest.
It turned out that the seller was a Ford dealer and the car was on the used car lot. Mr. Wilson paid for the 3,907-pound Chevrolet and drove it to his Alexandria home on June 30. "I never started the car before I bought it," Mr. Wilson says. "I could put a crate motor in it if the original one was bad."
It soon became apparent that the original 305-cubic-inch V-8 engine was still delivering 140 horsepower. That size engine was standard equipment on the 1976 Monte Carlo.
When new, the cream gold Monte Carlo had a base price of $4,673. The car is unique in that the roof is not covered in vinyl, unlike most of the other 191,370 Monte Carlo models manufactured that year.
Inside the car the headliner, dashboard, door panels, seats and carpet are all black.
From behind the two-spoke steering wheel the driver cannot see the 52 ventilation slots in the engine hood or even the hidden windshield wipers.
On the underside of the expansive engine hood is what Mr. Wilson says is the original hood pad, still in good condition.
Optional items on the Chevrolet include an AM radio, deluxe steering wheel and air conditioning.
Outside the window on the driver's door is a chrome-plated mirror.
The owner says he would like to find a matching one for the right side.
"I like my car," Mr. Wilson says, noting that he is amazed it has no squeaks or groans while travelling down the road.
The car rolls along on the original 15-inch tires with "TPS SPEC 1031 MS" markings on the sidewalls indicating the tires were made for General Motors by B.F. Goodrich.
The original spare tire is stored inside the trunk.
"I've taken it on the Beltway and it runs with the traffic," Mr. Wilson says. The trustworthy engine breathes through the three strips that make up the grille. Each strip has 28 separate cavities.
Because the car is so well preserved Mr. Wilson plans to maintain it in stock condition.
"This car does what I want it to do," Mr. Wilson says. "It drives me down the road in style."