- The Washington Times - Friday, January 23, 2009

Dwight Wilson knew that his boss was looking for an antique Chevrolet Monte Carlo, so last summer he decided to help in the search.

Mr. Wilson surfed the Internet and discovered an attractive 1976 Monte Carlo on the auction block. When informed of the find, however, his boss was not interested in a 1976 model. But after all that searching, Wilson was interested; so he placed a bid on the Chevrolet.

Mr. Wilson says he particularly liked the stacked rectangular headlight treatment on the Monte Carlo. A few days later, he was surprised when he was notified that his bid was the highest.

It turned out that the seller was a Ford dealer and the Chevrolet Monte Carlo 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.” The car was so attractive to him that the mechanical aspect was irrelevant.

After driving his prize a few miles, it soon became apparent that the original 305-cubic-inch V-8 engine was still delivering 140 horsepower like it was designed to do. That size engine was standard equipment on the Monte Carlo in the 1976 model year.

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. When new, the cream gold Monte Carlo had a base price of $4,673. The interior headliner, dashboard, door panels, seats and carpet are black in stark contrast to the color of the exterior.

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 sound-deadening hood pad, still in remarkably good condition. Optional items on the Chevrolet include AM radio, air conditioning and deluxe steering wheel.

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 traveling 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 spacious trunk. Mr. Wilson reports that it has never been on the ground.

“I’ve taken it out on the highway, and it runs with the traffic,” Mr. Wilson says. The trustworthy V-8 engine breathes through the three horizontal openings that make up the grille. Each strip features an egg crate design that has 28 separate cavities.

Because the stylish Monte Carlo is so well-preserved, Mr. Wilson plans to maintain it in the original stock condition, the way it was when it left the factory.

“This car does what I want it to do,” Mr. Wilson says. “It drives me down the road in style.”

• For your car to become the subject of the Out of the Past column, send a photo (frontal 3/4view), plus brief details and phone number to Vern Parker, 2221 Abbotsford Drive, Vienna, VA 22181. Only photos of good quality will be considered. No customs or hotrods accepted.

Copyright, Motor Matters, 2009


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