I did it! I purchased a project car! It is a 1979 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. I have gone over the car and it appears to be solid with no rot or any major structural damage. The guy I bought it from needed to repair the 4WD system is his other vehicle and needed the money, forcing his hand to sell. At least that’s what he told me!
I think I got a good deal on the car, I felt that it was in such good shape that I wanted to ask the guy why it was so cheap. Monte Carlo’s that are solid appear to be going for much more than I paid for it. While looking it over I kept expecting to find some major problem that would turn me away but I couldn’t. Don’t get me wrong, there are problems with the car but nothing that can’t be fixed.
According to the seller, there is a crate 350 Jasper engine in the vehicle that has around 20k on it. The car will start and run with a little persuasion but I didn’t see any reason to think that the engine wasn’t what he stated. It comes equipped with Headman headers and a true dual exhaust system that looks to be brand new! It even has the proper cross member to allow the true dual exhaust through.
The transmission has a hard time coming out of park on occasion. I experienced this first hand when trying to get the car off the trailer and it would not move. I was eventually able to get it to move and get the car in gear. The transmission is supposedly a TH400, and according to the seller, this is a common problem with that unit. To fix it I will need to just drop the pan and tighten a bolt. Another problem with the car is the Transmission indicator on the dash doesn’t move when changing gears. This is a broken cable that needs to get repaired. That cable came with the car! He was just too lazy to do the fix.
Other than the issues listed above, the car is mechanically solid. The rest of the issues are cosmetic. There is a small amount of surface rust on the hood that will need to be sanded down and a little bit of bad body work on the roof from where a shop removed the vinyl that used to be there.
A little blemish on the hood
Some blemishes on the roof
My plan for this car is to get it running good and to fix all the mechanicals. I will then put a radio in it and put it on the road. I also plan on lowering it a little bit and adding larger sway bars to give it that “Pro Touring” look and allow for a little bit of the feel as well. I’ll drive it while getting it to look good. I will need to refurbish the interior, the front seat has a rip down the middle and there are tears here and there. The dash board is also missing some trim as well as having a filthy carpet. There are also problems with the interior trim that will need to be addressed; the A-Pillar molding is shot as well as some other molding around the inside. Most of this should be fairly inexpensive to fix and repairing will up the value of the car quite a bit.
I will also need to fix all the problems with the body. This will be mostly sanding and re-filling the bad parts with body filler. I will get it as smooth as possible and either paint it myself or take it somewhere depending on how I feel about it and how much it will cost to paint. Stay tuned for articles regarding the repairing of this vehicle and the final result to be published after its sale with a rundown of all the costs associated with it. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think of the plan and if you can think of any other items that may make the job easier or look better. Tips and tricks are always welcome!