In July 1970, a month before my wife Carol and I got married, I went car shopping with my friend, Gary Kovacevich, who decided to check out Chrysler products at Mac Lang's dealership, south of North Bay, Ontario. He left there with a brand new 1970 Dodge Polara 2 dr. hardtop, 318, automatic, pale yellow with a black vinyl roof and gold interior which we affectionately called the 'Bumble Bee'. He kindly offered to let me use his new car for our wedding and I gladly accepted because my car ('68 Chevelle) was over 2 years old.
Well, the years flew by and the 'Bumble Bee' ended up in the big scrap yard in the sky and my wife and I went on to have 4 children, 3 girls and 1 boy, named in order of appearance, Julie , Frank, Cara and Sara.
A few months before our 25th wedding anniversary in 1995, my son who was almost 16, was going through some tough teenage growing pains and there was some tension between father and son that needed to be nipped in the bud. My wife and I agreed that if I picked up a nice old muscle car, it could be a good bonding catalyst for my son and I.
Well as the search began, I soon realized that anything in the 'muscle car' category that was in my price range was a piece of ...... well, junk! Around the same time, an old friend of mine, Des Snooks, called me up to go look at a car with him. He said he was coming out of the Beer Store and a guy pulls up in this big blue Dodge and goes in the store. Des said he was impressed with the car and kind of hung around giving the car a long look. The owner came out of the store and Des started asking questions about the car and finally asked him if he wanted to sell. Well, the guy says sure it's for sale. So off Des and I go to look at the car for him.
We both look it over pretty good and marvel at it's good condition for a car with 86,000 miles. So the owner, Art, says to take it for a spin. As we drive it, we can hear a howling noise coming from the left rear and the car is not running as well as it should but it sounds solid and doesn't smoke oil.
Now, my friend is a bit of a fuss pot and the sound coming from the rear end turned him right off the car. I asked him if he was still interested in the car and he said no. I asked him 3 times if he was still interested in the car because I was. He said NO! Yippee for me! I knew I couldn't afford a muscle car that was in as good shape as this 1970 Dodge Monaco.
What we had here was a 1970 Dodge Monaco 2 door hardtop, 440 automatic, buckets seats and console floor shift with working air conditioning that originated from Colorado and made it's way to Sault Ste. Marie, in 1988 via Randy Deresti, who sold it to Art Guido. And the body was solid with a clean black 'muscle car' interior and solid trunk. So I went home and told my son about the car and he wanted to go check it out with me, like RIGHT NOW! Dad. Away we go back to Art's place to see the car. When he saw it and rode in it, he forgot all about the rusty Mustangs and other crap we looked at.
So I brought the car to my brother-in-law Terry for a mechanical inspection. He checked it over and said that the floor etc. was rock solid but it needed 2 new tires to pass Ontario safety, rear left wheel bearings replaced and a tune-up and that I should buy it! Which I did! And to top it off at the time, my 25th wedding anniversary was coming up and I now had another 1970 Dodge to take my wife out in, only this one was MINE! Cool!
After the work was done and the car ran like a top, I took my chum Des out for a ride and I think he may have had some regrets. Oh,well, his loss was my gain!
I forgot to mention that the car has an AM only radio. Here in Northern Limbo, that means that you get to listen to 1 or 2 stations that feature talk radio or .... talk radio. The first summer that I owned the car, that's what my son and I put up with when we went cruising. He eventually started taking a ghetto blaster to listen to something better (I wasn't so sure - alternative rock!?). After suffering through that, the next spring I remembered that I used to have an 8 track/FM stereo that was in my 1973 Chev truck that I removed in 1979 when I got rid of the truck. I searched through my back shed and lo and behold there it was in a box still looking pretty good. I checked it out and it still worked, even the 8 track! I installed this 'period piece' and dug up some old Beatles and Hendrix tapes that were still kicking around the house and I was ready to rock! What surprised me was the number of people who commented on the fact that the car had an 8 track player in it and that it still worked.
By the way, the 'bonding catalyst' properties of the car worked quite well for my son and I, thank God for small blessings. I should add that my three girls all love the car as well. They like to go for the odd cruise in the 'old car' as they call it.
Anyone who has a car that they really like always dreads that a day will come when something nasty happens to your car. Well, about a month ago I changed the 4 barrel Holley carburator because the car was running terrible one day and ok the next. No ryhme or reason to it's behaviour. A common Holley problem, I'm told. I borrowed my brother-in-law Terry's newer style Holley and installed that one. The car ran a lot better. My old one was sitting on my work bench and in the road so I set it up on a shelf above where I park my car. I set it on a heavy cardboard box that was quite strong or so I thought. We had an extremely warm and humid spell a couple of weeks ago and the humidity and the weight of the carburator caused the box to collapse a bit allowing the Holley to slide off and fall onto the front fender extension of the Dodge. It landed with the breather stem pointing straight down which poked a hole in the extension which is made of fibreglass and scratched the fender a bit. I cursed myself for being so careless but it could have been much worse indeed. I am going to get my damage repaired for now and I will pick up a new extension to put on when I can afford to paint the whole car. Live and learn!
Aug. 11/01 - Installed Road Wheels and white letter tires on the car yesterday. It looks a little more like a 'muscle car' now.... well a BIG muscle car anyways. My son said that the car 'doesn't look like an old man car anymore!' I'll go along with that assessment! See photo posted below.
June 12/02 - I have recently received a couple of pictures of my Monaco taken in
Denver, Colorado in 1988 when Randy Deresti purchased the car from the original owners while visiting his Uncle Chuck. I have added the photos to this site. Randy Deresti said he will try and get me the names of the folks who were
both 81 years old in 1988 and originally bought the car new in Denver. A sad
but interesting fact about the couple is that their son was a victim of the
Zebra killings in the San Fransico area in the '70's.
March 21/05 - It's the first day of spring and you'd never know it up here in the Great White North. I'm getting anxious to get the car out of storage.
Oct. 28/06 - It's been a while since I updated this site! I finally got around to adding some new pics and deleting some old stuff to stay within my space limitations allowed by Homestead. You will notice that I posted photos of my car with newly added 17 inch rims with Michelin 225x50x17 tires. Almost all comments were very positive about the addition of the rim/tire combo. The only 2 dissenters were a couple of purists who like the 'original concept' more than I do but I certainly understand where they are coming from. BTW, I put the car in storage for the winter last weekend. Now, what do I do????
March 27/08 - Well, like father, like son! My son who is now 28 years old bought a nice solid 1975 Olds Delta 88 convertible on Easter weekend. It needs some brake and exhaust work and a new plastic back window to get it road worthy. Yeah, I know it's not a Mopar but he would never have got a Mopar convertible in as good shape as the Olds for the price he paid and it comes with a ton of spare parts. Check out the posted photo.
Oct. 21/09 - Another summer is over (a rotten one, I might add) and my car and my son's Oldsmobile have been put to bed for the winter. I have added some pics from Moparfest 2009. I also had to optimize some photos on this site to free up some space so I could add some more photos. So if you notice that some pics are smaller than they used to be, it's because of space constraints. Can't wait for next summer already!!!
Still under construction!