Custom Cruise Friday
This week’s Custom Cruise Friday blog features another fondly remembered vehicle from a Don Wheaton staff member. Photographer Dan Wells combed through the extensive list of vehicles he’s owned over the years and was kind enough to reminisce over his 1976 Chevy Monte Carlo. Wells’ former car is actually the second of the Big Monte Carlos that have appeared in one of the weekly classic car posts. In his lifetime, Wells has owned five different Chevy Monte Carlos; but the 1976 is the one that got away that probably shouldn’t have.
“(I was) always looking in Auto Trader and at dealerships,” Wells said. “I’ve ended up owning more than 100 cars.”
The list of Monte Carlos owned by Wells over the years consists of a pair of 1974 and 1977 models and, his favorite, the 1976. In fact, Wells was lovingly known as “The Count of Monte Carlo” among friends. He purchased the 1976 Monte Carlo with the iconic Landau roof from South Park Motors (a former Don Wheaton dealership) in Edmonton in 1995. Wells didn’t have any information about the previous owner, except that they clearly held the same affection for the 1976 Monte Carlo that he did.
“It was in immaculate shape — clearly kept out of the sun,” Wells said. “This ’76 was likely in the best original condition of any of the many cars I’ve owned. Perhaps the one I should have kept.”
Recalling the condition of the Monte Carlo when he picked it up from South Park Motors, Wells remembers that it looks like it could have just rolled off of the assembly line. Even with about 20 years of driving, Wells said the paint had no signs of fading, there were no chips or beginnings of rust on the underbody and it had only about 50,000 miles or slightly less on the odometer. Additionally, the 1976 Monte Carlo had a feature where the front seats could be released to swivel 90 degrees to the side – presumably to help people with getting in and out of the car.
The interior was of a vinyl material in a tan or buckskin color and was equally as cared for as the incredibly clean exterior. Wells believes that the previous owner never took it out in snow, or winter at all, because the plug for the block warmer was still wrapped in its original factory seal.
Wells’ 1976 Monte Carlo represented a few technological achievements for the era. Obviously, it takes a big engine to be able to comfortably motivate a vehicle of this size; under the hood of the car sat a 350 cubic-inch V-8. However, the advancement in handling came from the suspension that was installed by Chevy. Wells thought this was the first of the big American cars that really handled well on the road. The result was very successful line for General Motors, and the 1973 Monte Carlo was named Motor Trend’s Car of the Year.
Despite his affinity for the Chevy Monte Carlo, Wells’ vehicular interests have grown since selling his favorite Monte Carlo.
“I was a little obsessed, I still like (Monte Carlos),” Wells said. “(But) I don’t think I’d own one again. I’d want something that I haven’t owned before.”
If you have a classic or modified car, truck or any General Motors vehicle that you have been rebuilding, restoring or simply like telling the tale, please send photos and pertinent information to Don Wheaton Brand Manager, Melina Kawecki, by email to email@example.com.