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Thursday, November 2, 2023

Bought a 1975 Chevrolet Monza Towne Coupe, who wants to race?

1975 Chevy Monza Towne Coupe in silver with maroon vinyl top.

 
Junkyard Life’s Mini Carlo

Me: (add excited high-five hand position) “I got a Monza!”

Everyone so far: “A Mazda?”

Me: “No, no. A Monza. It’s a Chevrolet. Mon-Zah”

Everyone so far: “Mazda?”

Me: “No! ‘Monza’-like the guy’s name on Street Outlaws….

Everyone so far: “Ohhhh. Monza!”

Me: (sigh)

A silver 1975 Chevy Monza Towne parked on grass showing side and notchback trunk .

So I did. I bought a 1975 Chevrolet Monza (not Mazda). I call it my Mini Carlo. A car seemingly forgotten except by a niche market of 1970’s car guys, hot rodders, and that one guy on TV who successfully identified himself more so than the car that probably somehow inspired the name.

Bright red vinyl seats shown inside the silver 1975 Chevy Monza Towne Coupe.

Why a 1975 Monza? Well, Junkyard Life’s close family friend, we call The Aimee Connection (see Fun Facts), led us to it. Actually, she acquired the compact Chevy several years ago. This Monza was bought new by her family and gifted to her over twenty years ago. Aimee restored the car, then stashed it! Now, years later, she decides it is time for it to un-hibernate and move on to another home. Mine. 

Front bumper view and you can see the Chevy Monte Carlo influenced styling.


Monza means fast, right?

What have we learned about Chevrolet Monzas? This car was offered in a hatchback with a 305-V8 and a 4-speed! My goodness! Traction was probably not part of that package. I imagine that it would have barbecued that poor 13-inch tire. Actually, I know it would (see Fun Facts). A whole cavalcade of power plants were offered through the few years that Chevrolet gave us the Monza. Ours is a garden variety 140 cubic-inch, four cylinder with an automatic. So, no chiropractor needed here. Not an ounce of neck snapping acceleration. If we get right foot happy, we may need to turn off the A/C to get a few more horses out of that tiny motor. Don’t think we would not dare to do it. Zero-to-sixty in sometime this month.

Automatic shift stalk juts from the floor of the red interior 1975 Chevy Monza Towne Coupe.


Almost famous

The famous (semi-famous?) Monza 2+2 made an impact on the road racing world. Is ours a 2+2? No, ours is a Towne Coupe, otherwise known as the notchback. It has a trunk instead of the hatch rear. If it were born a hatchback, the rear tail light design would be hard to not like. Why did the Vega get all the hot press and the limelight? The Monza holds no secrets like the Vega. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. (Editor’s Note: We told Ron that expression was a reference to wild trips and avoiding consequences in Las Vegas, Nevada...not the car.)

Silver 1975 Chevy Monza Towne Coupe has 30,000 original miles..


Little Snoot Coupe

Our little coupe was purchased new in Bessemer, Alabama by Aimee’s grandparents. A bright red Charger works for some grandparents, but hers opted for a smaller, more fuel efficient car. Equipped with air conditioning, automatic transmission and a sporty vinyl top. This car promised to be the gas saver the oil embargo demanded. Those who could not afford to buy a new economy car in that era inadvertently chose to buy more fuel. Aimee's grandparents picked Code 13 Silver paint for the outside and a saucy red for the inside. When Aimee took ownership, the Monza, though faded, still had low miles (30K!). While restoring the car, Aimee added the perfectly placed pin stripes. Monza seat covers were not being reproduced at that time, so Aimee had them made using the original pattern. New carpet and a shiny new vinyl top finished the Monza off nicely. The American Racing wheels surprisingly were not added by her, they were added by her grandparents when the car was still new! Notice how the pin stripes on the hood bring out the styling on the subtle scoop design. It reminds us of the L88 Corvette hood design, now that Aimee brought the scoop to our attention with the pin stripes.

Tail lights are blocky on Bright red vinyl seats shown inside the silver 1975 Chevy Monza Towne Coupe.


The Great Monza Thinker

What will we do with this 1975 Chevy Monza? An LS swap (Keith’s idea) would be a death trap. An endurance car to run 24 Hours of Lemons* at Barber Motorsport Park (Jody’s idea) seems like a chance of not emerging with the whole car, or…or...or the best idea (Ron’s idea) to drop in a 4.3 liter Chevy motor and a Roots-type blower. What to do? I feel like we keep coming back to that 4.3 thing. Great idea, guys!

Ron Kidd
— Junkyard Life: The Story Beneath the Rust


Mini size meant better fuel mileage in the 1970s. 1975 Chevy Monza Towne Coupe.


Monza Fun Facts:

  • The Aimee Connection is our reference to Aimee for being so instrumental in finding us cool cars! This is the third one! Sorry, rival car websites…we saw her first! She was a known Chevy girl and then married a guy who races foreign cars. You know, if it was a Mazda…they may have kept it!

  • The Chevy Monza had a few GM cousins. The Buick Skyhawk, Oldsmobile Starfire, and Pontiac Sunbird all offered the buyer a fuel friendly choice. These were known by GM as H Bodies.

  • My brother and I had a friend named Noel with a 1976 Monza hatchback with a 4-speed and a 350 swap. We got eaten alive by cars we should have outran, because of that traction thing. One night Noel stayed in the throttle, despite the excessive wheel spin and filled the car with a smoke show that would make Cheech and Chong proud.

  • John DeLorean called the Chevrolet Monza hatchback the “Italian Vega” because of its Ferrari 365 GTC design cues.**

  • Monza fans note the notchback is over a hundred pounds lighter than the 2+2 model. 

  • The success of the Mustang II in notchback form had something to do with the inception of the Monza Towne Coupe. Chevrolet…late to the game. Does this remind anyone of the success of the 1964 ½ - 1966 Mustangs? Oh, history…why must thy repeat thyself? 

  • The Monza was slated to have a rotary engine, but alas…it never happened. That would have been high-revving fun!

  • I (Ron) actually went to the body shop with Aimee to toss ideas about the accent stripes when the Monza came out of the paint booth. Though this was several years ago, I seem to remember thinking that this was going to look great!


 

*Editor’s Note: Ron mentioning the 24 Hours of Lemons Race is a real thing. It sounds like a lot of fun. We keep coming up with cars that are not quite perfect. Ron can’t fathom the idea of putting a vintage Pontiac on the track.

** Editor’s Note: How did Ron work a John DeLorean quote into a Chevrolet Monza story? 


Bright red seats and red steering wheel shown inside the silver 1975 Chevy Monza Towne Coupe.

Detail of silver block letter Monza emblem on side of silver fender

American Racing rims added by original owner when 1975 Chevy Monza was new.

Cosmetic restoration several years ago brought new paint, interior, and pin stripes.

Red interior is striking against the silver exterior paint.

Passenger side view of red interior of 1975 Chevy Monza

Bulging hood was factory on this silver 1975 Chevy Monza Towne Coupe.



Do you have a car story?
Send us details and we’re on the way!
  
Send emails to Jody Potter at junkyardbull@gmail.com
and Ron Kidd at 
kidd403.rk@gmail.com


Monday, October 16, 2023

VIDEO Part 2: 1979 Pontiac Trans Am Totaled by Tree, 4-speed Ahead!



What next? Owner struggles with tough decisions in aftermath of his 1979 Pontiac Trans Am being totaled by a tree. Insurance details were sketchy at first. Would Sean Casey's beloved Pontiac be covered? Luckily, yes! We saw the Trans Am soon after Casey posted it on FaceBook Marketplace for sale. (He shared his story with us here in Part 1 video.) Casey has owned the Pontiac for 30 years. It was a tough decision to let go of the Trans Am that he made so many memories in with his family.


REPLACEMENT?
It did not take long for Casey to narrow his search for a replacement second gen Pontiac Trans Am. Casey found a red, 4-speed 1975 model Trans Am in Georgia. Once the insurance check cleared and Casey had reached a settlement to buy back his crushed Trans Am. Scant hours passed and a deal was made with a buyer from Texas to acquire his crushed T/A. A mere 12 hours after I saw the car, the black, 1979 automatic shift Trans Am was on its way to Texas with a new owner who was excited to tackle the body work on the mashed Bandit.

Sean Casey with his new addition, a 4-speed 1975 Trans Am.


The 4-speed transmission was the difference maker. Casey loves black Trans Ams but this one seemed to check a lot of boxes.


This was Casey's first car, a 1975 Pontiac Firebird Formula 4-speed.
Back reliving the glory days.

Sharp-eyed Pontiac fans will note his 1975 Trans Am has a 1976 front bumper. The red replacement Trans Am made Casey's decision to sell his black T/A a lot easier.



RED 4-SPEED
Casey was all smiles as he reminisced about his first car–a 1975 Pontiac Firebird Formula with a 4-speed. This new Trans Am would satisfy Casey's urge to shift gears and relive some glory days. Grandkids and a supportive wife are eager to take some trips in the newly purchased Pontiac.

Best of luck and we'll see you on the road soon!
Thanks Sean!

Jody Potter
– Junkyard Life: The Story Beneath the Rust


Do you have a car story?
Send us details and we’re on the way!
  
Send emails to Jody Potter at junkyardbull@gmail.com


Tuesday, September 26, 2023

VIDEO: 1979 Pontiac Trans Am Totaled by Tree in Alabama

 


Not my Trans Am! A 1979 Pontiac Trans Am totaled by a tree? We had to check this out after we spotted it on FaceBook Marketplace and noticed it was 20 minutes away. The owner, Sean Casey, told his story about the terrible night that his beloved 1979 Trans Am was crushed by a tree at 2 AM in August.


Casey has owned the Pontiac for 30 years. He relocated the black iconic muscle car, with 92,000 miles, to his yard this year. He doesn't know what he will do next with his 403 Olds-powered "Smokey and the Bandit” era dream car. The insurance is processing the paperwork.

We hope it works out and Casey can repair or buy another Trans Am to hand down to the next generation in his family.

Jody Potter
– Junkyard Life: The Story Beneath the Rust


Watch more Junkyard Life If you got time, we need your help hiring a cheap camera holder and dog food. Your views, and likes help us. Thanks! 

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More pics of the Trans Am tragedy >>




Warning! If your trees have mushrooms growing around the base it could mean the inside of the "green, healthy" tree is rotten. See above.









Do you have a car story?
Send us details and we’re on the way!
  
Send emails to Jody Potter at junkyardbull@gmail.com

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Cars in Yards: 1973 Pontiac Grand Prix, All Red, All Wrong

Red 1973 Pontiac Grand Prix view of headlights and grille.

Big, Red, Dirty, Beauty! I rarely find a Grand Prix of any vintage in my travels, but I did it right this time. A 1973 Pontiac Grand Prix finds me and draws me in with the seductive allure these special cars possess. We Junkyard Life Grand Prix/Grand Am geeks will go to great lengths to look at one. In this case, I pulled over and stepped out of the truck. It may not have been that great of a length. Let’s be honest. You had me at Grand Prix.

    One of my favorite years of my favorite era — personal luxury and performance? Any Grand Prix is a treat for us, but we love the Colonnade era of 1973-1977. All right! The 1973 model year was the Johnnie-come-lately. The new kid in town. Very different from the 1969-1972 GP models, but had every bit of Pontiac styling and impact you could only find in the Grand Prix. 

Rear view of red 1973 Pontiac Grand Prix rotting in yard.
1973-only Grand Prix parts back here.
And cumbersome below bumper gas filler neck behind tag.

All Wrong!
    This red example did have a few options. The push bars on the bumpers were actually an option but not very rare. The color was obviously a repaint in a bright red. That doesn’t sound unusual. It seems I have seen Grand Prixs wearing their sporty red coats. The cowl tag was illegible and the 1973 brochure only sort of verified. “Sort of?” What could that mean? See? The brochure that I have stops right at Buccaneer Red. I feel that Pontiac would have wanted their personal luxury muscle mobile painted that popular color. This had to be correct color, right?

Another option, not present here, would have been the vinyl top. We see no evidence of the sporty roof trim of the 70’s that turned the body into a future crime scene.  Also, notice the steering column and sporty Pontiac spoked steering wheel? Nice try with the PMD horn button, but again—not correct for THIS Pontiac. There was evidence of this Grand Prix being a bucket seat with console model. That steering column has a shifter on it. Also, by 1973, Pontiac had phased the PMD off of center piece trim and horn buttons and transitioned into the 
famous
 red arrowhead emblem.

PMD emblem on 1973 Pontiac Grand Prix horn button?
Should this be PMD? We think horn button is wrong.


Buccaneer Up, Little Soldier
    Under the little red riding hood was a Pontiac 400. Maybe? It was a Pontiac motor and the radiator designation implied the 400 cube version. Wiring was a little confusing. It seems to be more of a spaghetti fest than a wiring job.
    This Prix didn’t have the analog gauges which would have been standard with the SJ package. That means this Grand Prix was probably not an SJ. Still cool though. However, I couldn’t find a “J” designation on the car anywhere either. Well, we know it is a Grand Prix.

Rear view of long red 1973 Pontiac Grand Prix rotting in yard.
Buccaneer Red Paint? The Trans Am made that color famous in 1973.

Future?
    I hope this classic Pontiac falls into the right hands, because it is a coveted 1973 model. 1973 being the first year for that generation Prix would contain several parts indigenous to the ’73. Jody and I (Ron) both have 1973 Pontiacs and we know the struggle is real. As for the fate of saved or scrapped? We hope this car can either be fixed or sacrifice itself to other Grand Prixs for valuable parts. Maybe, even ours?

Ron Kidd
— Junkyard Life: 
The Story Beneath the Rust



So many great angles on this generation Pontiac Grand Prix.


Interior equipped with optional greenhouse package. Lol.


Cheap paint job alert! Overspray on the emblems is a no-no.

Enough gauges to fill your hot rod dreams.

Underhood sticker shows this originally equipped with a Poncho 400 engine.

A lot of room under here and it still has A/C parts attached!


Do 
you have a junkyard or a junky yard?
Send us details and we’re on the way!
  
Send emails to Jody Potter at junkyardbull@gmail.com


Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Junky Yard Crawl 100+ cars PART 4 VIDEO



PART 4 VIDEO: An Alabama Junky Yard Crawl of more than 100 classic cars. Retired coal miner, Steve Posey, decides to liquidate his 100-plus car collection in Walker County, Alabama. But, Junkyard Life toured his yard a week late and a dollar short. My dad, Joe, also joined me to provide knowledge and get a handle on what a good deal on a 1955 Chevy project car looks like these days. We check out a Harley-Davidson Golf Cart and a several tons of trucks during Part 4. Numerous 1969 Mustang Fastbacks, Maverick Grabbers, and a few Camaros are revealed in Parts 1-3 as well. 

Posey spent more than an hour showing us around the property in January 2023. The cars and parts are probably all sold by now.


Jody Potter
– Junkyard Life: The Story Beneath the Rust

Watch more Junkyard Life If you got time, we need your help hiring a cheap camera holder and dog food. Your views, and likes help us. Thanks! 

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Cars in Yards:1971 Ford Country Squire Wagon

1971 Ford Country Squire wagon parked since 1994. 

Why the story? Junkyard Life, are the guys who love to bring you the Story Beneath the Rust. Because it is often just as groovy and cool as the car itself. So, I bring you the story beneath this really cool 1971 Ford Country Squire Wagon! Only I failed you. I don’t have the story. Not even a clue. Other than permission to gawk from the property owner, who felt my enthusiasm as a self-proclaimed station wagon geek, I got nothing. 


The Mystery Squire Identity Crisis
This wagon contained no paperwork of any kind. No insurance or registration information that I could chase. Due to a long ago repaint, I could not even tell you what dealership sold it. Jody and Keith have pulled my "Junkyard Life Detective License" due to all their questions being answered via my shoulder shrugs and an “I don’t know.” They even put me in that room with a stool and that lightbulb dangling from an unsafe wire. And I still could not tell them anything. I wish I could. I was even wrong about the year. I told the guys it was a 1970 model. It is a 1971. The shame.
But! I do have cool pictures and a ton of research on this wagon, so here we go!

Driver's seat in 1971 Ford Country Squire wagon parked since 1994.

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch…
My research isn’t even conclusive! Besides being initially mistaken about the year model, I am still in a quandary between what it is and what it says it is. That doesn’t make sense, I know. Hence, the mystery. The codes read, “71H,” indicating that it is a 6-passenger, Custom 500, Ranch Wagon. Clearly, it is a Country Squire 8-passenger with dual-facing rear seats. That should be Code “71E.” 

Pretending that we can agree on that, I did learn about the ordering process employed by Ford in that era. How could this wagon be built in both Atlanta, Georgia AND Louisville, Kentucky? Okay, no tug of war in the Southeast in this case. I solved it! The district does not indicate where it was built. That was the district office over the plant where it was built. In this case, like a proper slugger, in Louisville Kentucky. So, it was built in the land of bluegrass, original-recipe chicken, baseball bats, high-dollar horse races and awesome station wagons!  When we think of Louisville, Kentucky…we think of Ford Country Squire Wagons. Well, we do now.

351-V8 engine in 1971 Ford Country Squire wagon parked since 1994.

Clues!
For fear of redundancy, we really do love the story behind the car. What led it here? Who handed it down and to whom? Why hasn’t this big boat been stripped of useful parts and turned into RC soda cans? Where did it go after it was built in Kentucky? We know it is in Alabama now. It is all of the in-between we want!  We wish we knew…there has to be a story here.

HERE ARE THE CLUES:

  • Optioned very well with power windows, power door locks, power bench seat, air conditioning and a rocking stereo, for better to hear Glen Campbell and Charlie Pride all while drowning out the sounds of four disgruntled grandsons.

  • Actually, cancel out the last part of clue #1 because the interior is in great shape. So much in fact that it showed no signs of seat climbing, scratching and other unspeakable things children do to windows on short trips, much less long ones.

  • Under the hood, a new-for-1971 power plant. The Ford 400. More motor than the standard 351-V8, but with a highway friendly 2.75 ratio non-locking rear end. Someone must have had reasons for this, even if it was Ford themselves by some random option combination.

  • A full-size wagon would have a C6 transmission as this one does. Did they make a 4-speed Country Squire in 1971? How cool would that have been! Junkyard Life Detectives often end a clue with a question.

  • It has a trailer hitch added at some point. But, what did it pull? A boat? A camper? A huge U-Haul? See? Now you are looking at us for answers. We got nothing. Then again, there was an old boat on the property...Now we’re just grasping at straws.

  • It does have the optional dual-facing rear seat, and it was set up. Was that for long term storage or was it ready for the kids we think never rode in it? If you had a wagon such as that and did not intend to carry passengers, then we surmise, the back would be used to carry things. In our Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser’s case (Ron’s), we leave all the seats down for utility and parts chasing. Not in this Squire.

  • White letter tires that you would associate with mag wheels, but alas…this wagon still rolled (when it rolled) on hub caps. We like that actually, despite it having made no sense at the time.

Woodgrain painted over on 1971 Ford Country Squire wagon parked since 1994.



And They Got Away With it Too, Despite Us Medlin’ Kidds
So, this 1971 well-preserved Country Squire Wagon is still a mystery. I suppose we will just have to celebrate what we do know.

  • We know the color. Ford simply called it “Light Gold” when Code 8 was selected to add color to your new wagon.

  • Most Country Squires did have the wood grain. Our feature car was repainted at some point and while preserving the exterior metal, it lost something in that translation.

  • The rolling stock was Ford’s famous hub cap (I know ours doesn’t match, but the one I feel is original to the car is still there).

  • Speaking of what is still there…the grill is in fabulous shape.

  • The glass is perfect.

  • Under the hood is mostly stock appearing.

  • The light green interior, though not for everyone, was a perfect match for us station wagon nerds.

  • The year prior to this Mystery Squire (Note to self: Great name for a rock band)* in 1970 was equipped with hide-away headlights. That option made any color look rock and roll.

Rear jump seats on 1971 Ford Country Squire wagon parked since 1994.

Tailgate of 1971 Ford Country Squire wagon parked since 1994.


Nothing but the tail lights
Now we must admit defeat and write a story on a really cool wagon that we know nothing about. No road trip stories. No Yogi the Bear encounters. No baseball mom stories (or hockey mom, if the car was from Canada) Now, we sadly gather our camera, our notebooks and my really cool fedora with a “Press” card in the hat band (Jody loves that hat)** and roll on to find our next car. Maybe even one we can acquire.

Ron Kidd
— Junkyard Life: The Story Beneath the Rust

* Editor’s Note: We apologize for Ron’s lame attempt to name a rock band while doing an article on station wagons.

** Editor’s Note: I do not! I thought I ran over that hat with my truck to get him to stop wearing it a long time ago. Hey, Ron…the 1940’s called. They want their hat back.


Hood of 1971 Ford Country Squire wagon parked since 1994.

351-V8 engine in 1971 Ford Country Squire wagon parked since 1994.

Door panel in green on 1971 Ford Country Squire wagon parked since 1994.

Long roof 1971 Ford Country Squire wagon parked since 1994.

Hubcap on 1971 Ford Country Squire wagon parked since 1994.

Non-matching hubcap on 1971 Ford Country Squire wagon parked since 1994.

LTD emblem on 1971 Ford Country Squire wagon parked since 1994.

Passenger side seat on 1971 Ford Country Squire wagon parked since 1994.

Power window switch on 1971 Ford Country Squire wagon parked since 1994.

Painted over woodgrain on 1971 Ford Country Squire wagon parked since 1994.


Do you have a junkyard or a junky yard?
Send us details and we’re on the way!
  
Send emails to Jody Potter at junkyardbull@gmail.com
and Ron Kidd at 
kidd403.rk@gmail.com