Thursday, November 7, 2013

Sad ending for one 1974 Chevy Monte Carlo

Scrap yard scorecard: Car Guys - ZERO, People Who Would Sell Their Best Friend For Scrap - ONE. Automotive rescuers, restorers, enthusiast alike — we have failed. Once again the Junkyard Life crew and all our brothers will breathe an exasperated sigh and shake our heads at the thought of us finding this once-awesome 1974 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. It’s not a treasure hunting victory by any means. I wish I would have found it anywhere else. This golden girl was found at the local scrap place. Why do I even drive by there? And, it only got worse as I got deeper into my Junkyard Life investigative stupor.

How Could It Get Worse?
  Good point. It was already bad enough, being it was a proud 1974 Monte Carlo lined up to be crushed. We love Monte Carlos. We love what GM called “Colonnade” bodies. The new-for-1973 design, carried on until 1977 before the body style changed. These over-bumpered beauties were the result of strict government standards in the name of safety, emissions and fuel consumption. 
  The bigger, heavier, bolder design took a while for the hot rod guys to get used to them, but now is now and at least we love them. We are not alone in our guilty Colonnade pleasure. The last Monte Carlo story we wrote received a lot of response and feedback. Our readers have a passion for the forgotten years that have not hit the collector circles with Barrett-Jackson price demands. Thankfully, that means, for now, we can still find them reasonably priced. That is, unless they are turned into Shasta cans and aluminum siding, such as the fate of this poor car.

If the back seat of this ’74 Monte Carlo could talk, it would say, "keep me out of the crusher!"

Power locks and manual windows adorn the white door panels of the ’74 Chevy.
Guts and glory
  This ’74 Monte Carlo featured an almost basic interior. A bench seat and a column shifter were fairly common. Optional, would have been bucket seats and an automatic still, but shifted from a neat-o, floor console. Extra cool would be the famous “swivel” bucket seats! Monte Carlos were one of the few cars that offered them. Not so common, were a couple of extra cost options I spotted. Tilt wheel and power door locks. Strange that we keep finding these odd combinations of manual windows, but power door locks. Crank, crank-crank-click.

120-MPH speedo on this ’74 Monte Carlo. Giant gas gauge looks comical.

This Monte Carlo still runs and has the keys in the ignition. Junkyard gold – not for long.

Gauges and questions
  This Monte Carlo has a basic dash with a huge fuel gage and a 120 speedometer with no trip odometer. I know Pontiac’s Grand Prix offered a trip meter. Does anyone know if Chevrolet offered one as well? Notice the keys are in the ignition. That lends the story a pass for using bad words. Why?

A complete, original SBC is housed under the ’74 Monte Carlo’s hood.

A/C brackets, belts all in place just like grandma ordered it.

Complete and running
  It ran! The Monte Carlo has a complete small block with all the hoses, all the belts, even the AC belt was on it. The engine was complete from air cleaner to oil pan. The nice guy who ran the yard told me it ran. He really was nice, although doing what he does, he may be the devil. He let me look at the car and I am thankful for that. Ready for more bad news?

Vehicle Emissions decal reveals 400 Small Block possibilities on the 1974 Chevy.
Vehicle Emissions decal reveals 400 Small Block possibilities on the 1974 Chevy.
Sticker shock
  It may be a Small Block 400! My picture didn’t turn out well, but it had that vague “350-400” declaration on the fan shroud emissions decal. It also appears to say ‘2-BBL.’ A 400 engine could have had a 2-barrel carburetor in 1974. 
  “That’s okay, right? We have plenty of SBC 400s around, don’t we?” 
  Monte Carlo enthusiasts prevailed that year. What they didn’t pay — in attention to the oil embargo — they paid at the pump. Chevrolet enjoyed record sales of the beautiful Monte Carlo despite rising gas prices.

This 1974 Chevy Monte Carlo was registered last year. It was a crime for it to land at the scrap yard.
This 1974 Chevy Monte Carlo was registered last year. It was a crime for it to land at the scrap yard.

Not rusty, vinyl top removed
  This car was equipped with a vinyl top but it didn’t have the detrimental rust effect those tops usually bring. I venture to guess this car was kept inside most of its life. I failed to check the paint codes. I guess I didn’t want to know. I bet it rolled out of the dealership with Chevrolet’s famed Rally wheels, though not on the car now. 
  Talk about falling into the wrong hands. This car would be an heirloom in my family. We don’t engage in this blasphemy. Sure, it was beat up a bit but I think that damage was done after landing in this graveyard of cars.

1974 Chevy Monte Carlo has a clean design, wide-mouth grill with 66 squares above the bumper.
1974 Chevy Monte Carlo has a clean design, wide-mouth grill with 66 squares above the bumper. 

Ron’s Monte Carlo Trivial Factoid
  You can tell the ’74 Montes from the ’75s by the grill. The Monte Carlo emblem was located in the grill on the ’75’s, and located above the grill, like this example from ’74. This grill was in great shape, by the way, as it should be. The car was registered up until last year
  I really doubt the crusher guy cares much about the grill in the ’74 models.

Scrap yard monsters waiting to devour this 1974 Chevy Monte Carlo.
Scrap yard monsters waiting to devour this 1974 Chevy Monte Carlo.

Don’t look!
  Although I took this picture, I hate it. See the big evil crane thing in the back ground? 
  “Let go of my Monte Carlo, you cannibals!” I screamed in my mind. As if it wasn’t troubled enough. Madness, I say.
  Do what you have to do, to not let this happen. Encourage those inclined to scrap an American classic to post an ad. Let a Junkyard Lifer know. Let someone know. This is a waste of a once-great car. 
  It hurts to be us sometimes.

Ron Kidd
— Junkyard Life

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