Classic Aussie muscle. Iconic even. How could you say no? So, here we go again… Actually, maybe that should say “Here we went”, because this resto was done 16 years ago in 2000. My wife’s first car was a 186 LS Monaro and I did a freshen up on that one, stripping the vinyl roof, respray, and getting the seat faces re-trimmed. It was sold when she upgraded the school bus to the ’81 Cherokee Chief, but as mentioned elsewhere in this blog, the Chief started to deteriorate due to white ants from the many trips to Fraser, Moreton and Stradbroke islands. So enter a ’73 LS with 308 and Trimatic. This one was an elcheapo “woodridge” hot rod, crap red paintjob, crap interior, roof lining painted black and as we were to find out later, two different heads on a tired engine. Two and a half G was a reasonable price, because good ones were pulling about $10,000 back then. I knew it was going to be a full frame off, back to bare metal rebuild when I bought it.
First thing, find a good donk… Got one, low mileage, attached to a rusted out Statesman DeVille, with factory air and a few other bits that would come in handy. My prospective son-in-law was serving his apprenticeship as an engine builder at the time, and he organized the engine recon as a project at TAFE college. Turned out to be an original bore… sweet… knew a bloke with stock pistons who couldn’t find a block to suit, so scored them as well. A few weeks later we had a balanced and blue-printed 308, hardened valve seats to run unleaded, mild cam (I did want it stock, Justin!!) for an all up cost of a set of gaskets… around three hundred bucks. Then the usual resto stuff, paint stripped to bare metal, new rubbers, windscreen etc etc.
After doing quite a few restorations in the past I found the interiors always let the completed look a bit yuk! So I bought a second hand, walking-foot, upholstery machine, picked up an old seat from the wreckers, pulled it apart stitch by stitch and redid it with new vinyl…. looked schmick! So after doing a full job on my boy’s VW Microbus, including the roof lining, my sewing apprenticeship was completed and the Monaro got the full treatment in marine vinyl with matching perforated vinyl inserts. Not original, by any standards but the car is not a matching numbers, top dollar thing.
So the cook now had, not a chick-magnet but an “old bloke”-magnet because she would get chatted-up by all the old fellas in the car park when she went shopping… “Oooo I remember back in the day, I used to have one of these… Nice car, lady”
All went well for a few years until one day a couple of yobbos in a Commodore started following her around, so before coming home she did the block a couple of times to loose them before turning into the driveway. I didn’t like the idea of some undesirables confronting her in a carpark, so the Monaro is under covers and she now drives a Mazda. It’s been sitting a few years now and needs a bit of “love” including a new set of tyres, probably a respray and a couple of other things…. might sell it…. might not….