COAL: 1983 Chevrolet Monte Carlo – Unwanted Attention

We pick up this story after I had gotten rid of the Pontiac Acadian.  I had decided to use my ’70 Chevy pickup for the summer, and the start of university, but the engine in the truck wasn’t up to the strain of daily use.  My big idea was to find a suitable engine in a vehicle just good enough to drive for the fall and winter.  

Back to the buy and sell paper I went.  After some searching, a ’83 Monte Carlo in a seedy part of town was found.  Inspected for 9 months, 4 good tires, no holes in the body, and a healthy 305 under the hood.  $500 exchanged hands, and I was good to go.  The car had the typical problems for the type, all too familiar to those who owned these – bad upper ball joints, easily fixed, worn door pins and bushings making the doors drag on the striker pins, and a broken frame in back, patched up with some tar, and bolts through the trunk.

The twin to mine, if mine was in much better shape.  Via

This car seemed to have a flaw that showed up the first week I had it.  I was pulled over by the RCMP, I’d had my high beams on.  This was during the day.  The officer was pleasant enough, he checked my info and let me go.  I’d thought it was odd.  Two days later, I was pulled over again, and the officer said I was speeding.  I hadn’t been – and they let me go again.

Near as I could figure, the guy I bought the car from or a car like it was well known to the police, and they were checking it out.  I’d never been pulled over before, and haven’t been pulled over to this day.  After talking it over with my father, we decided to get the car resprayed.  Some mis-ordered paint from one of the auto parts stores in town was obtained, and the car was cheaply painted.

The only picture of the car I could find.  It’s a yard of Curbside Classics!

With the orange and black paint job, the 19-year old me thought it was quite sharp.  It had gotten the nickname General Lee for the obvious reasons.  Looking back, it was a silly colour, but what can you do?  The car proved to be the most reliable car I’d had yet – never once giving an ounce of trouble, and even completing a trip to Chatham, New Brunswick, to visit a close friend in college there.  It was about a 1300 KM round trip in an old, cheap car, and it didn’t miss a trick.

I liked the car so much I swore I’d have another one some day, and I eventually did – in spirit, if not in form.  The winter had passed, and the time came to take the engine out of the car, and put it in the truck.  It was a perfect truck engine – Lots of low-end torque, but not much on the upper end of the rev range.  The car was sent off to the scrap yard.  The frame and floor pans were pretty rough, and the car wasn’t worth saving.  I never missed getting pulled over by the Mounties, though.  Did any of you have a car that seemed to attract law enforcement?