Kevin Wiles sat in his garage transfixed, staring at the '72 Monte Carlo that was rusting in peace before his very eyes. Deep in thought, he was exploring the endless maze of ideas that presented themselves. The idea that was forming was a solid, as in cool, automotive creation, poles apart from what others had done before. Little did he know, the implementation of this plan would occupy the next six years of spare time and, of course, consume his modest budget.
After all, it wasn't that long ago that he found the ad in the local paper advertising the sale of several first-generation Monte Carlos. Traveling the shaded byways from his home in South Carolina to Georgia, he happened upon his destination. Tucked away in the woods near the seller's home sat the '72 Monte Carlo he'd read about. The vinyl top had long since rotted away, the floors, rear quarters and front fenders were rusting badly.
A 350/ Turbo 350 transmission combo was under the hood, along with the bench seat and 12-bolt rearend. It was rougher than expected, but the asking price was just $300, and he couldn't refuse. As he sat there in his garage, Kevin was acutely aware that his plan to replicate the renowned Junior Johnson/Bobby Allison Coca-Cola NASCAR stocker was indeed a unique undertaking. What's more, making it street-legal would be the end goal of the project.
The lengthy process of rust repair and body modification began in earnest. Sparks flew and the sounds of hammers shaping metal were heard emanating from Wiles' home garage. Members of the First-Generation Monte Carlo Club and local friends lent Kevin their time and talent. Leo Konik and Jared Richey of Konik's Classics were instrumental in panel replacement and rust repair. More important than rust repair, custom modifications to the Monte Carlo were required to fit the 15x10 Rally wheels from Wheel Vintiques.
The stance of the NASCAR look-alike was all-important. The wheelwells needed to be radiused and flared in order to achieve this look. When the front fenders were cut, the structural integrity was violated; they wavered and folded like a retreating French army. As bad as the front fenders were, the rear quarters were worse. Ingenuity and determination ruled the day and all fabrication problems were eventually overcome.
Kevin located a period-correct 427 big-block with iron heads and a Q-jet carb. The date stampings were on the block, so it was left in all its OE glory except for a set of vintage MT valve covers. Soon thereafter a Borg Warner T-10 four-speed gearbox was located, the driveshaft was shortened and the OE 12-bolt was put back into action. The Monte Carlo's suspension platform remains in its stock condition, minus a missing coil in the front springs. The construction of the rollcage in the cab and engine bay was carefully crafted from photos of the actual car. Danny Richey was responsible for the rollcage and did a splendid job based on just photos. The rest of the cab is a no-frills construction job-no A/C, no heater, no radio and no carpet. Handcrafted aluminum panels adorn the cab where vinyl panels used to be.
From the looks of this vehicle, the recurring thought "How can this be street-legal" is foremost in most viewers' minds. The Monte Carlo has all of its functional blinkers, headlights and taillights. The riveted sheetmetal patches that cover the lights are cleverly held in place with magnets, while the taillights can be screwed and unscrewed in place within minutes. Don Schlieger at Rock Lake Digital Imaging in Lake Mills, Wisconsin, used Kevin's art designs to produce the vinyl graphics that cover the car. Kevin has created a unique street car that will stand out in any car show crowd. How many of us have that bragging right?