History: How I came to love my Monte.
First off, let me introduce myself. My name is Robert Luke. I'm called by Rob, Dillweed, or Spanky. I was born in 1979 in Fairfax, VA and live in Herndon, VA right now. My parents have been divorced for awhile now. I have one younger brother and I'm engaged to be married to my beautiful fiancé Kim (May of 2004). I've always loved cars and racing. I'm a LAN Support Engineer for a company called ESI (Engineered Services, Inc.) based in Chantilly, VA, where we do Building Automation (HVAC and security in commercial buildings tied into a computer). I've been there since July of 1999. That's enough about me, no onto the interesting stuff.
When I was a junior in High School a buddy of mine came to me and told me there was a sweet Monte Carlo FOR SALE out in the middle of no where that I should look at. I asked him if it was an SS, and he said that he wasn't sure. I figured why not, let go take a look. We got in his car and took a little road trip. It was about 40 miles from my house. As we came around the last bend, there it was sitting in the grass with a FOR SALE sign in it. An '87 Monte Carlo SS with T-Tops. I knew right then that I was going to take it home. Love at first sight. We pulled into the driveway, looked around the car a couple of times, and went up to the door to see the owner. A man answered the door and told us he would be more than happy to show and tell his car for us. After telling us a few things about it he gave me the keys. Now you have to remember that I was only 17 years old and the only vehicles I had ever driven more than 5 minutes was my mom's mini van and my dad's GMC Jimmy. I thought the entire time that I get to drive a rear wheel drive V8. What a rush it was to start it up. The rumble of all 8 with a tone that missed your ears and went straight to the heart. I put it in gear and ask the owner if he's getting in. The owner said, "No, go take her for a spin." Being 17 this was a big deal. Not only did I have all this power, but I was able to drive it with just my friend in the car. We pull out onto the rural road and get out of ear shot before I put the pedal down as far as I can. What a rush. Nothing mattered anymore. I couldn't hear anything around me besides the voice in my head going "WEEEEEEEEEHAAAAAAAAAAA". That was the first time I could remember being behind the wheel, that I just felt free. I pulled over to the side of the road, reluctantly, to let my friend take it for a spin. As we pulled back in the driveway, the owner was standing there with a cigarette and a smile. I told him that I will have to think about it and will let him know what I think. I immediately drove home and talked with my dad. Being the fatherly figure, he had to try and talk me out of it. You know the drill, can you afford it, can you afford the insurance (luckily it's not considered a sports car by my insurance companies for NASCAR regulations ;), are you sure you want to do this kind of thing. I knew I could and more importantly I knew I wanted it. I called the guy back and if I remember correctly I offered him $3600 for it. He accepted and my dad and I went to pick it up the next day.
During all of this my mother knew that I was going to buy a car, but she couldn't understand why I wanted a Monte Carlo. She knew I was into sports cars and figured I'd end up in a Camaro or something of that nature. Little did she know at the time I was talking about a SS, not a LS. Since she had not seen this yet and my dad didn't know what she was going to think about this, we went over to his house to do some "paint restoration" on it. It had been sitting out under a tree for about 8 months and the paint was in pretty bad shape. We figured if we washed it, compounded it, and waxed it, it might go over a little better. We began work immediately. Washing away until I looked underneath the car to see a greenish puddle forming. To my surprise the water pump decided to go. Man I was peeved. Brand new car, and now I have to work on it just to take it home. We stopped washing it and went up to the auto parts store to buy a water pump. My very first experience on my own car, a shower of antifreeze. YUCK. Now that I think back on it, that was the beginning of what has been an awesome automotive learning experience.
As I worked on the water pump my dad started compounding by hand the gray paint. He put more effort into that car after I went home. I came back the next day to finish up the water pump and wax the car. After we where all done the car was a "get lost in" black. It was beautiful. By this point I just had to go drive it home to show my mother. I pulled up in front of my mom's house and started revving the engine to let he know I was home. She immediately came out with the camera (you know how mother's are) :). She was shocked. She had no idea this is what I was getting and loved it immediately. Don't know whether that was because her baby owned his first car or because of the nature of the car (probably a little bit of both).
The cars name, The Abomination, came from another friend of mine and I sitting in my room thinking of a good name. We pulled out a Thesaurus and started at the beginning. We came across Abomination or Black Beast, and thought that was the greatest. Since then that's been it's name. Thanks Ben.
From then on I drove it everywhere. To school, to work, even to the prom. Quite a bit happened in that car and I still have those memories.
One day my senior year, I noticed it was over heating. I started to freak. I had no idea what was going on. Found out that the head gasket blew. I didn't know what to do. I couldn't afford a new engine at that time. I was just about to go to college and needed something reliable. Being the fool I was I tried to sell it. Luckily my dad said he would buy it off of me and put a new motor in it. I figured that would be great. At least it would still be in the family. Reluctantly I sold it to him for $1200. I took that $1200 and bought my first truck. A 1995 GMC Sonoma 4-banger. It was great for getting me from point A to point B, but couldn't get out of it's own way. My dad on the other hand started working immediately on the Monte. He pulled the heads off and found handfuls of metal shaving. He knew it was time to pull the tired old 305. He found a 350 at AllChevyEngines.com that fit perfectly with his budget and power range. He began the work.
While all of this was going on I moved out to my first place and started to get comfortable again. I got antsy. Driving down the road to go see my girlfriend (at the time, is now my fiancé) I saw a white '85 SS on the side of the road with a FOR SALE sign in it. I figured I'd take a look. I pulled over to find it had a 383 stroker just put in and $3900 posted in the window. I couldn't help it. I had to have it. I bought it from my the owner and took it right over to my dad's to show. Both of us had Montes and this was a great bonding experience for us.
About a year later my Sonoma blew a head gasket, 2 valve seals, and had a clogged up catalytic converter. I thought that it was time to buy a new truck. I traded it in for a '98 GMC Sierra Z71 with 26,000 miles on it.
Couldn't be happier with the truck. A month later my dad one upped me and bought a 2001 GMC Sierra Z71. I thought this was great. Both of us with SS's and Z71s.
With all of this going on I moved back home (roommate fall out). My dad started hinting at retiring soon and wanted to sell the Monte Carlo. I couldn't let this happen. If he was going to sell it he was going to sell it to me. I put my Monte up for sale and sold it over the Internet to a man in southern VA as a father son project. He is now on the Monte list now by the way. Hi Dan. As soon as I got the money from him I handed it right over to my dad. Now I own my very first car back, and have promised to not let it go again.