Back in early 2017, I drove a Chevrolet Monte Carlo into my garage for storage. At that time it drove absolutely perfect – but what about two years later?
The car was a running restoration project, and I drove it into storage for the owner who had clear intentions of restoring the car to its former glory at a later stage. Just as all of us always have. But for him, that time actually arrived a few weeks ago, where I received a phone call from him explaining that a flatbed truck would be dropping by to pick it up. Clearly, he no longer trusted driving the car some 150 miles back home. And of course, the big question was: Would it even start? I promised to put a charger to the battery and crank over the Monte Carlo to see whether it would ignite and perhaps even idle – which happened to be a demand from the transport company. The car had stood absolutely still since that early day in 2017, and I was somewhat pessimistic in relation to its chances for resuscitation without further notice.
I was able to get some power into the battery though. On the third attempt the old Chevy lump coughed lightly, and from then on I started to believe. And quite rightly so: My wife was at hand too, and gave it just a sniff of starter gas straight into the carburettor (I had removed the air filter cover), and that was all it required. It fired – on all eight cylinders, even – and after warming up a little, it could also idle without my right foot gently massaging the throttle. Succes!
Admitted, it did not run as smoothly as my XJ12, but then again: It probably didn’t back in 2017 either. Or when it was brand new for that matter. The fact that it started without major hassle was impressive enough for me. Then I carefully ventured out onto the street and rolled gently up and down the street once, and found to my own great surprise that everything worked. In fact, I honestly think the owner could have driven the Monte Carlo back to Zealand under its own power. He mostly chose to stick with the transportation company because it involved less of a risk.
However, they did not arrive as advertised. I assume they do not drive Chevrolets? Because now I know that if you do, nothing can stop you. If they’d driven a Chevy, they’d have arrived on time, wouldn’t they? I was impressed, to say the least – uhmm… with the Chevrolet Monte Carlo that is. Just as I had been when I drove the car before putting it into storage last year: Very comfortable, very silent, very airy. Stylish even. But would I want one?
Not really: I sort of like it, and there’s certainly no denying that it has both presence and style. It’s just not MY style. As much as I love Monte Carlo as a city, the Monte Carlo from Chevrolet falls somewhat short of what I usually prefer. I actually even value the way it’s so different from my usual suspects – and not least, I really appreciate a car that starts after two years of standing still.
Strangely enough, while I’m pretty sure that I wouldn’t experience such reliability here, I’d still prefer the Montecarlo from Lancia. Which I suppose says a lot more about me than it does about either of these two cars.