Going to MATS requires cruising over to The Cannery for some evening entertainment, and it also means chilling with old friends (and some new ones) at the Golden Skillet Restaurant just across from the track. As we ransacked the buffet, we kept getting stares. (Did I have a string of cheese on my chin?) We'd been found out for the mag guys we were, and settled into some great conversation. We'd seen Jim LaRoy's Duster on the trailer in the parking lot, and he was now in our face with the December 1982 issue of PHR. His dad, Bill "Pop" LaRoy, had built a 630hp 440 Wedge for us back then, and Jim wanted to do some catching up. We found out that "Pop" has left us, but Jim is still wrenching, and he's the spitting image of his dad.
Dulcich and DeFeo may have missed out, but you don't have to. Not that you need an excuse to go to Las Vegas in the first place, but the country's best Mopar meet really sweetens the pot. If you're a true Mopar guy, don't be a wuss, and be there next spring. You can check out the 2008 schedule once it's posted at www.moparsatthestrip.com.See ya there.
The Prince Of MonacoAll the classic musclecars have already been built. You can't turn the clock back and design more of 'em, so we just have to make do with the old standards. But once in a while, you see something that time forgot, like this '72 Dodge Monaco wagon. They made roughly 7,600 Monaco wagons in '72, so even in their day they were somewhat rare. David Henriksen of Phoenix, AZ, owns this one. "I worked at the dealership when these cars were new, and I liked them then," David says.
This Monaco wagon, however, is far from stock. Very far. Over the 30 years David has owned it, he's made key upgrades to the wagon, all while keeping it on the road in tip-top shape. We checked the odometer, and it's got a quarter-million miles on the clock, and counting. Under the hood resides a fresh 496-cube Wedge sporting an Edelbrock Performer RPM intake, COMP roller rockers, TTI headers, and a Crane hydraulic roller cam. The original air conditioning is still hooked up and blowing cold, David says. The mild big-block puts out 327 hp to the wheels, and pulls the Brontosaurus-like body through the air with a top speed of 145 mph.
The 727 TorqueFlite transmission has been fortified with a Gear Vendors overdrive for better fuel economy and longer highway legs. (A set of 3.73 gears is loaded in the rear.) The original 23-gallon fuel tank is still there, but an auxiliary 33-gallon tank gives the big C-body a 56-gallon total capacity. Since retiring, David has taken his Monaco to 40 states, happily chatting with truckers and other wayfarers via his antique CB radio.
For a wagon, the '72 Monaco (along with the identical looking '73) is a remarkably good-looking conveyance. The hideaway headlamps are classy and futuristic, while the body lines flow nicely for a car this size. We don't know if the Sunfire Yellow paint is original, but it looks sweet in combination with a set of 17-inch Torq-Thrust wheels. Now that we know about it, we'll have to keep our eye open for a nice '72-'73 Monaco coupe.