Robert E. Lee’s Car: 1974 Dodge Monaco Custom

052716 Barn Finds - 1974 Dodge Monaco Custom - 1

This beautiful time-capsule is in Harrisonburg, Virginia. It’s a 1974 Dodge Monaco Custom and it’s listed on eBay with a current bid of just over $1,500 and eight days left on the auction. This one is a winner, and it had a first owner with a familiar name.

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This is a third-generation Monaco which was made from 1974 to 1976. The 1974 C-Body Monacos were the first to have unibody construction. And, with precision and very unfortunate timing, Chrysler introduced this car just days before the gas crisis hit! Ouch. Predictably, sales suffered.

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The seller says that the original owner of this car, which is now in the great state of Virginia, was “Robert E. Lee”! Wow, how’s that for a coincidence? Not that Robert E. Lee, but it’s still, an interesting story. The car went to Mr. Lee’s son, and then to his son’s wife, and then his grandson had it since 2001 and it went into storage in 2004. The current owner got it and put almost $1,000 into getting the mechanical systems working again.

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It looks almost like new inside, but the seller mentions that the carpet should be replaced and the “headliner is there but it’s ugly”. The seats and door panels look perfect as does everything else shown in the interior photos provided. The trunk looks good, too. I don’t really see any rust on this car, is that possible?

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This is Dodge’s 400 cubic inch, 4-barrel V8 with just a touch over 200 hp. It’s not a road burner, but 200 hp, even in a 4,400 pound car, is decent power. 12-14 mpg doesn’t seem horrible to me, that’s what a lot of (most?) folks get when they commute with their pickups and huge SUVs. I can hear the starter on this car now, neo-neo-neo-neo-neo-neo…whiiiirrrrr.. vroom! You’ll need a couple of letters for the _O_GE badge on the front and a “D” for the rear badge, or however you want to arrange those letters works, too. You’ll also have to listen to “Hey, it’s the Blues Brothers!” constantly and hear misquote after misquote from the Blues Brothers movie if you buy this car, but it’ll be worth it! Are you fan of these big, Chrysler C-Body cars?

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Comments

  1. Fred

    I went though over 100 cars by age 25 to flip and resell. A ’74 Dodge four door similar to this was the only one I could not get running dependably, something to do with the newfangled electronic ignition.

  2. Ceezy

    Looks very similar to a Buick 225 on the side shot. Wouldn’t mind having one of these.

  3. Mr. TKD

    This is intriguing. I like it.

  4. Rock On Member

    Should stroke that sucker out to 512 cubic inches, Hot Rod Garage style. People won’t know what hit them!!!

  5. Vegas Vic

    Nifty time capsule
    Big and comfy
    Nice lines
    Yes… Tweak n torque the engine

  6. Kevin

    No no no. The starter goes: wha wha wha wha whirrr.

    Get it right.

    ;)

    • Zagamoochie

      No I specifically remember the starter going: erra te te te te te te te te te te Vrooooom!

      Like 1
  7. grant

    Yuck. Cars like this make me glad “they don’t make them like they used to.”

  8. PaulieB

    I used to see the ’76 models sitting at a Dodge Dealership in Fitchburg MA whilst waiting for the sales manager to talk with me about newspaper advertising. They sat for quite some time too. Misaligned doors and trunks lids were the order of the day. Across the street the Buick- Pontiac dealer was selling tons of cars.. not so at the Dodge dealership..

  9. pappy2d

    Had a friend whose family owned a Mopar store in Canton Illinois back when this car was new. They wouldn’t let the transport driver unload new cars until they crawled all over them as best they could while still on the transport trailer. The dealer had to reject the poor examples before they came off the truck. Once they were on the ground, the dealer owned them, for better or worse. These were not the days of world class quality control.
    But, for this money, flip the white walls around, a dual exhaust with cheap glass packs and be the only one at the Sonic cruise night.

    • Steve

      Hmmm… I wonder how would they approach a situation where there was a “good” car on the front of a transport trailer, and a “bad” car had to be unloaded to get it of…

  10. M B

    Well, ALL of the Chrysler C-body cars that were RWD WERE Unibody cars. This particular version of C-body was completely different from the 1969-73 versions. It seemed that all of the problem areas of the ’69-73 cars were fixed with this version. A/C capacity and leaks was one area. The Chrysler Lean Burn didn’t start until the 1976 model year, so this particular car only has the normal Chrysler electronic ignition system (a very reliable item, although some seem to have issues with ballast resistors, which I never did). The 4bbl is the Carter Thermoquad, which was a different breed of carb than the Rochesters and such, although Chrysler used the Quadrajets in later years.

    MPG? Fenner Tubbs Chrysler (Lubbock, TX) did some economy runs with everything in their demo fleet in ’74. A 400 Newport did 20.33 highway average mph, with a similar New Yorker440 doing 20.66 at 55mph with the cruise control. When people took a Newport or New Yorker for the weekend, the saw the mpg was accurate and bought the car. Many GM cars were traded-in! At the time, GM’s similar Pontiacs and Buicks couldn’t touch the higher mpg of the Chrysler products, by several mpg. So Fenner Tubbs have a very good sales year They had a table on the showroom floor with copies of the notorized mileage tests. Many GM owners scoffed at the numbers, but it took a weekend drive in a car they were interested in and they came back and bought it on Monday.

    Unlike the GM cars of the time, the lower belt line of the Chrysler C-bodies gave the car’s interior a light and airy feel, similar to the 1965-68 Chryslers.

    There was one day I was at the local Chrysler dealer when a transport rolled up. Seems that a particular New Yorker was to be unloaded, with the complete exhaust system not attached. The dealer rejected delivery of the car. When the transport company had installed the items, the car came back. Being a smaller dealership, he knew that if it was delivered, he’d have to be responsible for any missing items and the pain a warranty claim would be. PLUS anything the transport company to fix a car (body and paint, or mechanical) would later follow the car in warranty claims. Chrysler products back then might not have had the “laser straight” body gaps of Ford products, but I don’t recall them being that bad. Some GMs had some issues too, especially the seat upholstery headrests on the 1973+ Grand Prixs, which were awful– I couldnot believe that many of them were even allowed out of the factory!

    This car would be a very good car for somebody that could learn about it and appreciate it for what it is. Unlike many GM and Ford cars, these cars would go around corners relatively flat, with the quick steering response (compared to GM and especially Fords) known for. A good set of HD shocks and some good radials and they are just fine. The factory stereos were outstanding in sound quality and frequency response, hands down (compared to similar Fords and GMs). If looking for one of these cars, the factory stereo, split bench front seat, and tilt wheel would be on my list of “haves”.

    With all of the “good things” about these Chrysler C-body cars, this would be a great car for somebody. Especially what $2000.00 can get you on the used car market. AND with the interior size and trunk space, have almost as much people capacity and carrying capacity as a Chevy Tahoe

    Like 2
    • Ed P

      Good point! All A, B, and C body Chryslers were unibody from 1960 on. 1974 was probably the lowest point for power, performance, and fuel mileage. Getting 20+ mpg would take a determined driver. These were good looking cars that would have sold well a few years earlier.

  11. Charles

    People used to buy these big Mopar to tow RV’s. The unitized body had more steel in it than a 1/2 ton pickup of the day. The 440 and 400 were both torque monsters. The 727 trans was bullet proof. This was before the days were giant SUV’s and crewcab pickups were in every driveway.

  12. Charles

    Buy this “Bad Boy” and you could cruise down the interstate at 70 and feel like you are in your living room in the recliner!

    Like 1
  13. Oldcarsarecool

    That would be a fun toy for the money. It looks to be pretty decent . . .

  14. Scotty G Staff

    Sold, for $4,300!

  15. brian heaton

    This was a clone to my first car, down to the color. I’d love to have one of these land yachts again. If anyone has a builder 74 Monaco cheap, I’d love to put one back on the road again. I was building a new garage and put mine in storage. It disappeared and was never seen again. I owned it 28 years.

  16. Bob C.

    A friend of mine had a fury sedan this same year. I thought he was stupid for buying it for the price he paid at the time (900 dollars in 1981). Turned out I was wrong because that car was a bulletproof tank with a 360 engine. He could handle that thing like a sports car.

    Like 1
  17. Brian

    anybody selling one of these in any condition, or knows the whereabouts of a 74 Monaco TWO door, please let me know. finders’ fee. brian_heaton@yahoo.com thanks.

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