Loaded 440 V8 Hauler: 1973 Dodge Monaco Wagon

Scotty GilbertsonBy Scotty Gilbertson

There are wagons and then there are wagons. This 1973 Dodge Monaco Wagon is a wagon-wagon. A wagon lover’s wagon. It’s wagonriffic, it’s.. er.. ok, enough of that. (but, it’s a wagon!) This wagon of wagons is listed on eBay in beautiful Greenville, South Carolina with bids of $3,700 and there is no reserve with three days left on the auction.

The seller says that this is “a good solid Southern car that has spent all its life in Western North Carolina, and as such has VERY solid floors, floor braces, body panels, rockers and so forth. When we got the car it had sat on concrete inside a nice dry building since 1991, which is the year of the last inspection sticker on the windshield, so the old girl has been off the road more than she’s been on it”. I am a rabid fan of this era Dodge Monaco with covered headlights – and a wagon with a 440? Mmm mmmm..

This giant, 19-foot-long Monaco wagon looks great in the overall photos but once you look at the detail shots, and there are lot of good photos, you’ll see that there is a lot of rust, hopefully just surface rust. It may be challenging to control the spread if it because it’s literally in every nook and cranny, at least it looks like it is. The owner says that there “are a few, very few, spots of localized rust. All very minor and easily fixed. Namely a little at the bottom of each front fender which is absolutely typical and a tiny bit on the tail gate.”

The carpets have me worried but hopefully there isn’t any bad rust under there. They say that the “floorboards are super solid under the rugs, as is the big tub the rear facing passengers feet fit down in.” A carpet kit is probably $3,500 for a car this big… just kidding of course, but this is one lonnnng car. The driver’s side of the front seat needs help but just about everything else looks good inside, other than the carpets and the steering wheel having a couple of cracks in it. And the rear-facing seat looks great, even if the surrounding area is in need of work. This car is loaded with full power and AC, which the seller says is all there, and the “power windows work but nothing happens when you hit the power seat switch or tail gate window. Likewise with the power door locks.”

And there it is, the monster 440 cubic-inch V8 which by 1973 had 220 hp and 350 ft-lb of torque. That isn’t a bad amount of power but when the car weighs almost 2.5 tons, another 50-100 hp would be nice since you’re going to get horrible mpg anyway. The seller mentions how they got it running after it was sitting for so many years, they “took all the spark plugs out, which all looked really good, and shot light machine oil in all the cylinders and then left it sit 24 hours. The oil on the dip stick looked good and was up to level so we spun the engine over about 30 revolutions with no spark plugs in it to build up oil pressure. The big 440 engine spun over just as free as a bird. We then put new spark plugs in, undid the fuel inlet pipe and filled the carb up with Premium gas from a squirt bottle. She fired right up on the second revolution!” Zinnnnnnng, that easy..  Would you restore this Monaco wagon or get it working great and use it as it looks now?

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Comments

  1. Moparmann

    Wagon, HO! CIRCLE THE WAGON, BOYS! Oh!…cool example of what passed for a big family car, back in the day. I’d try to restore the paint/Dinoc, put a matching set of tires, and perfaps some Chrysler road wheels and then head out west across the praries!! 🙂




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  2. Rube Goldberg Member

    The workhorse of the American family. Most often times, seen pulling a boat or travel trailer. 6.8 city/10 highway. Pulling something with the A/C on, even less. Still, gas was cheap( 38.5 cents in May of ’73) and we enjoyed stopping for gas a lot, got out of the car and bought stuff. I don’t see a big call for a gas-guzzler wagon like this, you want a vintage wagon today, there’s better choices ( AMC Sportabout would be my choice) Looks like demo-derby bound for the old Mopar wagon.




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    • Dick Johnson

      Be afraid… be verrrry afraid. The MoPar Christine fuel(blood)line still exists. When this car comes through your front door, remember what you said about demo derby material.

      Case in point: we were working on the front brakes of a ’58 Dodge wagon a few years back, and a customer called it an obscene name. The brand new jack stand on the left front immediately sheared it’s heigth stop, and the wagon’s front bumper stopped about 1/4″ from his knee cap. The floor jack saved the rest of us. That’s ok. He was a Lexus owner anyway.




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  3. Dovi65

    It’s a big, HUGE wagon. It’s fully loaded. It’s a gas-guzzler .. yep, checks all the right boxes for me. I’d restore this lovely lady back to her original glory. This is what a wagon should be.
    Give her a set of new radials, maybe swap the hubcaps for a set of Dodge rally wheels .. and drive the heck out of it!!




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  4. JimBot

    Lots of rust? I don’t think you know what a rusty car looks like ..




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    • Jack Ware

      I’m with you there ‘ Jimbot’ c ‘mon upta Maine and I’ll show em what a rusty project looks like .,




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    • Scotty Gilbertson Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Ohhhh I know a rusty car, JimBot, just ask anyone who has seen my daily driver. My point was, how do you fix that creeping rust in every crevasse without doing a nut and bolt restoration which this car will probably never have.




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      • imperialist1960

        SEM makes a liquid called RUST SEAL. get it into nooks and crannies or not and it converts rust to inert black coal-like material and seals with a paintable surface when done. MAGICAL. take your hood off, invert it, swish this around and you’ll kill everything that’s hiding between the two stampings, for example. Get a little bottle (not cheap) and try it out on something rusty. You’ll be surprised.




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    • Rube Goldberg Member

      Oh, that’s hittin’ below the belt, telling someone from the upper Midwest, they don’t know what a rusty car looks like. We invented the “rust-bucket” and due to lackadaisical inspections, many are still on the road. Once in a while, you’ll see a big chunk at the side. It is all big scam to have the cars rust away, so new ones can be sold. Not like you southern folks where cars last forever.
      And I’ve seen Scotty’s DD, and it’s the cleanest Outback with 360K miles I’ve ever seen.




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  5. Whippeteer

    “a good solid Southern car that has spent all its life in Western North Carolina”

    To the uninitiated, Western NC is mountains with snow and ice in the winter…




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    • Whippeteer

      Once while driving home from KY when I lived in NC, there was a blizzard a few days before and the mountain roads were a bit scary, especially in the shaded areas. That was in late April…




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  6. KSwheatfarmer Member

    Love the front end styling,such a jet fighter inspired look to my eye. Not sure about that demo- derby future,the way wagon prices have escalated recently I think most are going to be saved. I tried to give a late 70’s Chrysler full size 4-door to my hard-core derby buddy last week,he passed, only interested in certain year Crown Vic and Lincolns,




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    • leiniedude Member

      Agree on the front end KS. Looks like it made it to Knoxville for the Worlds Fair and back, so thats good. Not that it matters, but I really like it. Especially with that Corinthian vinyl interior.




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  7. MFerrell

    Nice commuter car.




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  8. angryjonny

    Something about grocery getters with white letter tires, man. That’s pro-street.




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  9. Dave Suton

    Believe it or not, a little pledge on the wood side paneling, goes a long way….until it rains. Cool car.




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  10. Tim Pickering

    My first time behind the wheel of a car was in grandpa’s 64 Chevelle station wagon; I was 11 years old at the time. When I ‘officially’ learned to drive, it was 4 years later in a 66 Impala station wagon… and I took my driver’s test in it as well – including having to parallel park that beast.

    I love wagons and old MOPARs (my first car being a Fury II), and I’d buy this in a heartbeat if I could. But if I brought it home, the wife would tell me I have to live in it. Of course, I could probably sleep pretty comfortably in one of these! Hmmm…




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  11. Del

    Very rare Wagon. Worth twice whats going.

    Do not sell to a Demo Derby Dip. This needs TLC and restoration




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  12. mike D

    I thought this looked familiar, the seller explains why . I like the idea of Pledge to bring back the siding it will bead! now, could it be that someone used car wax on the siding and that is the end result? the rest of the car is fine, so just replace it?




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  13. Drew V.

    Mild cosmetic resto, New carpets, headliner, steering wheel and repair seat… replace all fluids,belts & hoses, rebuild carb, etc… “DRIVE IT”…




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  14. 'Cuda 440

    15.3 mpg these get !

    Swap the carburetor and gain 30 more hp,change the intake manifold to a duel plane intake,and put h.p exhaust manifolds on the car and duel exhaust with no cats and no resonators !

    These mods should give 50 hp,as stock carb was a power robber !

    Years ago I put a 1974 CarterThermoquad carb on my 68 Charger RT when my factory carter decided to leak on a Sunday night..Needing to go work Monday morning,my buddy had a complete 74 440 sitting in his garage ready for rebuild ..So,I called him,he brought it over (lucky he lived 2 minutes away from me) We put it on ..then went WOW !! It lost how much h.p !! Unreal..

    The thermoquad was in perfect condition being 14 years old at the time and the 440 even was maintained and ran perfect,albeit it was in a wrecked Newport that was t boned,so we pulled all the parts we could off the car.

    The Thermoquad carb dropped the performance in my 68 440 Magnum big time ! The car felt like it was down 50 hp !! It was like driving without the 4bbl kicking in (nearly)..

    I quickly ordered a rebuild kit and by Thursday Night my Carter was rebuilt and this time I re jetted and it hauled mid 12 second 1/4 mile and 4 second 0-60’s again…440 maganum bone stock,rejetted carb,stock exhaust manifolds,turbo mufflers,727 auto and 3.23 gearing !




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  15. Scott Tait

    Its …huge …and very cool…love it




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  16. Mike R.

    Nice old wagon. I’d rebuild the carburetor, get the jetting Just right, & add a lock-over drive transmission. That should get the mpg up close to or over 20 mpg. These cars ride great!!




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  17. VR

    Always thought Mopar stole this look from Mercury’s 1969 Marquis. They look like twins from the front, excluding the bumper guards on the Dodge.




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  18. LAWRENCE

    Cool !




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  19. Troy s

    Man, I forgot how big those things are! Lots of interesting things come to mind when I see those big station wagons with all that room in the back, nothing I could repeat here though.




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  20. Mattyou63

    The ugly duckling before it became a beautiful swan. Ironic how cars in the 70’s that you thought were ugly are now marvelous..case in point – 71 mach 1..station wagons,4 door cars..I love em all from days gone by.one of my very favorites ..66 impala station wagon even tho I got my face smashed on the dash in a wreck in 68




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  21. Mattyou63

    Hope the day doesn’t come that I feel like saying the same for the 83 Ford ranger.lol




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