UNBREADED! '71 Monaco Wagon


Fluid Technician with a hat
Oct 31, 2013
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Winnebago Mn
I've posted a couple of pictures, thought I'd get around to starting a thread for my '71 Monaco wagon, which has picked up the name UNBREADED! thanks to Wyatt @71Polara383 and a certain YouTube stream.

I got the car at the beginning of April, out of Idaho. Also got two dogs along with the car. They were going to go to a shelter, as the seller was moving and couldn't take them with him, and I couldn't let that happen.


Winston on the left, and Romeo on the right. Great travel companions, they behaved very well.

I rented a truck and a U-Haul trailer, and the wagon towed like crap from Idaho all they way to eastern Wyoming, then it settled down a bit, and I was able to go faster than 65. Glad I've towed with these U-Haul trailers before, or I'd have had such a deep pucker, I'd have sucked the seat cover in!

Stopped at Devil's Tower for the required photo shoot. Third car I've brought there.



I don't know why people west of the Mississippi say going to Carlisle is so far, it's right here in eastern Wyoming.


Made another tourist stop in Mitchell South Dakota, at the Corn Palace.


Made it 17 miles from home, and I had to stop. I was holding my eyelids open so I could stay within the lines. Pulled off to go home, and ducked into a Walmart parking lot for some much needed shut-eye. I'm not as young as I once was, but after a short nap, I was home. Dogs got to test out the couch they would instantly claim.


They look so innocent, don't they? Romeo was 9 months old, Winston a year and a half. Romeo is working the puppy out, but he's still got plenty right now.

The next day we all loaded up for a day trip down to Rockford IL, to drop off the wagon with Wyatt. I had little to no space, and very little time, and Wyatt knows these cars much better than I do, so I dropped it off for him to go over.


As you can see, there were plenty of parts in the wagon, some for the wagon, most for '70 model year cars. I gave the '70 stuff to Wyatt.


At this time, the drivers rear door didn't open, the tailgate glass didn't operate, the dash pad was roasted, and the dash faces were bad, or missing. The heater control was also bad, and the radio was sitting in a box. @70 Sport Suburban Manny hooked me up with a sweet dash pad and dash faces and some other bits, got the door to open, and fixed the tailgate operation. A big thanks to Manny and Wyatt for getting that done.

Next up for Wyatt was the drivetrain. He got the car started and running. It purred like a kitten at idle, and even moved under it's own power. A 383-2 car, it's not the fastest, but it does have a 3.23 rear gear. It developed a lifter noise after warmup. Nothing at idle, but under load, there was some noise. And the oil light would come on. Cooled down, it was fine and no light, but once warm...

I got a chance to drive the car when I went down for @sixpkrt Tim's 6th annual C body show in June, and got to experience the lifter noise just as we were getting back from a loop around the shop. By this time, it was wearing new temporary shoes. They will end up on another car of mine, when the permanent wheels are back in stock. But it looks great for now! Brakes function as they should.


So I went back home, and we waited for Wyatt to try some "magic" to get that lifter to shut up.

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Well, the tricks Wyatt tried didn't get rid of the lifter noise or make the oil light go out, so the engine came out of the car. The bearings looked okay after an inspection, so a new oil pump and timing chain went on, the factory nylon was crammed into the pickup, along with chunks of sludge. Think we found the reason for a lack of proper oiling. No photos of that gunk, but it wasn't the best.








Under the direction of @Xenon, Wyatt went ahead and cleaned the engine and oil passages to the highest standards possible, blast the hell outta them, getting it ready for reassembly. He did say this was the nastiest engine he has ever cleaned, and it could be cleaner. Crud is just baked on the outside in those hard to reach areas. New gaskets abound on this engine, reusable oil pan/windage tray from summit, reusable valve cover gaskets, timing and intake from FelPro. Kept the exhaust manifolds on so we didn't have to deal with those leaking.

Keeping the car single exhaust for now, it is quiet, too quiet for Wyatt's liking.

Also keeping the stock A/C setup in place. Pretty sure it doesn't cool, but the compressor spins, and I don't have to source different pulleys until a later date, as I will be ditching the setup.

The goal is to make a reliable cruiser that can tow a car, it does have the factory tow package, so I have HD suspension and brakes and I'd like to use them as intended. The woodgrain will not be returning to the sides of this car, I prefer it without. The trim does look a little funky, but it adds to the confusion.

Here's what it looked like, minus the passenger side mirror.


And it will keep the RWL tires on aftermarket rims, I'm not a stock wheel type of guy, but I will keep them with the car, and maybe put them on for a show or two. But other than that, it's gonna be wearing sneakers instead of dress shoes.

Wyatt also installed bucket seats I traded for, and a buddy seat that came with the car. So it's got a bit of flair inside. Still need to recover the seats and install carpet after a quick floor repair. A headliner will also be going in at a later date. Replace some bushings, a front sway bar link is bad, I imagine others may be in similar condition, another order will be placed with Craig @mobileparts for some proper replacement parts.

Here it is getting gas.


And next to Wyatt's '71 Monaco wagon, and the ServProlara.

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I didn't look at the car when I picked it up, the seller was moving, and we just loaded as much as we could into the wagon and the truck, then out of the truck into the wagon so I could fit the dogs. I got all kinds of things I wasn't expecting, so I overlooked any inspection of the car. We did quickly try to turn the engine over, but it didn't make a noise. Like an idiot, I put the plastic grille pieces up front, and the bigger heavy items in back. :BangHead:

539 miles after getting the car loaded, I felt it was a good idea to inspect it and see what I got.


Some rust on the drivers fender, the worst on the car.





I thought something was wrong, nope, just how wagons are.




Inspection continued.










Not bad for a 51 year old ride. The foot well in the rear has some bad rust, so that will need to be repaired at some point. I need to find or make a receiver hitch so I can tow. The engine will get upgraded to a 4bbl carb, a cam and some better flowing exhaust. Other than that, it should be a fun cruiser, just what the previous owner had planned for it. Glad we both think alike with this car.
As the car sits, just waiting for an oil pickup tube to arrive, then the engine can be reassembled and put back into the car. Wyatt's going to drive the car for a while, and if all goes well in that stage, I'll come get the car and bring it home.

I'm glad I got to drive it once, but I can't wait to put some miles on the car next year. I'll use this like the Cicada, as a get in and go driver. Being it will have been gone through, it's light years ahead of the Cicada in terms of what's known vs not, and the Cicada gave me 10k miles of almost trouble free service over two years.

Dash from Manny



Frame was crusty, I think it was replaced.


Getting closer.






A wagon wonderland.



Manny fixing the tailgate issues.


Having another '71 Monaco wagon to reference was very helpful. Again, thanks to Manny and Wyatt for helping me with parts, knowledge, and putting hours into my car, I'd still be looking at a wagon full of parts if I did it myself.
What did you use to remove the remainder of that old, crusty woodgrain applique? Looks like much of it was already gone.
Congratulations on the sweet car. Also good job with the puppies. Robin and I just brought this guy home from a shelter. 18 months old. Meet Ozzie.
Ozzie 1.jpg
Great looking wagon !
I honestly like the original wheel covers on these cars .
Have fun with your new toy and road crew !
Glad you saved them doggies, Scott! (Nice station wagon too)
Our yellow lab just passed with cancer. He was 14 1/2 years old.
We were too tore up to get another dog right away.
Diggin the progress on the wagon Scott. I went out by Wyatt's place and saw it not long after it was dropped off in Rockford. When I opened the driver's door, a swarm of hornets came buzzin out of there. Could've named the wagon the "Hornet" in keeping with the bug theme going like the other ride you've had, a.k.a the "Cicada"
UNBREADED is looking good and having the two of the best wagon aficionados working on the wagon between Wyatt & Manny is a smart move. Xenon's engine advise will go a long way too in believing you, Winston & Romeo will all have smiles on your faces when out cruising the roads in MN.
BTW, glad to hear you'll be using the buddy seat I sent to the seller last year, and that you will be following through on the vision he had. It's gonna be one sharp wagon when done.
Glad the car got saved. 71 Monaco is one of my favourites and a wagon is unbelievably rare to see now. I think it a pity it is not being taken back to original.
Glad the car got saved. 71 Monaco is one of my favourites and a wagon is unbelievably rare to see now. I think it a pity it is not being taken back to original.
It isn't being taken that far away from original, that it can't be put back. I honestly don't care for the color woodgrain I've seen on '71's, it's too dark for my liking, so I won't be worrying about replacing it. Plus I like it one solid color. Other than putting correct buckets and the buddy seat, the car will still be original in almost all other aspects. If the engine works out the way it is, I'm gonna leave it the way it sits. If not, it will get a warmed over rebuild, something with a little more pep, not a race engine. It is, after all, a wagon.

A reliable, fun wagon to cruise around in with the dogs. That's the plan the seller had, and also what I had in mind before I ever picked up the phone. But I'm glad I made that call, and I can't wait to drive my wagon again.