Friday, November 8, 2013

I.S.O. #3....Was my 1978 Monza Spyder stolen and recovered in 1981??

In this 3rd and latest installment of the "In Search of" files....

I'm interested in more information about a rumor surrounding this car.

Here's how it started..

I'm at a car show displaying my car.  People are walking by, it's a great day, some are asking casual questions about the car. It's a typical nice afternoon show..

One person comes around and is unusually interested in the car, especially the interior.

I know it's good to talk to these kind of on-lookers, as you get tips and leads on secret stashes of parts, and cars.

As I get to talking the dude,  He ask's me " this a '77 ? ? "   Me... nope a 78..
Him "No way... THIS is a 77!"  I laugh and say nope I'm sure it's a '78,  why do you think it's a 77?

He goes THIS INTERIOR!  I remember this interior!!

I go well..  then you remember a '78 because this pattern was '78 ONLY.

He goes... "No way man!! I STOLE a '77 Monza Spyder just like this, with THIS interior from 'Greece Towne Mall'  in 1981, when I was 17 "!!!

(Greece towne Mall is in  'Greece', NY.  a suburb of Rochester, NY).

Greece Town Mall , Long Ridge Mall, Rochester, New York,

 He also added that,  He and a few friends had it for a about 3 weeks before they were caught.

 He had it stuck in his mind that it was a 77, but he was certain it was an identical Red Monza Spyder (with the decals)... and the interior was what he remembered most.

I'd like to not believe him, since, well, who want's to think of their prized cruiser going thorough all that??      ..and anyways,..what are the chances it's the same car? since he insist's the one he stole was a '77 and not a '78.

But upon researching the details... some statistic's and some evidence strongly suggest's that the rumor is true and that this is in fact, the same car he stole.

Here's some thought's:

There could have been another Red '77 Monza Spyder with the unusual red interior in town. around that time. A few in fact since Monza's were selling well at that time, and red was a popular color.

But having the Spyder option narrows down possibilities a lot, since the option was expensive and they sold about 1 or 2 per dealer.

Of the handful of '77/ '78/ '79  spyders let loose around the area ., only a few would have been red. Silver, Black white Blue and Red were typically the most popular color's for the entire line up. Let's assume it was the same for Spyder's. But, there were 14 other color choices...  So while there were maybe a few Spyder's running around town.. (One or two sold per dealership/ per year.)  considering 7 area dealerships, that would equal roughly 35-40 Spyder candidates.
 If 25 % of those were red.. that leaves @ 7 to 10 red Spyder candidates in town..

 But then there's the tan interior fact....
If there was a '77 red spyder in town, Or another Red '78 or red '79.. it would have also had to have a Tan interior with the "custom cloth" option. Most red cars would have either the Black ( most common) or Red interior.

  And if it was a 1977 or 1979 with tan interior, there would be no mistaking the 78's interior pattern for it.
The other years were just a plain Tan colored seat, no pattern.

 The 78's had this pattern (below) straight out of the Betty Crocker catalog.

And this fellow's strongest memory was of the seat pattern style. So that strongly suggest's that, over the years his memory simply swapped 78 for a 77.

 It would be very easy to have that tiny detail just a bit off after all these years.

chevy monza, stole, stolen, 1981, rochester, greece ny,
The stock 'Custom Cloth' option in Camel Tan, RPO 62J

A full shot of the interior, as it is. 

Add in the confirmed V8 with 4speed, (not auto) and chances are slim it was any other monza!

Exterior color Red, 15k made..
Spyder Package 6,391
V8 option 9,478 = less with 4speed. more were automatics.
Tan interior WITH Optional Cloth upgrade.. 5,677 
To get all these rare options together on one car... it becomes one of a few hundred for the whole country.
One of maybe 2 or 3 close duplicates for the 'area'.

The unfortunate news is that he had it for a few weeks and said he and his friends banged it up pretty good.. (He mentioned serving some time for it!)

In fact from what he remembered he was surprised the car could have been repaired..    0.0

Is there any body evidence of a crash repaired long ago??   Oye, their certainly is!!

If you look at the car from this angle in person, any "body guy" (or gal:)) would say yeah, someone hung a new rear quarter on this car, and didn't or couldn't get the body back to 100% perfect before they tacked it back on. It's not too obvious fortunately, but if you look you can find the evidence of a full repair done long ago.

How about the cars known history does it correlate?? It seem's too! ..

My take is that, this was a pretty expensive car when new. (a fully optioned Monza Spyder was more than a base Camaro and only a few hundred dollars shy of a new 1978 Corvette!!!) (without A/C and Automatic, this example would still have been the over the price of a Camaro Berlinetta)
So it would still have been pretty valuable in 1981.  If it was wrecked with only 22k miles on the odo. Insurance would have either had it fixed if it was stolen and recovered repairable, or they would've totaled it.
If totaled it may have ended up being auctioned off and then a dealership...
Possibly the one the 2nd owner bought it from (I have the paperwork) repaired it for a quick sale?

 Another speculation is that the original owner could have traded in it after getting it back from the body shop, I can imagine them being pretty disappointed and wanting a new car.  Trading up for the brand new new, redesigned, 1982 Camaro was common for V8 H-bodies, but this car was traded in a little earlier than those came out, lessening the chances of that scenario.

Taking everything into account, it all sure seems to correlate though with it being rumored stolen sometime in '81!

The only thing I can do is write this blog out and hope the guy I spoke with at the car show (didn't get a name!) find's it and leaves a comment or anyone else who was involved. Or hopefully even the original owner..


1 comment:

  1. had a friend Dennis Brown who owned a red Monza/ tan interior v8 auto back in the day. don't think he bought it new or what happened to it. he lives on rt. 31 south of Holley ny.