Paint it. Everything made since the last 20 or so years is just awful, and it is always a tragedy to lose that which can never be replaced (like the soul of our sad land).
Your car represents an era of American dreams that can never again be contemplated, much less fulfilled in our age of plutocracy - a ranch house and a big V8 Dodge or Chevy or Ford for every working man.
Don't pay to paint it. Attend to the mechanicals, but do not exceed its value. Or part it out. This is a Monaco, not a Cuda Challenger Road Runner 340 Demon. Prime it, drive it. The rust repair and repaint will be never regained; this is not a collectible. I drove a gold one new plain, then had the 318. These cars had pollution device smog pump issues and electronic woes. My 75 Duster had the same issues.
Addendum to my original review. A year later, I decided to paint my 76 Royal Monaco with spray cans. Last year, after eyeballing, I found a decent match with a currently available shade of metallic blue. I then spray painted the front clip for a trial, to see how it weathered over last winter. In Spring, the clip didn't look any worse for wear. So I ordered 10 additional cans, and proceeded to paint the hood, trunk, and sides above the chrome strip. Believe it or not, the match is amazing to the bottom sides. Of course, gloss is very limited, but after light buffing (spray cans do not deliver much paint, so high gloss buffing is not possible) and repeated spray wax, the car looks very decent.
People who told me I was crazy to do this have remarked how good the car looks. One day, a guy I golf with did not know I painted it, but told me how good the car looked. For around $ 50 in spray cans, the car has gotten a new lease on life.
I would not recommend spray cans for a car worth any real money, but for a old car which a good paint job would cost more than the car is worth, you can't go wrong.
OK I just have to jump in here and say that any guy who both regularly drive a 1976 Dodge Monaco and golfs is just about the coolest dude ever to walk the earth.
Anyone ever see the movie The Big Lebowski? I'm not saying you're anything like that guy, just that you are, if anything, even cooler than that guy.
Any idea how much a Royal Monaco would be worth in other parts of the world, like here in NZ perhaps?
Between $20,000-$40,000, no kidding, if you could ever find one.
Such a pity classic American cars are usually worth nothing to American's, because in other countries, many people respect, admire, aspire, and would pay an arm and both legs to own one.
Hope your car is still alive and well!
It's all supply vs. demand. Obviously there is not hardly any supply of these cars, because they are pretty scarce altogether today, but they were never even available in other parts of the world, making them all but impossible to get, unless you want to deal with the expense of shipping one.
By the way, not all Americans do not appreciate the land barges from the 70s and 80s. I would love to have a car like those. Would I pay 20-40K for a used one? No way, but I would happily shell out 40K for a new one if that were possible.
Thanks for asking. My 76 Royal Monaco is still alive and well. My makeshift paint job has held up well for over a year now. I don't see how a car like mine would be worth 20-40K in NZ, but what do I know?
Somebody just posted a review for a 74 Imperial on this site. He paid $3,500 for a car with 20K miles. I'd say this car has to be literally new. Maybe, that car would be worth a bundle outside the US.
Last February, I bought a little old lady owned 85 Chrysler LeBaron convertible with 31K miles for $3,300. I didn't really need another car, but I just couldn't resist buying it. It's in great shape, not perfect, but I doubt it sat outside a day in its life. I bought it from a dealer, so I'd guess the dealer got it for a fraction of what I paid. Anyone would think this car should be in valuable antique status by now, but not in the US. I've read that the LeBarons are quite desirable in the Netherlands.
I never could understand the ridiculous prices rich guys pay for their toys. Well, I guess we're fortunate in the US that the average guy like me can own a vintage car.
Hi there! Incredibly belated reply, but great to see your response to my comment 12 months ago!
I was a bit sudden shouting out what American classic cars are worth in my part of the world; like the other poster says, it's all to do with supply and demand. If you look up many US cars on trademe.co.nz you'll see how much demand there is for them in NZ. As always, the muscle cars and more iconic Chevrolets, Cadillacs etc are worth most, but a lot of 1970s sedans/coupes aren't far off the $25,000 mark.
In regards to spending more than a car is worth to repair or preserve it, it's only a bad decision if you look at it solely from a financial perspective. I have the opinion that if a car has special significance to you, and it really would hurt to get rid of it (and if you can afford to) repairing/preserving is a justified decision. But that's just me, and on the other hand I don't plan on reviewing the multiple-ring-binders full of receipts of things I've done to my $1400 Triumph 2000TC!
I do believe many American's appreciate their domestic classic cars, the Cash for Clunker's videos on Youtube got to my head a little bit though! It's almost as if the media, government, etc doesn't want cars like them preserved due to (misguided) concerns about the environment, economy, etc.
I love the LeBaron convertibles!! Once again supply and demand, there were many different models of convertible you could buy in The States during the 1980s. The roominess and practicality of a sedan with a drop top, brilliant. Apart from a few sports cars and the Rolls Royce Corniche, there weren't many convertibles you could buy in other parts of the world.
Once again, hope your mighty Dodge is going well, rattle can respray and all! You wouldn't have a few photos of it you could share on here?
Are you serious? Let's see, in the past 20 years I would pick every C5 and up Corvette produced, a Viper every year for 20 years, maybe a 500 HP factory Mustang, the new Dodge Challengers (especially the Hurst Edition), and maybe a 600 HP Cadillac manual trans car just for openers.
Can't post photos on this site. If you want to see photos of old beaters like the reviewer's Dodge: www.oldparkedcars.com