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.
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