Home-Built Hero: Kelvin Jackson’s ’71 Monte Carlo

Monte Carlo

Kelvin managed to save a lot of the original trim. That includes the grill and front bumper, which were in really good shape. He chose to paint the car Candy Apple Red.

How many of us can say their car has a long and storied history with the family? Kelvin Jackson of Washington, DC, has one such tale of a certain ’71 Monte Carlo. “My parents bought the car new. In fact, my dad traded his 1969 Chevelle SS for the Monte Carlo. They used the Monte as their daily driver until 1983. That’s when they bought a new Caprice Classic. In 1986, they gave it to my sister and new brother-in-law,” Kelvin stated. During those first couple of years that the sister owned the car, she saved enough money to have it repainted, and have a new vinyl top, and seat skins installed.

Monte Carlo

This black-and-white photo was taken during the first year Kelvin’s parents owned the car. In the photo is Kelvin, his sister, and his mom.

To say the car was a dependable vehicle, is an understatement. “My sister and her husband drove it to well over 200,000 miles with the original two-barrel-fed 350ci engine. In 1997, they bought a new car, and gave the Monte back to our parents. It sat in my parent’s driveway until I inherited it in 2004,” Kelvin said.

In the driveway at the Jackson homestead while the engine was out being rebuilt.

That is the year, Kelvin and his dad pulled the original engine, hoping to rebuild it. Unfortunately, the overhaul did not go so well. “I was able to drive it to my house after the rebuild, but it smoked badly during the 1 ½-hour drive,” Kelvin quipped. Kelvin moved in 2005, and parked the car in a storage garage until he could start a proper restoration.

That rebuild began in Spring of 2011, with the help of family friend, Allen Gross. “Allen stripped the body and bead-blasted many of the rusted parts. The rust was bad under the original vinyl roof, and rust had consumed the metal from the back window through the trunk, which also had to be welded up,” Kelvin affirmed.

Monte Carlo

Updated and almost complete.

When it was time to focus on the interior, he decided to replace the original bench seat with a pair of bucket seats separated by a console with a floor shifter. The gauges and dash were upgraded with a more-modern digital cluster, and he also decided to replace the woodgrain gauge-housing and painted it black to match some of the interior pieces.

When it came time to decide on powering the Monte, it was decided that the original 350 cubic-inch engine would be replaced with a 383ci small-block making 485 horsepower. Behind that is an overdrive automatic-transmission and the original 10-bolt with a set of 3.73 gears and posi.

Monte Carlo

During the rebuild, the rear bumper and the trunk-lock surround were missing, due to the car being rear-ended in the ’80s, and had to be replaced.

Do you want to read about more Home-Built Heroes? All you need to do is click here. If you own a Home-Built Hero, we want to hear about it. Since we’ve started the series, we have received more than a few candidates, but we still want to see more – we can never get enough. If you want to see more cars built by you the readers, send us a few pictures of your car showing the engine, interior, and exterior, along with all of the pertinent information, and we’ll make you Internet famous. You can send your submissions to [email protected].

About the author

Randy Bolig

Randy Bolig has been working on cars and has been involved in the hobby ever since he bought his first car when he was only 14 years old. His passion for performance got him noticed by many locals, and he began helping them modify their vehicles.
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