Weekend Junkyard Quiz (04/08): What Car Are We Looking At?

It’s the weekend, which means you’ve survived another week of work (or school). That also means it’s time for Roadkill to reward you with a quiz to see if you can identify a car we spotted in the junkyard based on just one closely cropped photo of it. Last week, it was a final-year AMC Hornet with cracked and faded paint for our junkyard quiz. This week, we wonder if you can tell this customized American car from one logo on it.

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How about a slightly wider view? That might help you figure out it’s a…

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…G-body Chevy Monte Carlo, the classic three-box shape of the 1980s. This one has the egg-crate grille and, more importantly, a Pillsbury Doughboy with street cred on the custom paint job.

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Judging by the custom paint and the recognizable brand stamped on the rear quarter, this may very well have been a big-wheeled Monte Carlo “donk.” The hot-rodding crowd typically considers the big-wheels-and-candy-colors set with some derision, but the workmanship on these cars can rival that of a restored muscle car. For whatever reason, boxy General Motors vehicles like the G-Body and bigger B-Body sedans seem to be the preference. Whatever else you think of donks, they’re someone’s vision for the car and as long as the owner is happy with it and having fun, at least this author is happy with it.

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Now that I’ve had my say from the soapbox, let’s turn back to the Monte Carlo. This scrapped donk features a Small-Block Chevy V8 under the hood, likely a 305 cubic-inch version but possibly a swapped-in 350. GM threw just about every six- and eight-cylinder engine in their inventory at the G-Body throughout its production run, from the oft-derided Olds 350 Diesel to the famous turbocharged 3.8-liter V6s.

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The interior is pretty well stripped so if there was customized interior to match the two-tone Pillsbury exterior, it has long since disappeared.

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However, the faded paint on the rear brake drums and exhaust piping suggest that this was a shiny, impressive piece in its time.

General Motors built millions of G-Bodies and the platform has always lent itself to racing thanks to rear-wheel-drive and ample room under the hod for a variety of GM engine blocks. Along with the Tri-5 Chevy and maybe Ford Mustang, the G-Body has probably done more racing than just about any other American car. GM put them to work in NASCAR and Dale Earnhardt, The Eliminator himself, drove G-Body Monte Carlos for years.

These cars still race ovals in huge numbers across a number of classes. Not only is it popular in stock classes (where “stock” still means using a mostly stock body), the G-Body is also the only car you’ll see in some classes like IMCA’s Hobby Stocks. GM built so many of these that you can still dig them up in reasonably good shape and throw a Small-Block Chevy—again, millions upon millions were produced—to go racing in a competitive oval class.

But wait, there’s more! For its boxy shape and big haunches, the G-Body was a fairly light platform. That lent it well to drag racing because the engine bay was large enough to fit all kinds of engines that could get about 3,200 pounds through a quarter-mile in a hurry. Turbo V6 G-Bodies turn up regularly for HOT ROD Drag Week™ and you’ll also find those with Big-Block engines huffing nitrous like this ratty-looking, wheelstanding, no-prep-racing Monte Carlo.

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But can a G-Body road race? Of course it can. Kurt Roehrig ran a turbocharged Buick Regal in the Trans-Am Series occasionally in the 1980s. The above is not that exact Regal, but is instead the Buick Somerset Regal driven by Elliott Forbes-Robinson. The Somerset was a front-wheel-drive car, but since the Trans-Am Series had gone to tubeframe cars by that point, EFR’s rear-drive Somerset was similar to Roehrig’s Regal.

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Naturally, G-Bodies have also found there way to the 24 Hours of LeMons. The Moldecarlo has been at LeMons races around Carolina Motorsports Park since the first visit there in 2008. They’ve had their trials and tribulations over the years, but have steadily been a contender.

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In 2013—nearly seven years after the first LeMons race—Moldecarlo’s rust-encased G-Body at last became the first General Motors product to win a LeMons race overall. They did so with an automatic transmission and a junkyard 350 that probably came from a truck originally.

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Other G-Bodies have enjoyed LeMons success in other forms. The Northern Shiners Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme took home Index of Effluency honors in 2016 when the Olds 307 in their car wavered on the brink of catastrophic failure for something like 11 consecutive hours. Drivers spent as much time eyeing the temperature gauge as they did wheeling the car, but the 307 never annihilated itself.

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The same can’t be said of Pony Keg’s Cutlass. Originally an Olds 307 car, this fur-covered G-Body has spent something like eight races with various engines and transmissions in a perpetual state of unplanned-self-disassembly. Nevertheless, the car wears its equine exterior well, don’t you think?

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Unfortunately, this dough-boy Monte Carlo will be consumed by The Crusher in short order. The wrecking yard is unlikely to bag it for you, regardless of how much bread you’ve got, but at yeast somebody cared enough about it to scrape the crust off it for a little while before it was toast.

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