Mike Musto from The House of Muscle, a website and web show devoted to muscle car culture, had his 1972 Chevrolet Monte Carlo stolen in the middle of the night from the parking lot just outside his house. So if you live in California, or perhaps near a scrapyard in Tijuana, please look out for it!
The theft happened either Wednesday night or early on Thursday morning in Pleasant Hill, CA as Mike slept. The perps clearly knew what they were doing, as Mike never heard the mighty 383 cubic-inch V8 fire up, indicating that the thieves simply hooked up his American luxury coupe and towed it away.
Mike told me over the phone that he and Carcraft Magazine had just finished the project a month ago, having “finally built the best old-school daily driver [they] could possibly build.”
Mike had found the car in the back of a radiator and air conditioning repair shop in San Raphael, California last year. It was actually in decent shape, having been restored about six years ago by its second owner. Unfortunately, the engine burned oil like mad, and fouled the spark plugs every 500 miles.
So Mike and his team ditched the stock 350 cubic-inch engine and three-speed Turbo 350 trans in favor of a fuel-injected 446 horsepower Chevrolet Performance Parts SP383 motor bolted to a Gear Star TH200 4R four-speed automatic. Between the overdrive trans, the more powerful fuel injected engine, and a new 3.55 limited slip rear axle, Mike’s four-man team managed to put together a badass daily driver in only six days.
The goal, Mike told me, was to build a “nice, old-school daily with air conditioning that just cruised really well.” And after making an 800-mile round trip from San Francisco to L.A. with AC blasting and the speedometer floating effortlessly around 85 mph, Mike was convinced he’d achieved just that.
That’s why it was so disappointing when the car was gone, with Mike telling me: “I’ve finally built the car that I’ve always wanted from a daily driver perspective, and then somebody took it, which is real aggravating.”
As for how someone managed to snatch the car, Mike isn’t entirely sure. He told me over the phone: “Either somebody knew where I lived, or someone followed me home.” He thinks the boost only took a couple of minutes, and that it happened sometime between 11 P.M. on the 16th and 6 A.M. on the 17th.
Considering how proficient the thieves were at stealing the car from right under his nose, Mike thinks he’s dealing with professionals, and fears that the car is either already headed out of the country in a shipping container, or that it’s been chopped up.
On the plus side, Mike says the police officers working on his case are true car nuts, and big fans of the Monte Carlo. That’s a good team to have on his side, and so is the Jalopnik readership. So take a careful look at these photos, keep your eyes pealed (look for California license plate 7SRB317), and listen out for the glorious sound of a powerful, fuel injected V8.