Don Monroe grew up with a playground in his backyard, but there wasn't a jungle gym, monkey bars, or a swing set in sight. You see, his father used the area behind their house to store his multiple classic Mopars, and Don had fun dissecting and disassembling them, much to his father's dismay.
"I grew up with a brother and five sisters, so you can imagine the problems we had trying to get into the bathroom. We would always get into fights, which would usually end with my mother saying 'go outside and leave your sisters alone,'" recalls Don. He would always look forward to the next fight so he could return to the Pentastar haven behind his house were he was truly happy.
Trailer Queen? Not if Don has anything to say about it.
When Don was only 12 years old, he purchased his first car-a '68 Charger R/T-with money he saved from his paper route. It wasn't in particularly good shape, and his parents were not pleased with his acquisition. His father stated that he would never get the car running, but Don had other plans, and a few weeks later, he had a replacement short-block sitting next to the B-Body.
Since that first Charger, Don has owned over 30 Mopars. His most current project is this '69 Plymouth Valiant. He spotted the car one morning as he was driving to work at his company, Central Florida CNC. "I was a good distance away and couldn't make the car out too well," he says. "I almost wrote it off as a '67 Nova, but my instincts kicked in and told me to take another look. I slammed the pedal of my Ram to the floor and caught up to it." his hunch was correct-it wasn't just another Nova, it was a green Plymouth Valiant. the first thing that caught his eye was the "Two Hundred" fender badges. "I had never seen a Two Hundred sedan, and I still haven't to this day," he says.
When these QTP electronic exhaust cutouts open up, all hell breaks loose. At the flip of a
Don followed Joe Gomez, the man driving that rare beauty, all the way to his place of work. Puzzled, Joe got out of the car wondering why he had been followed. Don quickly told his story and asked if the car was for sale. Joe proceeded to pull the title out of his pocket and informed him that it had already been sold, and the new owner was coming to pick it up later that day.
Disappointed, Don left and forgot about the whole thing until one day, six months later, the Two Hundred popped back into his head. He wondered if the sale had actually gone through. So he hopped into his Ram and drove to where he originally had talked with Joe. Again, he was met with disappointment when Joe told him the car had been sold. But, Joe went on to explain, the new owner hadn't touched the car in three months, and it was sitting just two doors down. Joe then introduced Don to Steven Carroll, the owner. It turned out that Steven was having some troubles, and the Valiant was just another item on the list. He was willing to part with the car-for a nominal fee, of course-and Don drove it home that night.
After showing it off to friends and family, the Valiant was retired to his garage for a complete restification. Don had lofty aspirations for the A-Body, and he would go on to complete most of the work himself with help from his friend Skip Rizzo. A great amount of focus was directed at the body and chassis, which he tore down. Frank Parks of Mopar Restos in Summerville, Georgia, provided him with the necessary body panels. The car was media blasted and attached to a rotisserie to be painted. The body was straightened out and treated to a two-part epoxy bath. A six-point cage, frame connectors, and mini-tubs were incorporated as the car was reassembled and aligned. The passenger side shock tower was modified to clear the brutal Hemi's valve cover, making it ready for paint.
"i drive the hell out of it!" -Don Monroe