There are people who are talented with their thoughts and ideas and then they’re people that have pure raw talents with their hands. Michael Vazquez of Maplewood, Minnesota has always been good with his hands as early as his childhood. “My father used to fix cars outside the house all the time,” Michael tells LRM, “I used to get yelled at for leaving tools outside and parts everywhere.” When his father removed a part from a vehicle, Michael would take it apart and figure out what made it fail. Although his first car was a small Ford Tempo given to him, he had much bigger dreams ahead for his journey into the lowrider culture.

It wasn’t until he was nineteen before he was able to afford his first Monte Carlo. At the time, he just added some Dayton’s and cruised the neighborhood until he was offered good money by a friend for the vehicle. Michael got a job using his hands as a successful tattoo artist in the Twin Cities, and one day while giving a tattoo to a girl, she mentioned that her boyfriend had a 1978 Chevy Monte Carlo sitting in her mom’s garage that wasn’t drivable. The following day Michael made a visit and fell in love at first sight with the G Body.

Although the condition wasn’t pristine, Michael knew it had some good potential. The Monte hadn’t been started in two years and the poorly-installed hydraulics wouldn’t hold any pressure. Needless to say, the Chevy had some flaws but nothing that deterred him from handing the owner $1,000 and a tattoo for the car. The first step was getting the Monte Carlo back to its previous running condition. Michael and his friend Luke Tolbert began with a tune-up which led to ripping the entire motor down and rebuilding it back up. In Minnesota when it’s Winter time, the residents put their vehicles away until the weather gets better for cruising. In Michael’s case he utilized the Winter to start the build process.

Chad Brandt and Randy Mayberry came to Michael’s house to spray the Monte a rich House of Kolor Amber Gold based on his decision to have a color not often utilized in the area. Michael found a local pinstripe artist online named Monte Roach and had him come in to add his style of leafing and pinstripe from the frame, belly and exterior. Now that the outside was completed, Michael turned his attention to the interior. He enlisted Maurice Counce of Reese Custom for an entire overhaul using Skai Ipsum and khaki black leather seats and interior panels. Michael was introduced to Rick Bodeker who owns a metal fabrication shop that strictly deals with nonautomotive work but agreed to help him out by chrome plating everything he could for the Monte Carlo.

Michael turned a non-working useless garage ornament into a show vehicle that anyone in the culture would be proud of. Michael wishes to thank his son Anthony for helping all along the way and being his personal “tool finder.” A special thanks go to his parents Nancy and Ismael for guiding him through all the obstacles that made him prevail as a good father and successful business owner. Michael gives his thanks to Luke Tolbert, Jorelle Haines, JC Kehborn, Haines Towing, Ricardo Serna, his beautiful girlfriend Gloriana and his Street Sweepaz family. When asked to come up with a name for his Monte Carlo build, Michael smiled and said he wanted to name it something that demanded attention and incorporated the legacy of the Monte Carlo, so Carlito it is.

1978 Chevy Monte Carlo

Vehicle Nickname
Carlito

Owner
Michael Vazquez

City/State
Maplewood, Minnesota

Club Affiliation
Street Sweepaz CC Twin Cities

Engine
305, Cloyes double roller timing chain, Edelbrock intake and carburetor, stainless steel heaters, energy suspension polyurethane bushings and body mounts, grade 8 hardware, custom built driveshaft by AA Driveline, mechanics and assembly done by Luke Tolbert.

Body/Paint
House of Kolor Amber Gold Metallic painted by Chad Brandt and Randy Mayberry, pinstripe and gold leafing by Monte Roach, custom built front grille with emblems, custom Monte Carlo custom air vents, chrome plating by RL Bodeker, metal fabricating by Danny Magana from Dallas, Texas.

Suspension
two Lowlife pumps and pistons, Black Magic cylinders, Black Magic axle, 10 Interstate group 3 batteries, full wrap rear end.

Interior
Skai Ipsum and khaki black leather wrapped by Maurice Counce at Reese Customs, custom steering wheel by Travis McLelland at Big Ron’s Wheels, Intellitronix Monte Carlo digital LED dash.

Sound System
Pioneer AVH-X1500 DVD player, Sundown Audio components, Pioneer 7-inch Mixtrax monitor.

Wheels/Tires
13×7 OG 72-spoke crosslaced Wire Wheels with gold centers, Remington P155/80R13