Muscle Car Still Rolling After 39 Years
The first Chevy Monte Carlo was rolled out in 1970, with the final version of this personal luxury coupe produced 37 years later, in 2007.
Herman Ferguson of Fenton has owned his 1972 Monte Carlo for the last 39 years.
A 1977 graduate of Fenton High School, Ferguson is a lifelong resident of Fenton.
“There was an older gentleman on Squaw Lake who bought the car new in 1971,” said Ferguson. “He drove it for about a year and a half before my mother bought it. She drove it for two years before selling it to me for $1,600.”
Ferguson said he attended school, played football and other sports, and worked to pay his mother off seven months later.
He’s had the car ever since.
“I never drove it in the winter,” said Ferguson. “Me and some of the guys all had nice cars but did not drive them in the winter.
“We all got ‘winter beaters,’ cars we would drive during the winter weather months,” he said. “My birthday is on Nov. 11, so that’s the last day I drive the car until May.”
Ferguson said his first “winter beater” was a 1965 Tempest wagon.
Ferguson’s love of “muscle cars” stemmed from his older brother, Steve. “He had a 1965 (Chevy) Impala and that’s when I really got interested,” he said.
“I grew up during a perfect time,” added Ferguson. “When I was in junior high school it seemed all the older guys had really cool cars. We lived on Denton Hill and I remember them burning their tires. They would roast their tires from the top of Denton Hill to the bottom. It was like a drag strip near the water tower. I remember all the black marks on the road.”
Steve Ferguson entered the U.S. Army in 1979. “He (Steve) used to send me money and I used it to buy parts and stuff I needed to restore the car. The upholstery on the seats was completely redone, and the chrome, bumpers and taillights.
“When my brother got out of the Army, he had like a brand new 1965 Impala,” Ferguson said.
Today, Ferguson, the owner of Ferguson Lawn & Tree Service says he drives a pickup truck, for work and everyday travels. He also has what he calls an “event car.” His event car used to be an old Toyota, but today it’s a Honda Civic. “When we go to concerts and other places like Detroit, we take the not-so-nice Honda,” he said. “It’s a four-door, four cylinder, pre-dinged and pre-scratched car. I don’t even lock it when we go somewhere.”
Ferguson is the father of three adult children. Angela Moore, 31, has already placed dibs on the Monte Carlo when he gives it up or is gone. “And she will get it,” he said.
Daughter Crystal Hiler, 33, is a teacher in the Lake Fenton school district. “She is a fan of the ’69 Chevelle,” he said.
Ferguson’s son, Mitchell, is 24 and lives in Grand Rapids. “My next project is to help my son restore a 1966 Mustang.”
He also has four grandchildren who love riding around in the Monte Carlo. “I’m going to enter the 2016 Fourth of July Parade in Fenton and ride in it with my grandkids,” he said.
Because of long work hours and not knowing when he’s going to be done for the day, Ferguson does not participate in too many car shows. “But I like going to them when I can,” he said. “I have attended every one of my class reunions in high school and always drive the Monte Carlo.”
Ferguson gives his mother at least part of the credit for the Monte Carlo’s longevity. “She told me she would sell me the car, but added, ‘If I ever catch you drinking and driving I’m taking it back,’” he said.
Then one day, a ticket arrived in the mail, he added. It was in the name of Herman Ferguson and it was a ticket for drunk driving in Clarkston. It said the Breathalyzer registered at .427. “I’m not even a drinker,” he said. “I wouldn’t even let my friends in the car if they were drinking.
“My mother didn’t believe me. I told her I was never in Clarkston with the car,” he said. “She didn’t believe me and called the Clarkston police. They told her the driver was 42 years old.”
The driver in that case was Ferguson’s father. His parents had divorced seven or eight years prior, and his father later died at the age of 50 due to continued misuse of alcohol.
“I want any kids out there considering drinking and driving to know that,” Ferguson said.
This article originally appeared on Tri-County Times.