If you went to your prom in the 1970s, chances are you had a pretty cool car to drive because you wanted to impress your date. For yours truly, it was a 1976 Buick Le Sabre with the 455, and it was a very cool ride. Plenty of power, and plenty of class, and the skinny pedal was mashed a few times more than it should have been (sorry, Grammy).
For Greg Monette, his prom included such a badass car; and his date, Valerie, had already locked her eyes on the car – and on Greg – months prior. Greg was a senior, and the often-tardy lead drummer of Meridian High School’s marching band. Greg had noticed Valerie’s long blonde hair, and she noticed Greg’s car first – because it was loud – both the color and the exhaust.
When Greg rolled onto the school grounds, people knew it. The rumble of that 1970 Sublime Charger announced his arrival, and Valerie admits that Greg took her breath away the first time she saw him. Greg wanted a date with Valerie, and she wanted a date with him, as they both struggled through the awkwardness of getting to know someone new. She was just a sophomore, and Greg being a senior meant that he was eventually going to need a date for his prom, and the two of them worked towards that goal with several dates leading up to the prom.
The Couple That Raced Together
Greg’s Charger was a beast, no doubt, and he and Valerie shared a love for that sublime Charger. They would drive down Main Street in Boise, Idaho, with Valerie sitting on the console to be next to her man. He would challenge others to a race and she would strap in and hold on tight; with eyes closed she said a prayer and anticipated the adrenaline rush that accompanied the launch.
Often times, Greg’s winnings became their date money. For some girls in high school, that might not be the way to win her over, but for Valerie it just added to the experience. She knows she wasn’t his first co-pilot, but she was the one who stole his heart and earned a spot next to him in the Charger.
Their bond only grew stronger, and eventually the prom was approaching and Greg wanted to pretty-up the Charger for his date with Valerie. She remembers the time fondly because as he was waxing up his Charger, he realized he had to rush to the florist to get her corsage, and high-tailed it to get there just in time. That night, on the way to the prom the water pump gave out and he tried frantically to salvage the date.
Having Sublime Of Their Lives
The 1970s were a great time to look back on for Greg and Valerie, and here we are, 35 years later and they’re still together. Because that Sublime Charger was the instigator for their relationship, they decided it was time for another sublime 1970 Charger to be a part of their relationship. So Mr. and Mrs. Monette contacted Jason Bair, of Bair Customs, to build them a sublime, 1970 Charger to celebrate their lives together.
This Charger R/T, however, was going to be a little bit different, but the same – just like Greg and Valerie. For motivation, there was no other choice but to install an all-aluminum Hemi from HP Performance/Muscle Motors. The 572ci Hemi mill puts out roughly 700 horsepower, with a FAST 2.0 EFI conversion feeding the elephant go-juice through Aeromotive fuel lines and fittings.
To transfer that power to the Dana 60 rearend, Silver Sport Transmissions provided the PerfectFit Tremec five-speed transmission kit to do the duties. Extracting the exhaust, none other than a TTI Exhaust system would work for this sublime monster. Dressing up the front of the engine is a March Performance serpentine system, with a Classic Auto Air air conditioning system to keep things cool for the Monettes during those hot Idaho summers.
The Charger received a Pro-Touring stance this time around, with RMS suspension components keeping things stable for more spirited driving. Slowing the beast down when the time comes is done by a Wilwood brake kit, with six-piston calipers up front and four-piston calipers in the rear – both clamping down on drilled and slotted rotors. A hydroboost unit provides the soft, but reliable, pedal when the binders are called upon.
Vision Wheel was called upon for the five-spoke Legend 5 wheels, with huge 20 x 10-inch out back and 20 x 8-inch wheels up front, all wrapped in Mickey Thompson Street Comp performance tires that will provide plenty of grip and driving comfort.
Of course, the build wouldn’t do if it was just any color, so Sherwin Williams’ Planet Color Automotive Finishes was the preferred supplier for the Rod & Restoration Sublime paint, with black accents on the car to match the prom date chariot that Great piloted for his evening with Valerie. We wondered how much the paint drained down the battery, it was about as vivid in person as it looks in these photos.
Meeting up with the Monettes, and having them share their story with us was a real treat. It’s great to see a couple still going strong these days after 35 years, even more so when their relationship evolved – and continues to grow – around a certain sublime 1970 Dodge Charger.
Bair Customs did an outstanding job on this build, and thanks to the help from Silver Sport Transmissions, this Hemi Charger is just a little more driveable with the five-speed overdrive.
We opted not to ask Greg if he still heads down to Main Street with the Charger, but we know if he does that his co-pilot, Valerie, will be right there with him. Hopefully they are okay on the date money, for now.
If you’re looking to upgrade the transmission in your car to add some driveability, be sure to check out the Silver Sport Transmissions website where you can find manual or automatic PerfectFit kits to give you a little bit of modern to add to your classic beauty. To check out the build progress, see more of Sublime at the Big Hemi website.