1985 Chevy Monte Carlo Swap, Fuel Curve

1985 Chevy Monte Carlo Swap – Tillett’s Terror

Mike Tillett’s 1985 Chevy Monte Carlo Swap is a serious machine. How it came to be is a pretty cool story.

SEMA and The Carolina Outer Banks are two places I would have ever thought about in the same sentence. But for Mike Tillett they became a life changing series of events. Like so many projects, Mike’s G-body started out as just a daily driver with enough trunk space for his drum set yet nice enough to take to the local cruise-ins around his stomping grounds of the Outer Banks in North Carolina.

1985 Chevy Monte Carlo Swap, Fuel Curve

1985 Chevy Monte Carlo Swap, Fuel Curve

With only 47k on the clock when he purchased it, it was a very clean daily to start off with, needing only some chrome valve covers under the hood and a cool set of wheels to make it stand out. Fast forward 10 years and another 100k miles and the daily use was taking its toll. When the starter went out Mike decided it was time to change things up a bit.

1985 Chevy Monte Carlo Swap, Fuel Curve

Mike had a vision of what the g-body Monte Carlo should have been. In a time of LS conversions, he went back to the 80s for inspiration. What if the Monte Carlo had the Buick Grand National Turbo V6 power plant? He always felt that the Monte Carlo should have had that engine option as well. Many would agree. Design-wise he wanted it to look stock from the outside while underneath would be over the top. That’s how this 1985 Chevy Monte Carlo Swap got its makeover.

1985 Chevy Monte Carlo Swap, Fuel Curve

Luckily for Mike, his friends at Devlin Automotive had purchased a Grand National parts car with a spare engine in the trunk – the very powerplant Mike was looking for. Devlin beefed up the little 3.8 liter V6 to live through whatever Mike might put it through.

1985 Chevy Monte Carlo Swap, Fuel Curve


This 1985 Chevy Monte Carlo Swap is very subtle at first glance. Other than the flawless black paint, performed by David Sawyer, the shaved door handles and the widened chrome stock wheels, this Monte looks like it could still be daily driven, until you look underneath. If a part could be unbolted from the car, it’s probably chrome. If it’s not chrome, it’s slick black paint and the same can be said for under the hood.

1985 Chevy Monte Carlo Swap, Fuel Curve

The interior is pretty much the same mind set. Stock in appearance but tuned up a bit. The only tell something is going on under the hood would be the Hurst Lightning Rod shifter assembly.

1985 Chevy Monte Carlo Swap, Fuel Curve

1985 Chevy Monte Carlo Swap, Fuel Curve

With his vision buttoned up, Mike was about to embark on his next dream, the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Stephen Jones, the owner of All Star Metal Works, called up Mike and asked if he would like to bring his car out to the 2013 SEMA show. Who could say no to that? Only problem the Outer Banks and Vegas aren’t exactly geo friendly. That’s where Mike’s neighbors come into this story.1985 Chevy Monte Carlo Swap, Fuel Curve

1985 Chevy Monte Carlo Swap, Fuel Curve

Above the door of my local coffee shop reads “where community happens”. They must have taken notes from Mike’s community, The Outer Banks. In helping out a fellow citizen, the community saw an opportunity to promote all they had to offer with a wrap on the trailer depicting the beauty of the OBX along with local sponsorships and even some grant money from the Visitors Bureau in order to get Mike to SEMA! Smart of them to think of Mike’s trailer as a rolling billboard while also helping him make his dreams come true.

1985 Chevy Monte Carlo Swap, Fuel Curve

1985 Chevy Monte Carlo Swap, Fuel Curve

Standing out in a crowd of SEMA cars is no small feat, so bringing home a top award from Vegas tells you how well Mike pulled off his vision with the help of the car community and his Outer Banks Community. Everyone wins!

Born and raised in the racing-rich confines of Charlotte, North Carolina, Robert McCarter is a lifelong car nut. His life revolves around it. Best of all, he is self-taught in all of his disciplines. Creative photography came first. Automotive concept design came soon after. He also possesses old world hot rod craftsman abilities reflected in his hi-level upholstery work. Evenings and weekends are solely dedicated to driving, tuning and tweaking his homebuilt ’32 Ford roadster or his pristine ’66 Nova. His deuce roadster has traversed the country on numerous coast-to-coast hair-blowing boogies. He now adds story-teller to his repertoire with his editorial work reflected her on our pages.

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