43 years with the same car, 42 with the same wife

1973 Volvo 1800ES was couple’s honeymoon car, and now its restored and proudly displayed at Monterey Kickoff Cruise-In

Editor’s note: Follow all of the action and updates on our special Monterey Car Week page.

It was 43 years ago that Chuck Gutierrez was in Monterey, California, for an 18-month stint with the local fire department. While in town, he spotted one of his lust cars — a Volvo 1800ES. He also spotted a local girl who would become his wife.

The couple would take their honeymoon trip in the 1973 Volvo, and they drove for 20 years. But then parked it while they raised their three children and talked about someday finding they money to restore their honeymoon machine.

After 20 years rusting away in her yard, Rosetta Gutierrez suggested to Chuck that it was time to either fix the car or get rid of it. 

The restoration took three years, and three times the anticipated amount of money, but the car was done, and very, very nicely, and was among those being shown Tuesday at the Classic Motorsports magazine Monterey Kickoff Cruise-In along Lighthouse Avenue in Pacific Grove, California.

The Gutierrezes’ 1800ES in Pacific Grove’s Lighthouse Avenue business district

The annual show this year featured Monterey’s first motorized fire truck, a couple of vintage camping trailers, Formula SAE racers from Cal Poly SLO, a group of cars that had driven from Sacramento as part of the California Automobile Museum’s Monterey Cruise-In, a pet adoption area from the local SPCA, and a display of Superformance and Shelby vehicles by Hillbank Motor Corp.

Although he doesn’t like to tell the story with Rosetta present, Chuck Gutierrez admitted that he initially was attracted to the sporty Volvo wagon because the Playboy magazine Playmate of the Year had been given one, albeit painted pink.  He thinks he might still has that issue of the magazine, he said.

Actually, back in the day, Chuck Gutierrez had three cars for which he lusted — the Volvo, which he bought, though not in pink; a 1956 Ford big-window pickup truck, which he later acquired and also still owns; and a 1963 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III. However, in the intervening years, he’s replaced the Silver Cloud on his wish list with a 1967 Austin Healey.

The Gutierrezes, who have been married 42 years, are glad that they waited two decades to have the Volvo restored. 

“We found the right people to do it,” they said of Iroll Motors of Morgan Hill, California, and Evolve Auto Restorations of Santee, California. 

The restoration took two years, but a few months after they got the car back there were issues with the paint. Evolve took the back and made it right, even if it meant another year in the shop.

But the car was finished and the Gutierrezes have had it for about a full year. They drive it on Sundays, primarily to and from church.

Oh, and in case you’re interested, we asked, and Rosetta Gutierrez said the honeymoon continues.

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