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Home Pick of the Day Pick of the Day: Chevrolet’s other Monza

Pick of the Day: Chevrolet’s other Monza

Not a Corvair, but the Vega-based but V8-powered Monza, and this one ready for road or strip

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The most popular Monza from Chevrolet was the sporty and especially the turbocharged version of the rear-engine Corvair, described by The Standard Catalog of American Cars as “the true star of the Corvair lineup, as Chevrolet’s rear-engine wonder caught on with the sports car crowd” in the early 1960s. 

But there was another Chevrolet Monza that also was popular with the sports car crowd, and especially with those who modified their Chevys for sports car racing. For the 1974 model year, Chevrolet resurrected the Monza, but now as a front-engine, rear-driven compact coupe.

Though built on a stretched Vega platform, this new Monza 2+2 “bore an uncanny resemblance to the Ferrari GTC-4,” notes the Standard Catalog, which points out that that stretched Vega platform meant there was room under the new Monza’s hood for a V8 engine.

However, you had to go through the hood to mount a supercharger!

As exemplified by the Pick of the Day, sports car racers weren’t the only folks who saw potential in this new package. The Pick of the Day is a 1977 Chevrolet Monza Spider that has undergone Pro-Street modifications that make it ready for your favorite drag strip.

However, notes the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, dealer advertising the car, “This is a versatile car.  You can show it.  You can race it.  You can drive it around on the street.  It’s easy to drive and enjoy!”

Your choice, for $39,999.

“The best way to describe this car is the perfect mix of high-quality work, lots of time and a lot of money invested,” the dealer contends. “That is what went into this higher end build.  No short cuts, cheap parts or quick tricks.  Everything is custom and high end.  The car is built to enjoy safely on the street but race if wanted.”

The exterior is done in red and flames — and with spiders, a nod toward the new-for-’77 Monza Spyder appearance and performance upgrades that included revised suspension and radial tires. The interior, in gray and red and protected by a roll cage, is customized from headliner to carpet to dashboard gauge array.

While you could get your mid-’70s Monza from a Chevy dealership with a small-block V8, this one has a supercharged 496cid big-block built by Domhoff Automotive Machine and is rated, the dealer reports, at more than 2,000 horsepower. However, as currently tuned, with only 2 pounds of boost, the engine pumps out “a street friendly” 600 horsepower.

“The approach to this build was pillared upon safety, quality, durability and reliability,” the dealer reports “This car runs like a race car, is tame enough for the street, shifts great, stops and steers as it should!  Tires, brakes and fluids are all new/fresh.  A true “race car thats a street car!”

The gearbox is a Turbo 350 and the rear end is a 9-inch Ford unit. 

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

Hagerty
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

7 COMMENTS

  1. What most folks don’t know is that the 1974 Monza (and its GM siblings) was originally designed to be powered by a Rotary (Wankel) engine. Unfortunately, due to the inherently lousy gas mileage of the rotary design, the gas crises of 1974 killed the plan, and instead a V8 option was shoehorned into the car. The fit was so tight, that it was impossible to get to the last two plugs. Some folks actually lifted the engine out to get to those last two plugs.

  2. Phil. Nowhere in the article does it say the Monza is front wheel drive.
    Mike. I believe the gentlemen referring to inaccesable spark plugs in V8 Monzas were referring to the standard small block V8s fitted at the factory rather than the big block fitted to this highly modified example.

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