The Chevrolet Monte Carlo is an American mid-size car. Originally introduced by Chevrolet for the 1970 model year (as competition with the Ford Thunderbird), it has gone through six generations to date. All Monte Carlos to date have been two-door coupes, closely based on a contemporary mid-sized sedan.
From its inception, the Monte Carlo also has been one of GM's biggest successes on the NASCAR stock car racing circuit. However, in 2007, GM will phase the Monte Carlo out in favor of the Impala.
First generation (1970-1972) Monte Carlo
1970 Monte Carlo
The Monte Carlo was originally created as Chevrolet's answer to the new G-body Pontiac Grand Prix, which had been introduced to great success for 1969. For the 1968 model year, GM had instituted a split-wheelbase policy for its A-body intermediate cars: 112 in (2845 mm) for two-door models, 116 in (2946 mm) for sedans and station wagons. The Grand Prix was a two-door coupe riding a special 118 in (2997 mm) version of the A-platform (known as the "G-body "). Rather than add the extra length within the body to increase passenger space (as was customary on sedans) the G-body (also known as the A-body Special) spliced the extra length between the firewall and the front wheels, creating an unusually long hood. The look was very successful, and the new Grand Prix greatly outsold its larger, B-body predecessor despite higher prices.
The Monte Carlo was the brainchild of Elliot M. (Pete) Estes, general manager of Chevrolet, and Chevrolet's chief stylist, Dave Holls. They modeled the styling on the contemporary Cadillac Eldorado, although much of the body and structure were shared with the Chevrolet Chevelle (firewall, windshield, decklid, and rear window were the same), adding new front end sheetmetal, wider C-pillars, and new rear fenders. Bulges were added to the fenders to create a more muscular appearance. The Monte Carlo also had the then-fashionable concealed windshield wipers.
A mid-1990s article in Chevy High Performance stated that the first generation Monte Carlo was known to Chevrolet brass under the working name Concours (a usual practice where all Chevrolet models started with a "C"). At one point, the proposal called for a formal coupe, sedan, and convertible. It has been noted that the sedan resembled a full-size Oldsmobile 98 prior to the use of the GM G platform.
Though the Monte Carlo was developed at Chevrolet under the leadership of Pete Estes, it was formally introduced in September, 1969 by John Z. DeLorean, who succeeded Estes as Chevrolet's general manager earlier in the year after previously heading the Pontiac division, where he led the development of the similar-bodied 1969 Grand Prix introduced the previous model year.
The standard powertrain was the 350 in³ (5.7 L) Chevrolet "Turbo-Fire" small-block V8 with a two-barrel carburetor, rated at 250 hp (186 kW) (gross) @ 4500 rpm and 345 ft·lbf (468 N·m) of torque @ 2800 rpm, mated to a Turbo Hydramatic 350 Transmission. Front disc brakes were standard equipment. The dashboard was basically identical to the Chevelle except for fake wood trim, according to Holls a photographic reproduction of the elm trim used by Rolls-Royce, and higher grade nylon (or vinyl) upholstery and deep-twist carpeting were used. Base priced at US$3,123, the Monte Carlo cost $218 more than a comparable Chevelle Malibu.
Various options were available. A two-speed Powerglide automatic transmission (on 350 in³ engines only), three-speed Turbo-Hydramatic, or a four-speed manual; most Monte Carlos carried the Turbo-Hydramatic. Variable-Ratio Power Steering, power windows, Four Season Air Conditioning, power seats, Rallye wheels, Strato bucket seats, center console, full instrumentation, and various other accessories were also available, bringing the price of a fully equipped Monte Carlo to more than $5,000.
Optional engines included the four-barrel carbureted Turbo-Fire 350 in³ small block V8, rated at 300 hp (224 kW) @ 4800 rpm and 380 ft·lbf (515 N·m) @ 3200 rpm, the Turbo-Fire 400 (400 in³/6.5 L) with a two-barrel carburetor, rated at 265 hp (198 kW) @ 4800 rpm and 400 ft·lbf (542 N·m) @ 2800 rpm, and the Turbo-Jet 400 (402 in³/6.6 L) with a four-barrel carburetor, rated at 330 hp (246 kW) @ 4800 rpm and 410 ft·lbf (515 N·m) @ 3200 rpm). Note that the two Chevrolet 400 in³ V8s offered this year were actually two different designs. The two-barrel carbureted Turbo-Fire 400 was a bored and stroked 350 engine, while the Turbo-Jet 400 was a slightly enlarged version of the 396 in³ big block V8 and had an actual displacement of 402 in³.
The most sporting option was the Monte Carlo SS 454 package. Priced at $420, it included a standard Turbo-Jet 454 of 454 in³ (7.4 L) with a four-barrel carburetor, rated at 360 hp (269 kW) @ 4800 rpm and 500 ft·lbf (678 N·m) of torque @ 3500 rpm. It also included heavy-duty suspension, wider tires, "SS 454" badging, and an automatic load-leveling rear suspension. The Turbo-Hydramatic transmission (with a 3.31 rear axle) was a mandatory option with the SS package, although it still cost $222 extra. Weighing only a bit more than a comparably equipped Chevelle SS 454, the Monte Carlo SS was quite a fast car, although it accounted for less than 3% of Monte Carlos sold in 1970.
A labor strike at Chevrolet's Flint, Michigan assembly plant (where most Monte Carlo production was scheduled) during the early months of the 1970 model year immediately following the car's introduction on Sept. 18, 1969 limited overall model-year sales to 145,976, short of the 185,000 projected. During those early months, Monte Carlos were in short supply with full-production not getting underway until February, 1970, leaving many would-be prospects disappointed after going to their Chevrolet dealers and finding no Monte Carlos in stock. However, once full production got underway, Monte Carlos sold briskly and mostly at full list price (usually loaded with options), making it a very profitable model for Chevy and its dealerships. Only 3,823 of the 1970 Monte Carlos were SS 454s.
1971 Monte Carlo
The 1971 model year saw only modest styling changes, including slimmer, vertical tail lights. Inside, the SS model got new "European symbol knobs," and a four-spoke steering wheel became optional. Mechanically, it was largely unchanged, although the small-block Turbo-Fire 400 two-barrel engine was dropped. Other engines had compression ratios lowered to allow the use of regular leaded, low-lead, or unleaded gasoline, per a GM corporate edict. Engine ratings fell to 245 hp (183 kW) for the base Turbo-Fire 350 in³ (5.7 L) two-barrel, 270 hp (201 kW) for the Turbo-Fire 350-4V, and 300 hp (224 kW) for the Turbo-Jet 400. The SS 454 engine was actually raised to a nominal 365 gross hp (272 kW) despite the reduction in compression ratio.
There has been no documented case of a 1971 Monte Carlo SS car with the 425 hp (317 kW) LS-6 version of the 454, with solid valve lifters and a longer-duration camshaft, previously found in the 1970 Chevelle SS 454 (where it was rated at 450 hp or 336 kW);however, they did come with an LS5 454. The Turbo Hydramatic officially remained the only transmission for the SS, but a heavy-duty clutch option on the order form suggests that it may have been possible to special-order a 454 LS-6 with a four-speed manual transmission (the four-speed wasn't listed officially as an "SS" option but was available as an RPO in regular Monte Carlos with the 350 and 400 engines). The exact number of such combinations, if any, is unknown since they were not officially listed as factory options but possibly assembled through Chevrolet's "Central Office Production Order" (COPO)process that had previously made possible model/engine combinations not officially available. There has however, never ever been a documented case of such a combination therefore the above sentence is actually a gross suggestion and extremely unlikely. Also, Chevrolet records indicate that no 1971 Chevelle SS-454s were built with the LS-6 engine and that all factory LS-6 installations were in Corvettes that year.
The SS 454 package would be discontinued after this year following production of only 1,919 units, but the 454 in³ V8 engine would remain optional in Monte Carlos through 1975. The initial response to which the SS was discontinued was that the Monte Carlo was marketed as a luxury vehicle instead of a muscle car; the SS nameplate would be resurrected 12 years later. Yet, at the same time that the Monte Carlo SS was judged a failure in the marketplace and discontinued, the Monte's reputation as a performance car on the race track was gaining strength due to the fact that Ford and Chrysler were ending their factory-backed racing support due to declining musclecar sales and the need to divert dollars to meet costly Federal safety and emission regulations (General Motors' official policy had prohibited factory racing efforts since 1963). As factory support ended at Ford and Chrysler, the stock-car racing mantle switched to independent teams and sponsors, who overwhelmingly chose Chevrolets over Ford and Chrysler products due to Chevy's much greater availability and affordability of over-the-counter racing parts through the Chevy dealer network. And the Monte Carlo was considered the best suited Chevrolet model for stock car racing by most NASCAR teams due to its 116-inch wheelbase (only one inch above NASCAR's minimum requirements at that time, the Chevelle 2-doors had a shorter 112-inch wheelbase) and long-hood design which placed the engine further back in the chassis than most other vehicles for better weight traction. Thus the Monte Carlo became Chevy's standard-bearer for NASCAR from 1971 to 1989.
Like its 1970 predecessor, production of the 1971 Monte Carlo also got off to a slow start due to a labor strike, this time a 67-day corporate-wide walkout that coincided with the introduction of the 1971 models in September, 1970, leaving dealerships with only a small shipment of 1971 models (built before the strike) in stock until the strike was settled in mid-November, 1970 and then slow-going in reaching normal production levels until around Jan. 1, 1971. Model-year production ended at 128,600 including the 1,919 SS models.
1972 Monte Carlo
A Cadillac-like eggcrate grille similar to the 1971 Chevrolet Caprice and a metal rear trim molding highlighted the changes to the 1972 Monte Carlo, the final year for the first generation design. The SS was dropped, but a new Monte Carlo Custom option appeared as a one-year only, offering that included a special suspension and other items previously included with the SS option. Unlike the departed SS package, it was available with any engine on the roster.
The engines were unchanged, but an industry-wide switch to SAE net hp numbers led to a reduction in the rated power of all Chevrolet engines. The new ratings for the Monte Carlo were:
- 350 in³ (5.7L), two-barrel: 165 hp (245 gross)
- 350 in³ (5.7L), four-barrel: 200 hp (270 gross)
- 402 in³ (6.6L), four-barrel: 240 hp (300 gross)
- 454 in³ (7.4L), four-barrel: 270 hp (365 gross)
In California, which had emissions standards more stringent than federal law, the 4-barrel carbureted 350 was the standard and only available engine. Also, the only transmission offered in California was the Turbo Hydramatic.
For 1972, the four-speed manual transmission was discontinued from the option list as a line in the Monte Carlo brochure describing its market position as a personal luxury car stated "Sorry, no four-on-the-floor." The standard three-speed manual and optional two-speed Powerglide automatic transmissions were offered only with the base 350 in³ two-barrel engine, with the three-speed Turbo Hydramatic also available with this engine and a mandatory option with each of the optional engines.
Mechanically, the most significant change was that variable-ratio power steering became standard equipment for the first time.
Interior trim was relatively unchanged from 1971 other than the availability of all-vinyl upholstery with the standard bench seat in addition to the optional Strato bucket seats. Cloth interiors were also offered with both bench and bucket seats.
Monte Carlo was a very popular seller during the 1972 model year as production increased significantly to 180,819 to set a new record in the final year for the first-generation G-body. Monte Carlo and other Chevrolet models were promoted as part of a new ad campaign in which Chevys in print and broadcast ads were featured at various tourist attractions and sites around the United States under the tagline "Chevrolet: Building a Better Way To See The USA."
There is a community dedicated to the First Generation Monte Carlo named the FGMCC or "First Generation Monte Carlo Club" which has over 450 members in over 7 countries. The website is http://www.firstgenerationmontecarlo.com or http://www.fgmcc.com
Second generation (1973-1977) Monte Carlo
1973 Monte Carlo
A redesigned Monte Carlo was introduced alongside other GM intermediates. Like other GM mid-size cars, the 1973 Monte Carlo was no longer a hardtop, but a pillared coupe with rear side opera windows and frameless door glass. Prominent styling features included dual headlights flanking an eggcrate grille with a Monte Carlo emblem in front and vertical taillights above the bumper. The front bumper was a large federally mandated 5 mph bumper that was among the required 1973 federal safety standards for all passenger cars sold in the U.S. with the 5 mph requirement extended to rear bumpers on 1974 models.
The separate body-on-frame construction carried over for 1973, as was the basic all-coil suspension.
For improved ride and handling, the 1973 Monte Carlo featured a number of innovations (for a large American car) such as standard radial-ply tires, Pliacell shock absorbers, high-caster steering, and front and rear anti-roll bars (previously offered only with the SS package). The standard Monte Carlo with manual transmission, retained "traditional" steering and bias-ply tires, but the radial-tuned system was included when the automatic transmission was ordered, earning the Monte Carlo S label.
A new model for 1973 was the Monte Carlo Landau, which was basically an "S" with a rear quarter Landau vinyl roof, Turbine II wheels and driver and passenger-side sport mirrors.
The interior of the 1973 Monte Carlo featured an all-new, wraparound cockpit-style instrument panel, similar to that found in some contemporary Pontiacs, Oldsmobiles and Buicks, in which gauges and various instruments were centered within easy reach of the driver. The simulated burl elm trim was retained. A split bench seat was standard, but "Strato Bucket" seats of a new design were optional, along with a floor console featuring an equally-new shifter with knob and button similar to Pontiac's Rally Sports Shifter replacing the Buick-like horseshoe shifter of previous years, and storage compartment. The bucket seats were of a one-piece high-back design with built-in headrests, and could swivel some 90 degrees to permit the driver and front passenger easier entry and exit. Cloth and vinyl trims were offered with both the bench and bucket seats.
The standard engine was a 145 (net) hp (108 kW) 350 in³ (5.7 L) Turbo-Fire V8. Optional engines included a 175 (net) hp (30 kW) 350 in³ V8 with a four-barrel carburetor and a four-barrel carbureted 454 in³ Turbo-Jet V8 rated at 245 (net) hp (183 kW).
The 1973 Monte Carlo was named Motor Trend's "Car of the Year," due to its new styling and emphasis on Euro-style ride and handling. The 1973 Monte Carlo set a new sales record for Chevrolet, with nearly 250,000 sold for the model year.
The success of the Monte Carlo and Pontiac's similar Grand Prix led to several new personal luxury cars from competitors, including subsequent Mercury Cougars, the Ford Torino Elite, the Chrysler Cordoba and restyled Dodge Charger, and even high-line versions of the AMC Matador, which got a swoopy new coupe design for 1974.
1974 Monte Carlo
The 1974 Monte Carlo received only minor detail changes from its 1973 predecessor, most notably a revised grille in the front and taller and slimmer vertical taillights in the rear, along with a relocated license plate and larger 5 mph rear bumper.
The base Monte Carlo with manual transmission, standard suspension and bias-ply tires was discontinued, leaving only the "S" and "Landau" models equipped with radial-ply tires and upgraded suspensions along with standard power steering and front disc brakes.
A three-speed manual transmission was listed as standard equipment on 1974 "S" and "Landau" models equipped with the standard 350 in³ V8, and an automatic transmission was a required option with the larger 400 and 454 in³ V8s. However, a number of sources indicate that Chevrolet built virtually all 1974 Monte Carlos with the Turbo Hydra-Matic transmission.
The standard 350 in³ Turbo-Fire V8 was again rated at 145 hp with two-barrel carburetor in 49 states. In California, the standard engine was a 350 Turbo-Fire V8 with a four-barrel carburetor and 155 hp (116 kW). Reappearing on the Monte's option list for the first time since 1970 was a 400 in³ Turbo-Fire small block V8 rated at 160 hp (119 kW) with a two-barrel carburetor (not offered in California) or 180 hp (134 kW) with a four-barrel carburetor. The top engine was again the 454 in³ Turbo-Jet big block V8 rated at 245 hp (183 kW) and came with dual exhausts.
Despite the Arab Oil Embargo of late 1973 and early 1974 that greatly cut into sales of standard and intermediate-sized cars in favor of smaller compacts and imported subcompacts, the Monte Carlo went the other way on the sales charts by setting a new sales record this year of over 300,000 units despite the long lines at gas stations and record-high gasoline prices. The Monte Carlo continued to lead in intermediate personal luxury car sales with the Grand Prix placing second and the arrival of new competitors this year, including an upsized Mercury Cougar, Ford Torino Elite and AMC's Matador coupe. Chrysler would introduce its entries in this field for 1975 including the Chrysler Cordoba and redesigned Dodge Charger.
1975 Monte Carlo
The 1975 Monte Carlo received only minor styling changes from the 1974 model, including a new grille with the Monte Carlo emblem moved to the center section and new vertically shaped taillights with horizontal louvers.
All models received catalytic converters to meet the latest federal and California emission requirements that included bonuses such as improved fuel economy and drivability, along with longer spark plug and muffler life, but required more expensive and lower-octane unleaded gasoline.
Engines were carryover from 1974 except for the addition of GM's High Energy electronic ignition being made standard equipment and the 454 in³ V8 no longer offered on California cars, leaving the 180 hp (134 kW) 400 in³ four-barrel the top engine in the Golden State. A three-speed manual transmission was standard equipment in 49 states with the base 350 in³ V8 with Turbo Hydra-Matic optional and a required option for all other engines including the California-only 350 four-barrel V8, and the 400 and 454 V8s. Chevrolet sources, however, report that virtually all 1975 Monte Carlos were equipped with the Turbo Hydra-Matic transmission, which became standard equipment for 1976.
New for 1975 was a Custom interior option that included a plusher cloth 50/50 bench seat with recliner on passenger side and lower door panel carpeting. The standard interior still consisted of a bench seat with knit-cloth and vinyl or all-vinyl upholstery. The swiveling Strato bucket seats and console were still optional with knit cloth or vinyl upholstery. Also, white all-vinyl interiors were available for the first time this year with either bench or bucket seats with contrasting colors for carpeting and instrument panels including black, red, blue and green.
Sales dropped off a bit from 1974's record-setting pace due to higher prices resulting from the addition of the catalytic converter, double-digit inflation and new competition from Chrysler's Cordoba and Dodge's Charger SE. Monte Carlo production ended up at around 250,000 units but would rebound to set a new record in 1976.
1976 Monte Carlo
A new crosshatch grille and vertically mounted rectangular headlamps, along with reshaped taillights identified the 1976 Monte Carlo (the reshaped taillight pattern was later incorporated into the fourth generation Monte Carlo). Under the hood, a new 140 hp 305 in³ V8 became the standard engine with the 150 hp 350 V8 and 180 hp 400 in³ V8 both optional (California cars got a 160 hp 350 as the base engine). The big-block 454 in³ V8 was discontinued from the option list this year. The Turbo Hydramatic transmission became standard equipment on all 1976 Monte Carlos.
Interior trims remained the same as 1975 with both base and Custom levels, but the instrument panel and steering wheel featured a new rosewood trim replacing the burled elm of previous years. A new option was a two-toned "Fashion Tone" paint combination.
Monte Carlo sales hit an all-time record with production of over 400,000 units this year.
1977 Monte Carlo
A revised grille with the Monte Carlo "Knight's Crest" emblem moved to a stand-up hood ornament and revised taillight lenses marked the 1977 Monte Carlo, which was the last year for the 1973-vintage design before the introduction of a downsized 1978 Monte Carlo. Engine offerings were similar to 1976 with the Turbo Hydra-matic transmission included standard equipment.
Interior trim received only minor revisions this year with upholstery choices including cloth, velour and vinyl in both base and Custom trims.
This model year marks the only time in history when an intermediate model was larger in every dimension than a full-sized model, as the B-body Chevrolet Caprice/Impala had already been redesigned and downsized for 1977.
Third generation (1978-1980) Monte Carlo
1978 Monte Carlo
All GM intermediate-sized cars including the Monte Carlo were downsized for the 1978 model year in response to the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo and CAFE requirements. The 1978 model was 700-800 lb lighter and some 15 in shorter than the 1977 model. The engine compartment was also smaller as the 350 and 400 V8s offered in previous years were dropped in favor of a standard 231 in³ V6 built by Buick or an optional Chevrolet 305 in³ V8. The three-speed manual transmission reappeared for the first time in several years as standard equipment on the base model with the V6 engine, and the automatic was optional. The optional V8 and all Landau models came standard with the automatic. A four-speed manual transmission with floor shifter was optional with the 305 V8, the first time a four-speed manual was offered on the Monte Carlo since 1971.
1979 Monte Carlo
Only minor trim changes were made to the 1979 Monte Carlo, that included larger taillight lenses. Mechanical changes included a new Chevrolet-built 200 in³ V6 (the ancestor of the Vortec 4300) as the standard engine for the base Monte Carlo in 49 states while the Buick 231 in³ V6 remained standard on base models in California and all Landau models. A new 120 hp 267 in V8 became optional and the 140 hp 305 in³ V8 continued as an option but was joined by a 160 hp version with a four-barrel carburetor. The same transmissions were carried over from 1978, including a standard three-speed manual and optional four-speed manual, or an optional three-speed Turbo Hydramatic automatic. This would be the last year that Chevrolet would offer manual transmissions on the Monte Carlo due to extremely low buyer interest.
A 1979 Monte Carlo lowrider was seen in the film Training Day.
1980 Monte Carlo
The car had a mild frontal restyle, with quad headlights and amber indicators mounted beneath. An automatic transmission became standard on all models and a new Chevrolet-built 229 in³ V6 replaced both the 200 in³ V6 of 1979 and the Buick engine offered on all 1978 models and the 1979 Landau as the standard engine in 49 states (California cars still got the Buick engine). A new option for 1980 was Buick's turbocharged version of the 231 in³ V6 rated at 170 hp. Other optional engines included 267 and 305 in³ versions of the Chevrolet small-block V8 with up to 160 hp.
Fourth generation (1981-1988) Monte Carlo
1981 Monte Carlo
The body was restyled with the other GM mid-size formal coupes (Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, Pontiac Grand Prix, Buick Regal). It featured a smoother profile than the previous models and new vertical taillights similar to the 1970 to 1977 models. Engine offerings were carried over, including the standard 229 in³ Chevrolet V6 (231 in³ Buick V6 in California) an optional 267 in³ V8 (not available in California), a 305 in³ V8 in the base and Landau models, and a turbocharged 170 hp 231 in³ Buick V6 in the Monte Carlo Turbo. An automatic transmission, power steering and power front disc brakes were standard equipment.
1982 Monte Carlo
Only mild revisions were made on the 1982 Monte Carlo. All engines, except for the turbocharged 231 in³ V6, which was discontinued along with the Monte Carlo Turbo model, were carried over from 1981. New for 1982 were the additions of a 262 in³ V6 and an Oldsmobile 350 in³ V8, both of which were diesel engines. With the introduction of GM's new mid-size platform that saw the introduction of the Buick Century, Chevrolet Celebrity, Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera and Pontiac 6000, the chassis designations were shuffled up. The new mid-size cars were designated as A-body cars, whereas the cars previously designated as A-bodies were now called G-bodies. A black exterior was not offered in 1982.
1984 Monte Carlo
The SS was a hit in the car-buying public, starving for some power after the hefty emissions regulations of the late 1970s. 112,730 sport coupes were sold, and an additional 24,050 had the SS option (with an 180 hp 305 V8 that saw a 5 hp boost from the previous year), having an asking price of US$10,700. The Monte Carlo SS was available with Strato bucket seats and floor console as extra-cost options for the first time in place of the standard split bench seat with armrest. The regular Monte Carlo came standard with a 125 hp 229 in³ V6 (231 in³ V6 for California) and a 165 hp 305 V8 was optional. Available for the last year in a base Monte Carlo was the 350 in³ diesel engine, and there were only 168 manufactured. All engines for 1984 got the three-speed automatic transmission with the exception of three SSs at the end of the 1984 production run that received the 200-4R transmission with overdrive. In 1984 there were a limited number of Monte Carlo SSs made in Mexico, for Mexico sale. The differences are many in the Mexican to US/Canadian SS's. There was no rear spoiler. The rims are 14" checker style, an option on the base Monte Carlos in the US. The side mirrors are different style and black. The interior is that of a Grand Prix, in blue. The engine is a 350, 265hp and 350 lb/ft of torque, and got a 200-4R speed manual with hurst shifter.
1985 Monte Carlo
T-tops were re-introduced (discontinued after the 1982 model year), and additional SS colors (Black, maroon and silver in addition to white), pinstriping, and options were made available. The (later to be highly sought after) medium blue color for the SS was dropped. A four-speed automatic overdrive transmission, the Turbo Hydramatic 200-4R, with a revised sport rear axle ratio containing 3:73 gears became standard on the SS. Gone for good were the 229 in³ V6 and 350 in³ V8 diesel engines. Introduced in place of the 229 in³ V6 was a 262 in³ (4.3 L) V6 that was fuel-injected with throttle-body fuel injection.
61,961 of these engines made their way into the Sport Coupe that year. 35,484 Monte Carlo SSs were also produced for 1985.
1986 Monte Carlo
For 1986, there were four distinct body styles available. The base model Sport Coupe was still available with the same general body panels that it had since 1981, but featured new "aero" side mirrors similar to those on Camaros and Corvettes of the 1980s . New for the 1986 model year was a Luxury Sport model that had a revised front fascia, new "aero" side mirrors, and an updated sleek-looking rear fascia. The LS front fascia included "Euro" headlamps with removable bulbs in a plastic headlamp housing, versus the smaller all-in-one glass headlights of previous years. The rear bumper of the LS no longer had a "notch" between the bumper and trunk, and the taillights wrapped around so that they were visible from the sides of the car. The Super Sport model for 1986 incorporated the "aero" mirrors, yet still utilized the prior year's styling for the rear bumper. Also new this year was the Aerocoupe model. The Aerocoupe was created by modifications to the Super Sport body, including a more deeply sloped rear window and a shorter trunklid sporting a spoiler that laid more flat than previous Super Sports. Only 200 Aerocoupes were sold to the public, which happened to be the exact number NASCAR officials required for road model features to be incorporated into the racing cars.
1987 Monte Carlo
In 1987, Chevrolet eliminated the Sport Coupe version of the Monte Carlo, leaving the LS, SS, and Aerocoupe. The Super Sport incorporated the "smoothed" rear bumper and tail lamps first introduced on the 1986 Luxury Sport. The Aerocoupe made up 6,052 of the 39,251 total Super Sports that were produced that year. 39,794 Luxury Sports were produced in 1987.
1988 Monte Carlo
This was the last year for the fourth generation Monte Carlo. The 1988 models were actually built in late 1987, with only 16,204 SSs made for an asking price of US$14,320. Appearance and mechanicals were similar to the 1987 model, with the exception of the venerable 231 in³ V6 being dropped. The SS model came from the factory with 180 hp. The 1988 model only came with the lay-down style spoiler, unlike the 1987 model, which came with either the lay-down or stand-up type spoiler. The Aerocoupe did not return, as Chevrolet had unveiled plans to produce the Lumina and race that body style in NASCAR. The new Lumina body style was much more aerodynamic and negated the need for a "sleeker" version of the Monte Carlo SS. While the Lumina replaced the Monte Carlo on the NASCAR circuit, it did not replace the Monte Carlo on the street; The coupe and sedan versions of the Lumina took the place of the coupe and sedan versions of the Celebrity. Total production numbers for the final year of the rear-wheel drive Monte Carlo was 30,174 - almost half of the 1987 numbers.
The final G-body Monte Carlo - a silver SS coupe - was produced on December 12, 1987. Total SS production for '88 was 16,204.
Fifth generation (1995-1999) Monte Carlo
For the 1995 model year, the mid-size Lumina was split into two models with the sedan continuing as the Lumina and the coupe reviving the Monte Carlo nameplate for its fifth generation. The new car rode on an updated W-body chassis shared with the Lumina, Pontiac Grand Prix, Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, Oldsmobile Intrigue, Buick Century and Buick Regal, and by its nature was the first front-wheel drive Monte Carlo. Prices ranged from $16,770 (LS) to $18,970 (Z34) in 1995. All 1995-2007 Monte Carlos were built in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada.
For its four-year run, the Monte Carlo was available in two trims — LS and Z34. LS models were powered by the 3.1 L 3100 V6 putting out 160 hp @5000 rpm (119 kW) and 185 ft·lbf (251 N·m) while Z34s featured a a more powerful 3.4 L DOHC V6 engine with 215 hp (160 kW) and 220 ft·lbf (298 N·m). Aside from minor equipment changes, the fifth generation remained virtually unchanged during its life (the 3.4 L was replaced with the 3800 Series II, a much simpler design).
Though derided by some for its indistinct lines (called the 'Lumina Carlo') and its front-wheel drive drivetrain, the fifth generation sold well enough for Chevrolet to continue the line with a more original redesign in 2000. The 1995 bodystyle was also a favorite on the NASCAR circuit and enjoyed considerable success at the track.
Sixth generation (2000-2005) Monte Carlo
For 2000, Chevrolet not only again called upon GM Motorsports for design inspiration, but also to Monte Carlos of the past. Among the traits carried over from older Monte Carlos were the stylized wheel flares, vertically oriented taillamps, and a stylized rear bumper. Another classic trait for 2000 was the return of the "Knight" badging, not seen on the Monte Carlo since 1988. From the NASCAR circuit came the aerodynamic styling and duck tail spoiler as well as myriad commemorative and special edition packages.
Trim levels consisted of the LS,LT, and SS, the latter being the first front-wheel drive SS in the Chevrolet lineup. The former used a 3.4 L OHV V6, while the latter got the 3.8 L V6. A supercharged SS model was added for 2004 and 2005, though the naturally-aspirated SS continued as well, but was relabled as LT.
2006-2007 Refreshed Monte Carlo
The 2006 Monte Carlo (and the companion Impala sedan) was introduced at the 2005 Los Angeles Auto Show. The base engine is a 3.5 L V6 producing 210 hp (156kW). The most notable news about the model, though, is the SS model's use of the Generation IV small-block V8 in a front-wheel drive car for the first time, and its first V8 since the 1988 model. The new 5.3 L V8 will produce 303 hp (226 kW). The car is 55.8 in high, 72.9 in wide, and 196.7 in long (142 cm by 185 cm by 500 cm). There is some debate as to whether the changes between 2005 and 2006 warrant a new generation designation. All of the exterior body panels with the exception of the sheet metal forward of the A-pilliar remain the same as previous years. The exterior changes are very similar to the changes between a 1986 Sport Coupe and a 1986 Luxury Sport (front fascia, front fenders, rear bumper cover). The interior for 2006, however, is redesigned, and features a "substantially revamped cockpit-style instrument panel with a new instrument layout and control center stack." (Autoworld.com's reposting of GM press release material) Additionally, the seats and console are revised. However with the completely new engine options for 2006 comes change in some key chassis components such as control arms that cause the track and ride height to be slightly larger. GM has specified the 2006 model year is a continuation of the 6th generation by stating that the new look is merely a modification over the previous years. Similar "refreshenings" were performed to the 1997 to 2003 Pontiac Grand Prix and to the 2001 to 2006 Dodge Stratus, and were considered the same generation of each respective model.
Current plans call for the Monte Carlo to be produced at Oshawa Car Assembly Plant #1 until summer 2007. At that time Plant #1 will be closed for one month to allow movement of all equipment to Plant #2. Once the move is complete, only the Impala and the Buick LaCrosse/Allure will begin production again, thus ending production of the Monte Carlo and Grand Prix. Plant #1 will begin being retooled for Zeta platform capability.
Based upon the above statement of idling of the Monte Carlo at Oshawa, and no announced plans to continue production elsewhere, it appears the Monte Carlo will go on hiatus after the 2007 model year. This is also backed up by NASCAR's transition away from the Monte Carlo into the Impala. GM has confirmed that the Monte Carlo will end production on June 20. GM Vice President Bob Lutz has said the Monte Carlo will return using the new rear wheel drive Zeta architecture.
Appearances in pop culture
- The Monte Carlo has the most wins of any car in NASCAR history.
- In the 2006 film Cars, a stock car racing announcer known as Darrell Cartrip appears to be a 1976 Monte Carlo. The character is based on former NASCAR champion Darrell Waltrip, who provides his voice in the role. A piston cup racecar sponsored by Leakless Adult Drip Pans appears to be the same model. Also, alot of other racers in Cars are based off Leakless's CGO model.
- In the movie Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Ace Ventura drives a beat-up blue 1972 model.
- In the movie 2 Fast 2 Furious, character Roman Pearce (played by Tyrese Gibson) participates in a Demolition Derby with a 1970 Monte Carlo. Upon leaving the competition, he walks back to his residence and a 1972 Monte Carlo that is presumed to be his, can be seen.
- In the movie The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift, character Sean Boswell drives a heavily modified "sleeper" first-generation Monte Carlo at the beginning of the film. It sustains heavy damage during a race with a 2004 Dodge Viper and finally rolls at the end of the race.
- In the 2001 movie Training Day, Denzel Washington drives a black 1979 Monte Carlo.
- In the first episode of The O.C. Dawn Atwood drives a beat-up first-generation Monte Carlo.
In the movie Collateral starring Tom Cruise, Mark Ruffalo drives a fifth-generation Monte Carlo.
All our parts are manufactured by Dynacorn International Industries.
We carry the following parts for the 1970, 1971, 1972 Monte Carlo:
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