The Chevrolet Monte Carlo was a very popular personal luxury car. It was first introduced in 1970 as competition for the Pontiac Grand Prix. Although no longer in production, Monte Carlo automobiles remain highly prized and sought after by collectors. With distinctive and streamlined good looks and a comfortable ride, the Monte Carlo served well as a personal luxury car or as a family car. Its features included roomy front bucket seats and classic and powerful V8 engines, ranging in size from 350 to 454 cu in.
The Chevrolet Monte Carlo standard powertrain was a 350 cu in small-block V8 engine with a two-barrel carburetor, rated at 250 hp. The most powerful option for this engine size was the SS 454 Turbo-Jet with a four-barrel carburetor, rated at 360 hp. Transmissions were available in 3 or 4-speed manual and 2 or 3-speed automatic versions. The first Monte Carlo production lines were located around the United States in Flint, MI and Baltimore, MD, as well as in Kansas City, MO and Van Nuys, CA. At the same time, the cars were manufactured in Canada at Oshawa, Ontario.
For the 1970 model year, Elliot M. Pete" Estes, then general manager of Chevrolet, combined innovative efforts with Dave Holls, chief stylist for Chevrolet. Together they created the 1970 Monte Carlo. It was formally introduced to the marketplace by John Z. DeLorean. Production of the popular car was halted in 1988, but later resumed with the 1995 model. Design changes made the newer model very different from earlier ones. Production was finally ended in 2007.
The Chevrolet Monte Carlo has gone through six design generations. Each generation has been a two-door luxury coupe. All are sporty, rear-drive V8 vehicles that provide performance and comfort with overall stylish design features. In response to the gas shortages of the late 1970s, the 1978 models were made 700 to 800 pounds lighter, and about 15 inches shorter than their predecessors. The engines were replaced with the downsized 231 cu in V6 from Buick, although a Chevrolet 305 cu in V8 was available.
The distinctive egg-crate grille appeared on the 1972 Monte Carlo. In 1973 the body changed from a hardtop to a pillared coupe with opera windows at the rear sides, and the door glass was frameless. The G-body of earlier models was last produced in 1987, and after a hiatus in production, the newer 1996 models were made with a W-body chassis.
The final Monte Carlo produced in 2007 has been kept by General Motors for their Heritage Center collection. Monte Carlo captured many awards, and was a NASCAR favorite from 1972 until the end of production. It consistently won NASCAR Manufacturers Cup awards until it was replaced by the Impala. In 1973, Motor Trend magazine awarded Monte Carlo their "Car of the Year" distinction, based on styling, ride and handling. This model set new sales records, with almost a quarter of a million sold. Fame and fortune followed this car as it was featured in popular movies, and in the famous 1975 television ad for Chevrolet entitled "Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie and Chevrolet".
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