Classic Chevy – 1970 Monte Carlo

A classic Chevy in the traditional sense will indeed cover a lot of bases. But there is a favored classic Chevy of yesteryear that is worth remembering and that was the introduction of the 1970 Monte Carlo.

The 1970 Monte Carlo was the brain child of Elliot M Estes (Pete) the car was to be Chevrolet’s counterpart to the 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix. Pontiac had great success with the Grand Prix Pontiac in 1969 and Chevrolet wanted to take advantage of that success.

Chevrolet’s stylist in the 70’s Dave Holls borrowed from the Cadillac Eldorado and Chevrolet Chevelle, they produced the muscular looking Classic Chevy Monte Carlo. What came out of this design was a two-door coupe with a classic style that has lasted 6 generations and due to make a reappearance in 2012. Although it’s stats are not likely to impress as much as the 70’s but the reviews are giving the 3.4L V6 2012 model a buildup.

The 70’s Classic Chevy design was marketed as a personal-luxury coupe through its entire history. It has outlived many competitors that were either discontinued or changed into either a four-door sedans or smaller sport coupes.

The base model weighed in at 3460 lbs, about 200 lbs. more than a 2-door Chevelle with the shorter 112-inch wheelbase. Monte Carlos were equipped with more luxury options than your typical Chevelle, such as air conditioning (yes, in 1970, air conditioning was considered a luxury option, unlike today!), power windows, and other items that increased the vehicle weight. Fender skirts were also a popular option.

The best were the first four generations (70-72, 73-77, 78-80 and 81-88) all were rear wheel drive V8 powered coupes. The all had separate chassis and body construction of the traditional full size cars.

My all time favorite was the 1971 model year. There was not much in changes from the first year. In the SS model got European symbol knobs and the steering wheel got four spokes and a raised hood ornament.

The classic Chevy body style made use of the GM’s G-body also used on the Grand Prix. So instead of just making more passenger space on the Chevrolet model they added a splice between the firewall and the front wheels. This is what created the unique Monte Carlo classic look. The classic long hood turned out to be very popular.

Base power included the 350 Turbo-Fire small block V8 with 250 hp with a 2 barrel carburetor. By today’s standards 334 ft lbs of torque at only 2800 rpm was exciting. Some of the standard options included disk brakes in the front. Most of us old guys love the simulated wood trim patterned after the Rolls Royce.

An option available on my 71 added a four-barrel carburetor pushing the 350 to output 300 hp. Both the small block and big block 400 cubic inch engines were offered. The big block version rated at 330 hp was actually the 396 at 402 cubic inch slightly larger displacement.

The most power came in the Monte Carlo SS 454 at 360 hp with 500 ft lbs of torque. The option was only an extra $420 for 7.4 L made for quite a fast car. Standard was the heavy-duty suspension and 3.31 rear gear with load leveling suspension. The badge of honor was “SS 454” for the option package with a turbo hydramatic-transmission. Only 3,823 wore the badge of honor “SS-454” and those cars are highly sought after today by enthusiasts and collectors.