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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Is the 1970-71 Monte Carlo finally getting the attention it deserves? | Hagerty Media

By now it's no secret that the muscle car market is making a comeback. Strong sales through the first quarter of the year by Mecum Auctions and Barrett-Jackson confirmed that lust for loud V-8s has weathered the pandemic. Surprisingly, though, the poster child for the latest muscle car craze isn't a Hemi Cuda or an LS6 Chevelle.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/market-trends/hagerty-insider/is-the-1970-71-monte-carlo-finally-getti...
64 REPLIES 64
F360Spider
Detailer

I remember when the Monte Carlo was first introduced. I found it to be a pleasing design that had a lot going for it. Then again, at the time, I thought the Ford Maverick was a good looking car. Still, the Monte Carlo had some nice features and smooth lines.
OHCOddball
Intermediate Driver

Maverick WAS a good looking car. My brother bought a '70 back in 1973 after he graduated from high school. Problem was the crap quality. It was getting rust already and the weak 6 cyl. it had.
Lightning1
Detailer

It said a 4 speed was not avail with a 454. A high school buddy ordered exactly that in Scottsdale. They took his order without a deposit (sales were slim at that time). When delivered my buddy didn't have the money so it sat in the showroom for a few months.
Canuck
Pit Crew

The 4-speed trans was available with the 350 and 402 but not the 454.
Porsche911914
New Driver

FYI, The Monte Carlo trunk lid is the exact same trunk lid as my 1970 Buick GS, A body. GM sharing parts.
Glad to see the Monte Carlo is getting some recognition now.
OHCOddball
Intermediate Driver

Chevelle, Lemans, Skylark, Monte Carlo all used the came rear window, trunk lid, windshield. The doors would probably go on too thought the lines wouldn't match. The only one different was the Cutlass.
DC
Intermediate Driver

IMO, ‘70 & ‘71 Monte Carlos are some of the most elegant automobiles ever drawn.

Not to mention bringing Chevrolet back to NASCAR in a big way and becoming NASCAR’s winningest nameplate.
OHCOddball
Intermediate Driver

Monte Carlo's were getting rarer back in the 80's-90's as more were used as stock cars and demo derby due to their long distance from the radiator to the engine. Remember those huge fan shrouds? I picked a rusted '70 up for $300 to get the 400 SB that it had in it. The entire trunk floor was gone and there wasn't much holding the rear sheet metal on. Parted the good front end and doors out. It would have been a pretty car if it wasn't so far gone: blue exterior, black cloth interior.
RichH
Intermediate Driver

I have always loved these, with any engine.
dooscoop32
Intermediate Driver

I have always loved the 1970-72 Monte Carlos. I know this article is for the '70 and '71 cars due to the SS 454 option but I always liked the grille on the '72 the best of the three years.

I worked with a man in the 70s who had a '71 Monte Carlo. We were in our 20s then so he kept that car impeccably clean and neat all the time. I enjoyed riding in that car. It was very quiet and pleasant to ride in.

Along those same lines, my dad worked with a man who ordered a Carolina Blue (special order paint color) '71 Monte Carlo new. It had dark blue interior. But the special thing about his car was that he ordered it as a slick top. That looked very odd back then but it kept that car from getting rust under a vinyl top.

About three or four years ago, I was at an annual cruise-in they hold in our town once a year. It is a huge event usually attracting around 600 cars. The streets are closed off for cars that are 1972 or older. As I was walking around looking at the cars which were parked before the cruise started, a guy pulled up beside me and spoke. I turned to see who it was. And lo and behold, it was that man who worked with my dad and he was in that Carolina Blue '71 Monte Carlo!!! He still owned that car! And he has had it for close to 50 years now! And it still looked like new. I asked him how many miles it had and he looked and said it had 48k miles on it. Wow!

So I guess I have a personal connection to the '70 and '71 Monte Carlos. The closest I ever came to owning one of them was a '73 and a '76 Landau I owned. But they just aren't the same.
EddieAmes
New Driver

I was fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time back in '77 and caught a '71 SS 454 MC coming in on trade as a 19 year old.
Dark green with matching naugahyde buckets, factory tinted windows, tach, tilt and PW/locks, and horseshoe shifter, no air.
I either paid $1,400 or $1,800, can't remember for sure now.
I do know for sure, that someone hit me and the car was a write-off with in a year.
Replaced it at 20 in '78 with a dark green '69 GP 428 SJ.
The GP was my favorite.

Callen
Pit Crew

In 1973 I w as in high school and working in a Chevron station after school and weekends. The first time I popped the hood on a Monte Carlo, back in the day when stations were full service, one thing that made a big impression was the fan shroud. It looks like it's about 18" deep at least. Never seen one that long since. Look at the picture above to see what I'm talking about.
Tinkerah
Technician

I've related that exact impression here in the past. A friend of mine who had one loved repeating that he'd heard somewhere that "The '70-73 Monte Carlos had the longest hood ever bolted to a Chevrolet." That engine bay made the small block motor look like a 2/3 scale model.
OLDERbastard1
Detailer

Loved those cars since they first came out. Even being a young guy at the time & into the Camaro/Chevelle/Nova type cars, the Monte Carlo did exude a certain kind of elegance. Would love to find a nice condition '70 now.
Maestro1
Instructor

I have a sense that with all the pressure on gasoline engines cars like this will suffer a major correction in value; perhaps not now, but in the near future. Since everybody is obsessed with climate change (it's too late: we should have been planning for it 100 years ago but greed always conquers social responsibility) and as ridiculous as it sounds one may find low serial number Teslas, which is not a car, it's a computer, another way of emasculating your intelligence, will have a position in the market.
BMD4800
Instructor

Maestro, I mean no disrespect in my reply.

‘ greed always conquers social responsibility’

Agreed. It is the greed of the global climate cabal, the electric companies, the Marxist devotees that want to control free movement, the attendees of the Church of Global Warming, all that have placed their greed for tax dollars, power, and control over the environmental and social impact of Lithium and cobalt extraction. Is the social responsibility of reducing CO2 emissions in the developed world more important than the landscape devastated by Lithium mines? The water use, water pollution, and lack of clean up a fair trade-off because it isn’t here?
What about child slave-labor in African Cobalt mines?
This social responsibility, it only pertains to you, not those other folks, right? Is it because they are poor and their country can’t fight back? Or is it because of their brown skin, that you place greater merit upon your feelings of social responsibility?

X-number of scientists they say...
Global Warming, err... climate change, they say...

Climate Scientists, the ones with advanced understanding of atmospheric thermodynamics, are not in universal agreement regarding CO2 or man made global climate change.
Why? Many reasons, but the basics:
1) the climate change models minimize the multitude of natural terrestrial factors, while virtually eliminating the extra-terrestrial factors.
2) Botany.

Okay, so starting off, CO2 isn’t even the worst gas, it is down the list from significantly more prevalent and naturally occurring gases and water vapor.

100 years ago, 1921, the atmospheric CO2 concentration was 308 ppm (parts per million). Today, it is 417 ppm. That’s a 36% increase! Well, yes. In small numbers, a change can make a big percentage delta.
In terms of concentration, 417 ppm is 0.042%. We went from 0.029% (285 ppm) in the 1840s to 0.042% (417 ppm) today. Looks kind of silly when you put it that way. Did you know Argon is 9300 ppm? That 0.93%! 22x CO2.

The sun plays a significant role in climate, the short, mid, and long term cycles have been observed far longer than CO2, and estimates of silt heating fluctuations on other planets mimic many of the changes we see on Earth. There are orbital and inclination wobble factors as well, but that’s well beyond the scope of this reply.

Secondly, the productivity of plant life is severely impacted at lower CO2 concentrations. Below 150ppm, many of the foods we eat would be devastated. 200ppm is a practical low-limit for subsistence farming of grains. The ideal range is at or about 1000ppm.

Let’s revisit some numbers above, shall we? 200 ppm, food issues. 285ppm pre-Industrial Revolution, 417ppm post Industrial Revolution. CO2 emissions are decreasing in the developed world. China, Russia, India...well, not so much.
Ideal plant growth around 1000ppm. NOAA predicts in 20-30 years we will hit 500 ppm for CO2.

This climate crisis, it isn’t because of CO2, all the ICE powered machines that have contributed to longer life spans, healthier and happier people, increased food production, medicines, transportation, and general global well being. Any demonstrable change in climate is largely due to significant factors fully outside our control. When all the variables are considered, this conclusion is the only plausible conclusion that can be supported by ALL data available. Through the exclusion of data, we reach a false conclusion, and create a crisis where there is none, and utilize the crisis as a means to enrich a few among us.

Back to cars! You don’t think that if ICE are banned that the market won’t be flooded with electric conversions, do you?
Maestro1
Instructor

BMD, thank you. Very well done. I was concerned with market implications only; you have expanded the vision.
brians356
Detailer

Climate has changed many times naturally. Did you know we're in a relatively cold enough period today to be called an "ice age"? Search "Quaternary Ice Age" and read all about it. Only about 15,000 years ago much of what is our America was under an ice sheet. We've been gradually warming since. Perfectly natural, and positively uncontrollable. Also, CO2 concentrations have been much higher in past epochs. If CO2 were to drop to about 250 ppm most life on Earth would die off. This is easy to calculate because plants live on CO2 and are relatively simple to understand. It's much better that we're gradually warming (and plants are getting more food) than gradually cooling, believe it.
OldRoad
Instructor

The real problem? Sheep who are willing to be herded into cages of fear based on government lies. The entire world is being fear mongered into thinking planet earth is going to be destroyed by the very element it was created with, Carbon. Earth itself, is a carbon producing planet and governments have the unmitigated gall to tell those of us who know better that they can make Earth Carbon Free by 2035? Well, they've proven to themselves they can control their Sheep, why not the weather too.
eighthtry
Intermediate Driver

I have to take exception to the "entire world" statement. The overwhelming majority of people in this world either don't believe it, don't know about it, don't care about it, or all three.

Only us super sophisticated western countries think we can save the rest of the world from itself. Which I submit to you as utter absurdity. I will not be around to watch the financial train wreck that is coming, but I see plenty of KoolAid drinking going on right now. Remember who BENEFITS from inflation. It is anyone that has debt. Starting with our super trustworthy Congress full of idiots, whom, unfortunately, understands it too well.
drhino
Instructor

“Almost as important, these Monte Carlos look very much like the anemic 1973–77 malaise-era Montes.” What?!? Come on Greg. Maybe you need a visit to your optometrist. The second gen Monte Carlo was hideous in comparison to the first. The original was elegant, understated. The follow up was cartoonishly over styled in the vein of “cars” like the Zimmer. Gold chain, white belt and shoes, big collar, polyester leisure suit sort of stuff.
Greg_I
Advanced Driver

@drhino I can see where you’re coming from, but I do stand by that statement. I own a 69 Grand Prix and I can’t tell you how many times it has been mistaken for a much later car. So that statement is born out of personal experience. It surprised me for a while, but I just expect to be approached these days and be asked “wow! Is that a 75, 76, etc?” Can’t fault anyone either, they have a similar basic shape and to someone who doesn’t know any better, that’s enough.

Canuck
Pit Crew

I’ve owned 1970-72 Monte Carlos for 25 years and typically people think it is a 67-70. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “is that a 69?”. There are certainly similar styling cues between the first 2 generations in the fender sculpting so I can see where you get your similarities from. In my opinion the overall look is quite different between the two generations.
drhino
Instructor

Greg,

I would say that the Grand Prix looks much more similar across those generations.  Those big ugly fender scallops on the second gen Monte makes it impossible (to anyone other than Ray Charles) to mistake them. 

Rider79
Instructor

Amen!
Rider79
Instructor

The Grand Prix did not go thru an ugly phase in the mid-1970's; in fact, it stayed quite attractive and relatively similar in style, from 1969 thru 1977. There is no way anyone who cares about cars even a bit would confuse a 1970-72 Monte with a 1973-77, even if they did not know what year either car actually was.
dd1
Intermediate Driver

This is simply a beautiful car, period. I've always loved this era Monte Carlo. The styling is superb as it exudes subtle power and subtle muscle. It's soft-spoken whereas it's Chevelle sister is anything but subtle as it says to the world, "I'm a Chevelle SS, so don't mess with me if you know what's good for you!" Both cars are very special in their own unique way. The second generation Monte Carlo is also a nice looking car but it's no comparison to the first generation. This was the first and best generation for my personal tastes. But as they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Oh how I yearn for them to make beautiful looking machines like this again. I'm so tired of bubble shaped anonymous cars with color coded bumpers, mirrors--and just color coded everything! Please, auto manufacturers I implore you to bring back designs that are stirring, exciting, beautiful and breath-taking!
BMD4800
Instructor

I ran low 14s with a stock 350, 4bbl 70 Monte Carlo, after tuning the carb, ignition curve work, and a modern exhaust system. Transparent to the observer, but no less there. Gears helped too. 3.31s in the 12 bolt are a good mix, but 3.90 Richmonds were the quickest. (I realize that isn’t stock, but 4.10 gears could be box checked).
70429TbirdBob
New Driver

How about the 70-71 Ford thunderbird getting some attention? 429 Cobra Jet with 367 hp. I have not seen any of these birds on the auction block, I think most of them rusted out. Windshield wipers run off power steering, factory traction bars. Goes like a raped ape. Would like to meet a Monte Carlo at a stop light.
garymkarn
New Driver

I bought my 71 Monte Carlo SS in 77 with 12,000 miles on it for 2,300 dollars . At the time I was building my 70 Nova ( that I bought in 74 ) into a race car with a Dyer's blower so I needed a date car . The Monte was about the same dark green as the Nova so I bought it . The Monte was fully loaded power windows ,door locks , trunk , A/C,rear bumber pad and much more .I used the car on weekends to go on dates ,bar , and yes even the Disco's .In 79 a friend and I took a trip out to California .After I got married in 82 it became our family car for short trips and to haul our jet boat up to lake . Sometime in the mid 80's I started to take it to the Chevy Vett show in Chicago where it did very well .In the late 80's and early 90's I joined the NMCA and raced it in there all original heads up racing . With the help of a set of M/T drag radials I ran low 14 's and once when I wasn't sleeping on the line I ran a 13.85 . Now I just take the Monte to local cruise nights and the smaller shows in the area and I am usually the only real SS there .I have a tow bar connection on the Nova so I can tow the Nova behind the Monte makes quit a sean pulling into a show . Being the second owner I have all the paper work for the car including any warrenty work and his forms from the dealership . With 56,000 miles and unrestored the Monte has mostly all original parts .Now 44 years later with the Monte Carlo ( 47 with the Nova ) I'm glad that I didn't know how rare the Monte was when I bouhgt it or might not of had so much fun with it .
Sierra2pac
New Driver

The main thing I remember was the front suspension design of the first generation Monte Carlo. It was patterned after the Mercedes SL, it had a lot more positive caster compared with other GM cars. Somewhere around 6-9 degrees & it handed great. I remember reading that fun fact in a Peterson’s magazine. I was able to cross check the alignment specifications between the two cars to verify the story & sure enough they were nearly identical.
qnofmean
New Driver

Up until October 2020, we owned the car in the picture!
MATTMERICA
Instructor

That is cool! How long did you own it?
Orict0015668
Pit Crew

Saw it at fall carlisle 2020. It was an outstanding example, but did u remove the cowl tag and reinstall it with Phillips head screws?
Berto
New Driver

My brother had a Burgundy over Black 1970 SS. I loved that car even though I was and still am in to Little British Sports Cars (LBC's). The problem he had with the car and the reason he got rid of it was the power steering pump would continuously go out. He would take it back to the dealer, they would install a new on and 2 weeks later it crapped out again. No one could ever figure out why the car kept eating power steering pumps.
mwmyers91
Detailer

Had a 72, fabulous ride. The doors were massive and it felt like your living room with the interior.
roadio55
Intermediate Driver

I've always loved the first generation Monte Carlo. I consider it as stylish as the Continental Mark II or the 1964 Buick Riviera. A 454 would ne nice, but I'd buy one for the style, not the performance.
Canuck
Pit Crew

I currently have a 1971 SS454 as well as a 1970 with a 350. Great cars. When I first saw my 1970 25 years ago it was love at first sight.
jorge1958
New Driver

I remember back on the 70s my dad did some maintenance on cars out of our garage. He had a 71 Monte SS 454 in there that he had worked on. He let me a 16 year old test drive it after repairs. That thing was a rocket. Love these cars. But i prefer the 4th gen SS's. No muscle car but i love the styling. I have a black SS t-top. Awesome car to me.
Aquay_Mizmo
Intermediate Driver

I think they are still not getting any respect. I have a numbers matching '72 I can't seem to get $4500 for.
grad
New Driver

Where do you live I might be interested if you are Michigan 

terryjudd
Intermediate Driver

The early generation Monte Carlo’s relatively clean styling was marred by its faux-elegant emblem gracing the grille and later the hood featuring the head of what appears to be a Roman centurion perched atop a red shield. Like the ostentatious golden fleur-de-lis emblems on the Caprice, this was another example of GM adding gaudy bling so that Chevrolets somehow would appeal to the snooty country club set.
Cornbinder
Intermediate Driver

Fully agree that gen-1 Monte's are finally getting their day and the market is proving it. Yet I have a point of correction. That SS454 that "smashed all previous prices set for a stock Monte Carlo" didn't. That still stands at $105k on the hammer ($110,250 with buyer's premium) for a 1972 in factory special order black with under 3k miles on it that was sold from the Beneventi Chevrolet collection in Granger, IA by VanDerBrink Auctions in July of last year.
Canuck
Pit Crew

Agreed. That is a 70, a 71 and a 72 that all sold for over 90k in less than a year.
Canuck
Pit Crew

Overall good article with a couple common technical errors. The Monte Carlo was an A-body as listed in the Fisher Body manuals. It also does not use a Chevelle wagon frame. The Monte frame is the same as the 2-door Chevelle frame but with an extra 8 inches of length ahead of the firewall (4 inches added to wheelbase and another 4 inches ahead of the front wheels).
Greg_I
Advanced Driver

@Canuck I’ve head it both ways about the frame. Do you have any recommended reading that I can check before we look to make an edit?

Canuck
Pit Crew

I just know it from my 20 years experience with the First Generation Monte Carlo Club over the years. The Monte has its own frame. It is common that people assume it is a Chevelle 4-door or wagon frame because the wheelbase is the same 116” inches. The body and frame from the firewall back is the same as a 2-door Chevelle. The structure difference between the 2-door Chevelle and the Monte Carlo is all ahead of the front wheels. I understand you can’t simply take my word for it since there are a lot of misinformed people out there. The FGMCC message forum is the best source of info on these cars which is where I’ve learned the info over the years from knowledgeable people. www.fgmcc.com
Canuck
Pit Crew

As for the A-body vs G-body. The GM Fisher Body Manual lists the Monte Carlo as type A.
Greg_I
Advanced Driver

Thanks for the info, will make some tweaks