Chevrolet Monte Carlo
Overview
 
The Chevrolet Monte Carlo was an American-made two-door coupe introduced for model year 1970, and manufactured over six generations through model year 2007. It was marketed as a personal-luxury coupe through most of its history, with the last model version being classified as a full-sized coupe. When it was discontinued in 2007, it had outlived many competitors that were either discontinued many years earlier or changed in concept to either a four-door sedan or small sport coupe.

The Monte Carlo endured six design generations.
Encyclopedia
The Chevrolet Monte Carlo was an American-made two-door coupe introduced for model year 1970, and manufactured over six generations through model year 2007. It was marketed as a personal-luxury coupe through most of its history, with the last model version being classified as a full-sized coupe. When it was discontinued in 2007, it had outlived many competitors that were either discontinued many years earlier or changed in concept to either a four-door sedan or small sport coupe.

The Monte Carlo endured six design generations. The first four (1970–72, 1973–77, 1978–80 and 1981–88) were of a rear-wheel-drive, V8-powered (V6 available beginning in 1978) coupe style, utilizing separate body-on-frame construction. The later rear-wheel-drive generations bucked the trend of unit-body construction, along with smaller engines, that became more prevalent in the early 1980s as automakers downsized their vehicle lines to meet increasing stringent fuel-economy regulations in the aftermath of two energy crises that led to gasoline shortages and skyrocketing pump prices in 1973-74 and 1979-80. Despite those trends, the Monte Carlo remained a popular seller and even regained the SS version (initially offered for 1970-71 with 454 cubic-inch V8) from mid-1983 to 1988 with a high-performance 305 cubic inch V8.

Following a several year hiatus following the discontinuation of the rear-drive Monte Carlo after 1988, the nameplate was revived for 1995 on a front-drive, V6-powered coupe based on the Chevrolet Lumina
Chevrolet Lumina
The North American Chevrolet Lumina sedan , coupe and minivan were first introduced in 1989 for the 1990 model year as a new range of vehicles from the Chevrolet brand of General Motors to replace the Chevrolet Camaro, Chevrolet Celebrity sedan, and the Monte Carlo coupe. The Lumina was an answer...

 sedan. It was succeeded by the sixth and final-generation Monte Carlo in 2000 that was built along-side of the Chevrolet Impala
Chevrolet Impala
The Chevrolet Impala is a full-size automobile built by the Chevrolet division of General Motors introduced for the 1958 model year. Deriving its name from the southern African antelope, Chevrolet's most expensive passenger model through 1965 had become the best-selling automobile in the United...

, which succeeded the Lumina as Chevy's mid-sized sedan. The Monte Carlo SS was revived from 2000 to 2007 and initially powered by 3.8-liter V6 (supercharged in 2004-2005), later to be replaced by a 5.3-liter V8 for 2006-2007.

1970

The Monte Carlo was originally created as Chevrolet's counterpart to the then new G-body
GM G platform (RWD)
The General Motors G platform was an automobile platform designation used for mid-sized rear wheel drive cars first from 1969-1972 and again from 1982 to 1988....

 Pontiac Grand Prix
Pontiac Grand Prix
Picking up where the Pontiac Ventura model left off, the Grand Prix first appeared in the Pontiac line for 1962. It was essentially a standard Pontiac Catalina coupe with minimal outside chrome trim and a sportier interior...

, which had been introduced for model year 1969. For the 1968 model year, GM had instituted a split-wheelbase
Wheelbase
In both road and rail vehicles, the wheelbase is the distance between the centers of the front and rear wheels.- Road :In automobiles, the wheelbase is the horizontal distance between the center of the front wheel and the center of the rear wheel...

 policy for its A-body intermediate cars: 112 in (2845 mm) for two-door models, 116 in (2946 mm) for sedans and 121in for station wagon
Station wagon
A station wagon is a body style variant of a sedan/saloon with its roof extended rearward over a shared passenger/cargo volume with access at the back via a third or fifth door , instead of a trunk lid...

s. 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
GM B platform
The B platform, or B-body, was General Motors' full-size rear-wheel drive automobile platform. It was closely related to the C-body and D-body and was used for coupés, sedans, and station wagons....

 predecessor despite higher prices.

The Monte Carlo was conceived by Elliot M. (Pete) Estes
Pete Estes
Elliot Marantette "Pete" Estes was an American automotive engineer and executive, most known as being the fifteenth president of General Motors, from 1974 to 1981...

, general manager of Chevrolet, and Chevrolet's chief stylist, Dave Holls. They modeled the styling on the contemporary Cadillac Eldorado
Cadillac Eldorado
The 1953 Eldorado was a special-bodied, low-production convertible . It was the production version of the 1952 El Dorado "Golden Anniversary" concept car, and borrowed bumper bullets from the 1951 GM Le Sabre show car...

, although much of the body and structure were shared with the Chevrolet Chevelle
Chevrolet Chevelle
The Chevrolet Chevelle is a mid-sized automobile produced by the Chevrolet division of General Motors in three generations for the 1964 through 1977 model years. Part of the GM A-Body platform, the Chevelle was one of Chevrolet's most successful nameplates. Body styles include coupes, sedans,...

 (firewall, windshield, decklid, and rear window were the same). New exterior styling featured concealed windshield wipers. A light monitoring system was optional.

A mid-1990s article in the magazine Chevrolet High Performance stated that the first generation Monte Carlo was known to Chevrolet management under the working name Concours (a usual practice was that all Chevrolet model development names 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
Oldsmobile 98
The Oldsmobile 98 was a full-size automobile and the flagship model of the Oldsmobile division of General Motors. The name first appeared in 1941 and was used again after American consumer automobile production resumed post-World War II...

 prior to the use of the GM G platform with at least one photo showing the pull-up door handles that would be introduced on the 1970½ Camaro and 1971 Vega
Chevrolet Vega
The Chevrolet Vega is a subcompact, two-door automobile that was produced by the Chevrolet division of General Motors for the 1971-1977 model years. Named after the star Vega, the car was powered by a lightweight aluminum-block inline four-cylinder engine...

 and full-sized Chevys, but not appear on Monte Carlos until the second-generation model debuted in 1973.

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 CID (5.7 L) Chevrolet "Turbo-Fire" small-block V8
Chevrolet Small-Block engine
The Chevrolet small-block engine is a series of automobile V8 engines built by the Chevrolet Division of General Motors using the same basic small engine block...

 with a two-barrel carburetor
Carburetor
A carburetor , carburettor, or carburetter is a device that blends air and fuel for an internal combustion engine. It is sometimes shortened to carb in North America and the United Kingdom....

, rated at 250 hp (186 kW) (gross) at 4500 rpm and 345 ft•lbf (468 N•m) of torque at 2800 rpm, mated to a column-mounted 3-speed Synchro-Mesh manual transmission. Front disc brake
Disc brake
The disc brake or disk brake is a device for slowing or stopping the rotation of a wheel while it is in motion.A brake disc is usually made of cast iron, but may in some cases be made of composites such as reinforced carbon–carbon or ceramic matrix composites. This is connected to the wheel and/or...

s 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
Elm
Elms are deciduous and semi-deciduous trees comprising the genus Ulmus in the plant family Ulmaceae. The dozens of species are found in temperate and tropical-montane regions of North America and Eurasia, ranging southward into Indonesia. Elms are components of many kinds of natural forests...

 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
Chevrolet Chevelle
The Chevrolet Chevelle is a mid-sized automobile produced by the Chevrolet division of General Motors in three generations for the 1964 through 1977 model years. Part of the GM A-Body platform, the Chevelle was one of Chevrolet's most successful nameplates. Body styles include coupes, sedans,...

.

Various options were available. A two-speed Powerglide
Powerglide
The Powerglide is a two-speed automatic transmission designed by General Motors. It was available primarily on Chevrolet from January, 1950 through 1973, although some Pontiac models also used this automatic transmission, extensively on models produced for the Canadian market with Chevrolet...

 automatic transmission
Automatic transmission
An automatic transmission is one type of motor vehicle transmission that can automatically change gear ratios as the vehicle moves, freeing the driver from having to shift gears manually...

 (on 350 CID engines only), three-speed Turbo-Hydramatic
Turbo-Hydramatic
Turbo-Hydramatic is the registered tradename of a family of automatic transmissions developed and produced by General Motors. These transmissions mate a three-element torque converter to a Simpson planetary geartrain, providing three forward speeds plus reverse.The Turbo-Hydramatic series was...

, 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 CID small block V8, rated at 300 hp (224 kW) at 4800 rpm and 380 ft•lbf (515 N•m) at 3200 rpm, the Turbo-Fire 400 (400 CID/6.5 L) with a two-barrel carburetor, rated at 265 hp (198 kW) at 4800 rpm and 400 ft•lbf (542 N•m) at 3800 rpm, and the Turbo-Jet 400 (402 CID/6.6 L) with a four-barrel carburetor, rated at 330 hp (246 kW) at 4800 rpm and 410 ft•lbf (515 N•m) at 3200 rpm). Note that the two Chevrolet 400 CID V8s offered this year were actually two different designs. The two-barrel carbureted Turbo-Fire 400 was a Small Block Chevrolet V8 engine, similar, but very different internally, to the 350, while the Turbo-Jet 400 was a slightly enlarged version of the 396 CID big block V8 and had an actual displacement of 402 CID.

The most sporty and powerful option was the Monte Carlo SS 454 package. Priced at $420, it included a standard Turbo-Jet 454
Chevrolet Big-Block engine
The Chevrolet big block is a series of large displacement V8 engines that were developed in the USA during the 1950s and 1960s. As American automobiles grew in size and weight following the Second World War the engines powering them had to keep pace...

 of 454 CID (7.4 L) with a four-barrel carburetor, rated at 360 hp (269 kW) at 4800 rpm and 500 ft•lbf (678 N•m) of torque at 3500 rpm. It also included heavy-duty suspension
Suspension (vehicle)
Suspension is the term given to the system of springs, shock absorbers and linkages that connects a vehicle to its wheels. Suspension systems serve a dual purpose — contributing to the car's roadholding/handling and braking for good active safety and driving pleasure, and keeping vehicle occupants...

, 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 September 18, 1969 limited overall model-year sales to 159,341; short of the projected 185,000. During those early months, Monte Carlos were in short supply, with full-scale production not happening until February 1970, leaving many would-be buyers 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 being ordered with many extra-cost options), making it a very profitable model for Chevrolet and its dealership networks. SS 454s, however, did not sell so well in 1970, with only 3,823 of the 1970 Monte Carlos being the most sporty and powerful model in the range.

1971

The '71 year saw only modest styling changes. Inside, the SS model got new "European symbol knobs", and a four-spoke steering wheel
Steering wheel
A steering wheel is a type of steering control in vehicles and vessels ....

 became optional. 1971 Monte Carlo also saw the addition of a stand-up hood ornament. Mechanically, it was largely unchanged, although the small-block Turbo-Fire 400 two-barrel engine was dropped. Other engines had compression ratio
Compression ratio
The 'compression ratio' of an internal-combustion engine or external combustion engine is a value that represents the ratio of the volume of its combustion chamber from its largest capacity to its smallest capacity...

s 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 CID (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. This increase in horsepower was a result of the 454 engine using the more aggressive camshaft from the 390 hp 454 used in the 1970 Chevrolet Corvette and full-sized sedans.

Chevrolet listed both gross and SAE net horsepower figures in 1971 with the impending change to SAE net ratings in 1972. The ratings compared as follows:
Engine Carburetor Gross HP Net HP
Turbo-Fire 350 CID V8 2-bbl 245 hp 165 hp
Turbo-Fire 350 CID V8 4-bbl 270 hp 175 hp
Turbo-Jet 400 CID V8 4-bbl 300 hp 260 hp
Turbo-Jet 454 CID V8 4-bbl 365 hp 285 hp


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
Camshaft
A camshaft is a shaft to which a cam is fastened or of which a cam forms an integral part.-History:An early cam was built into Hellenistic water-driven automata from the 3rd century BC. The camshaft was later described in Iraq by Al-Jazari in 1206. He employed it as part of his automata,...

, previously found in the 1970 Chevelle SS 454 (where it was rated at 450 hp); 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. However, there has never been a documented case of such a combination. Chevrolet records indicate that the factory only installed the LS-6 installations in Corvettes that year.

The SS 454 package would be discontinued after this year following production of only 1,919 units, but the 454 CID V8 engine would remain optional in Monte Carlos through 1975. The reason given for discontinuing the SS 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 because Ford
Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company is an American multinational automaker based in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. The automaker was founded by Henry Ford and incorporated on June 16, 1903. In addition to the Ford and Lincoln brands, Ford also owns a small stake in Mazda in Japan and Aston Martin in the UK...

 and Chrysler were ending their factory-backed racing support due to declining muscle car 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 in (2,946.4 mm) 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 1971-1989.

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 January 1, 1971. Model-year production ended at 128,600 including the 1,919 SS models. AM/FM stereo radios with 8-track tape players were optional.

1972

A Cadillac
Cadillac
Cadillac is an American luxury vehicle marque owned by General Motors . Cadillac vehicles are sold in over 50 countries and territories, but mostly in North America. Cadillac is currently the second oldest American automobile manufacturer behind fellow GM marque Buick and is among the oldest...

-like egg-crate grille similar to the 1971 Chevrolet Caprice
Chevrolet Caprice
The Chevrolet Caprice is a full-sized automobile produced by the Chevrolet Division of General Motors in North America for the 1965 through 1996 model years. Full-size Chevrolet sales peaked in 1965 with over a million sold. It was the most popular American car in the sixties and early seventies....

 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 Monte Carlo Custom badging was similar to the Impala Custom.

The engines were largely unchanged, but an industry-wide switch to SAE net hp numbers led to a reduction in the rated power of all Chevrolet engines. Chevrolet did not list gross horsepower figures for 1972. Compared to 1971 figures, only the 402 and 454 had a decrease in power. The new ratings for the Monte Carlo were:
  • 350 CID (5.7L), two-barrel: 165 hp
  • 350 CID (5.7L), four-barrel: 175 hp
  • 402 CID (6.6L), four-barrel: 240 hp
  • 454 CID (7.4L), four-barrel: 270 hp


In California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

, 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 CID 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."

1973

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
Hardtop
A hardtop is a term for a rigid, rather than canvas, automobile roof. It has been used in several contexts: detachable hardtops, retractable hardtop roofs, and the so-called pillarless hardtop body style....

, but a pillared coupe with rear side opera windows and frameless door glass. Prominent styling features included dual headlights flanking an egg-crate grille with a Monte Carlo emblem in front and vertical taillights above the bumper. The front bumper was a large federally mandated 5 mph (8 km/h) bumper that was among the required 1973 federal safety standards for all passenger cars sold in the U.S. with the 5 mph (8 km/h) requirement extended to rear bumpers on 1974 models. Also new was a double-shell roof for improved noise reduction and rollover protection along with the flush-mounted pull-up exterior door handles first introduced on the 1970½ Camaro and 1971 full-sized Chevrolets and Vegas.

The separate body-on-frame
Body-on-frame
Body-on-frame is an automobile construction method. Mounting a separate body to a rigid frame that supports the drivetrain was the original method of building automobiles, and its use continues to this day. The original frames were made of wood , but steel ladder frames became common in the 1930s...

 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 Pontiac
Pontiac
Pontiac was an automobile brand that was established in 1926 as a companion make for General Motors' Oakland. Quickly overtaking its parent in popularity, it supplanted the Oakland brand entirely by 1933 and, for most of its life, became a companion make for Chevrolet. Pontiac was sold in the...

s, Oldsmobile
Oldsmobile
Oldsmobile was a brand of American automobile produced for most of its existence by General Motors. It was founded by Ransom E. Olds in 1897. In its 107-year history, it produced 35.2 million cars, including at least 14 million built at its Lansing, Michigan factory...

s and Buick
Buick
Buick is a premium brand of General Motors . Buick models are sold in the United States, Canada, Mexico, China, Taiwan, and Israel, with China being its largest market. Buick holds the distinction as the oldest active American make...

s, 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 CID (5.7 L) Turbo-Fire V8. Optional engines included a 175 (net) hp (30 kW) 350 CID V8 with a four-barrel carburetor and a four-barrel carbureted 454 CID Turbo-Jet V8 rated at 245 (net) hp (183 kW).

The 1973 Monte Carlo was named Motor Trend
Motor Trend
Motor Trend is an American automobile magazine. It first appeared in September 1949, issued by Petersen Publishing Company in Los Angeles, and bearing the tag line "The Magazine for a Motoring World". Petersen Publishing was sold to British publisher EMAP in 1998, who sold the former Petersen...

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 Cougar
Mercury Cougar
The Mercury Cougar is an automobile which was sold under the Mercury brand of the Ford Motor Company's Lincoln-Mercury Division from 1967 to 2002. The name was first used in 1967 and was carried by a diverse series of cars over the next three decades. As is common with Mercury vehicles, the Cougar...

, the Ford Torino Elite
Ford Elite
The Ford Elite was an automobile produced by the Ford Motor Company for the North American market from 1974 to 1976. The Elite was based on the Ford Torino, and was a two-door coupe intended to be, in the words of Ford's advertising, a "mid-size car in the Thunderbird tradition"—a more...

, the Chrysler Cordoba
Chrysler Cordoba
The Chrysler Cordoba was an intermediate personal luxury coupe sold by Chrysler Corporation in North America from 1975-1983. It was the company's first model produced specifically for the personal luxury market and the first Chrysler-branded vehicle that was less than full-size.-History:In the...

 and restyled Dodge Charger
Dodge Charger (B-body)
The Dodge Charger was a mid-size automobile produced by Dodge. The 1966-1974 Chargers were based on the Chrysler B platform. The 1975-1978 Chargers were based on the Chrysler Cordoba.-Origin of the Charger:...

, and even high-line versions of the AMC Matador
AMC Matador
The AMC Matador is a mid-size car that was built and sold by American Motors Corporation from 1971 to 1978. The Matador came in two generations: 1971 to 1973 and a major redesign from 1974 to 1978...

, which got a swoopy new coupe design for 1974.

1974

The 1974 Monte Carlo received only minor detail changes from its 1973 predecessor, most notably a revised egg-crate grille in the front and taller and slimmer vertical taillights in the rear, along with a relocated license plate and larger 5 mph (8 km/h) 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 CID V8, and an automatic transmission was a required option with the larger 400 and 454 CID V8s. However, a number of sources indicate that Chevrolet built virtually all 1974 Monte Carlos with the Turbo Hydra-Matic transmission.

The standard 350 CID Turbo-Fire V8 was again rated at 145 hp with two-barrel carburetor in 49 states. For Californians, the standard engine was a 350 Turbo-Fire V8 with a four-barrel carburetor rated at 160 hp that was not offered in the other 49 states. Reappearing on the Monte's option list for the first time since 1970 was a 400 CID Turbo-Fire small block V8 rated at 150 hp 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 CID Turbo-Jet big block V8 rated at 235 hp (183 kW).

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
Chrysler
Chrysler Group LLC is a multinational automaker headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, USA. Chrysler was first organized as the Chrysler Corporation in 1925....

 would introduce its entries in this field for 1975 including the Chrysler Cordoba
Chrysler Cordoba
The Chrysler Cordoba was an intermediate personal luxury coupe sold by Chrysler Corporation in North America from 1975-1983. It was the company's first model produced specifically for the personal luxury market and the first Chrysler-branded vehicle that was less than full-size.-History:In the...

 and redesigned Dodge Charger.

Interior Dimensions
What Dimension
Head room-front 37.5"
Head room-rear 37.4"
leg room-front 42.1"
leg room-rear 32.9"

1975

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. However, power ratings for all engines were decreased due to the addition of the catalytic converter. The 454 CID V8 no longer offered on California cars, leaving the 400 CID four-barrel the top engine in the Golden State. The base 350 CID two-barrel was rated at 145 hp (standard in 49 states), the 350 CID 4-barrel was rated at 155 hp (available only in California), the 400 CID 4-barrel 175 hp, and the 454 CID 4-barrel 215 hp (now equipped with single exhaust with dual exhaust as an option). A three-speed manual transmission was standard equipment with the base 350 CID V8
V8 engine
A V8 engine is a V engine with eight cylinders mounted on the crankcase in two banks of four cylinders, in most cases set at a right angle to each other but sometimes at a narrower angle, with all eight pistons driving a common crankshaft....

 used in 49 states and California-only 350 four-barrel V8. The Turbo Hydra-Matic optional and a required option for 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 plus console and floor shifter 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. A gauge that showed if one was using to much gas, a part of the "Economider" Gauge package, became optional.

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.

A 1975 Monte Carlo was featured that year in a Chevrolet TV ad with the patriotic theme of America's favorites including "Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie and Chevrolet".

1976

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 CID 2-barrel V8 became the standard engine with the 145 hp 350 2-barrel V8 and 175 hp 400 CID V8 both optional. California cars got a 165 hp 350 4-barrel as the base engine (not available in 49 states), and could be equipped with the 400 4-barrel V8
V8 engine
A V8 engine is a V engine with eight cylinders mounted on the crankcase in two banks of four cylinders, in most cases set at a right angle to each other but sometimes at a narrower angle, with all eight pistons driving a common crankshaft....

. The big-block 454 CID 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 353,272 units this year.
191,370 "S" Coupes were made.
161,902 Landau Coupes ($293 more)

1977

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 reduced to two engines for 1977. The base engine for 49 states was the 140 hp 305 CID 2-barrel V8 and the 170 hp 350 4-barrel V8 was optional (standard in California). The 400 cubic inch V8 was dropped as an engine option. The Turbo Hydra-matic transmission was 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
Chevrolet Caprice
The Chevrolet Caprice is a full-sized automobile produced by the Chevrolet Division of General Motors in North America for the 1965 through 1996 model years. Full-size Chevrolet sales peaked in 1965 with over a million sold. It was the most popular American car in the sixties and early seventies....

/Impala
Chevrolet Impala
The Chevrolet Impala is a full-size automobile built by the Chevrolet division of General Motors introduced for the 1958 model year. Deriving its name from the southern African antelope, Chevrolet's most expensive passenger model through 1965 had become the best-selling automobile in the United...

 had already been redesigned and downsized for 1977.

1978

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
Corporate Average Fuel Economy
The Corporate Average Fuel Economy are regulations in the United States, first enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1975, and intended to improve the average fuel economy of cars and light trucks sold in the US in the wake of the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo...

 requirements. The 1978 model was 700-800 lb lighter and some 15 inches shorter than the 1977 model. The 1978 model also had more interior and trunk space than the earlier 1977 model. The engines offered in previous years were dropped in favor of a standard 231 CID V6 built by Buick or an optional Chevrolet 305 CID 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
V6 engine
A V6 engine is a V engine with six cylinders mounted on the crankcase in two banks of three cylinders, usually set at either a right angle or an acute angle to each other, with all six pistons driving a common crankshaft...

, and the automatic was optional. The optional V8 and all Landau models came standard with the automatic. A four-speed manual transmission
Manual transmission
A manual transmission, also known as a manual gearbox or standard transmission is a type of transmission used in motor vehicle applications...

 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

Only minor trim changes were made to the 1979 Monte Carlo, which included a slightly redesigned grille, tail lights & front parking lights. Mechanical changes included a new Chevrolet-built 200 CID V6 (the ancestor of the Vortec 4300) as the standard engine for the base Monte Carlo in 49 states while the Buick 231 CID V6 remained standard on base models in California and all Landau models. A new 125 hp 267 CID V8 became optional and the 140 hp 305 CID V8 continued as an option but was joined by a 160 hp 235 lbfft 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
Automatic transmission
An automatic transmission is one type of motor vehicle transmission that can automatically change gear ratios as the vehicle moves, freeing the driver from having to shift gears manually...

. 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 was used by Michael Platt and Bill Matix during the 1986 FBI Miami shootout. A 1979 Monte Carlo, modified to a lowrider
Lowrider
]A lowrider is a style of car originated by Chicano communities that sits lower to the ground than most other cars. Many lowriders have their suspension systems modified so that their ride can change height at the flip of a switch...

, was also heavily featured in the 2001 movie Training Day
Training Day
Training Day is a 2001 crime drama film directed by Antoine Fuqua, written by David Ayer, starring Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke. The film follows two LAPD narcotics detectives over a 24-hour period in the gang neighborhoods of South and East Los Angeles.The film was a box office success and...

. The car was owned by the main character Detective Alonzo Harris, played by actor Denzel Washington
Denzel Washington
Denzel Hayes Washington Jr. is an American actor, screenwriter, director, and film producer. He first rose to prominence when he joined the cast of the medical drama, St. Elsewhere, playing Dr...

.

1980

The car had a mild frontal restyle, with quad headlights and amber indicators mounted beneath. The metric 200 3-speed automatic transmission became standard on all models and a new Chevrolet-built 229 CID V6 with 2-barrel Rochester carburetor replaced both the 200 CID 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 CID V6 rated at 170 hp. Other optional engines included 267 and 305 CID versions of the Chevrolet small-block V8 with up to 155 hp. There were a total of 13,839 turbo Monte Carlo's for 1980.

1981

The body was restyled with the other GM mid-size formal coupes (Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme
Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme
The Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme was a mid-size car produced by General Motors for the American market. It was always at the top of the Cutlass range. It began as a trim package, developed its own roofline, and eventually was mechanically divorced from the later, smaller Cutlasses.The Cutlass Supreme...

, Pontiac Grand Prix
Pontiac Grand Prix
Picking up where the Pontiac Ventura model left off, the Grand Prix first appeared in the Pontiac line for 1962. It was essentially a standard Pontiac Catalina coupe with minimal outside chrome trim and a sportier interior...

, Buick Regal
Buick Regal
The Buick Regal is a mid-size car introduced by General Motors for the 1973 model year. North American production ended in 2004 and began again in 2011. For the 2011 model year, Buick re-introduced the Regal to the North American market, positioned as an upscale sport sedan...

). It featured a smoother profile than the previous models and new vertical taillights similar to the 1973-1977 models. Engine offerings were carried over, including the standard 229 CID Chevrolet V6 (231 CID Buick V6 in California) an optional 267 CID V8 (not available in California), a 305 CID V8 in the base and Landau models, and a turbocharged 170 hp 231 CID Buick V6 in the Monte Carlo Turbo. There were a total of 3,027 Monte Carlo Turbos for 1981. This would make the Monte Carlo Turbo one of the rarest Monte Carlo's built, even rarer than the 1987 Monte Carlo SS Aerocoupe. The Monte Carlo Turbo appeared slightly different than other Monte Carlos that year because in addition to the turbo motor it also was equipped with a small hood scoop on the left side of the hood. It also had Turbo 3.8 badges with Chevrolet bowtie on the sides of the hood scoop, on the trunk lid, and on the right side of the dash. An automatic transmission, power steering and power front disc brakes were standard equipment. While this car was considered by some to be much better looking (and appeared more aerodynamic) than its Buick Regal, Pontiac Grand Prix, and Olds Cutlass cousins, only one team tried to make a go of it in NASCAR cup racing. While the big Monte Carlo was the dominant body style in the late 1970s, winning 30 or so races, the downsized (and cleaned-up) 1981 body would only take three checked flags in the 1981 and 1982 seasons when it was run.

1982

Only mild revisions were made on the 1982 Monte Carlo. All engines, except for the turbocharged 231 CID V6, which was discontinued along with the Monte Carlo Turbo model, were carried over from 1981. New for 1982 were the additions of a 260 CID V6 and an Oldsmobile 350 CID 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
Buick Century
Buick Century is the model name used by the Buick division of General Motors for a line of full-size performance vehicles from 1936 to 1942 and 1954 to 1958, and from 1973 to 2005 for a mid-size car....

, Chevrolet Celebrity
Chevrolet Celebrity
The Chevrolet Celebrity is a mid-size car produced by the Chevrolet Division of General Motors . The Celebrity was introduced in 1981 for the 1982 model year. The Celebrity was the best-selling car in the United States in 1986...

, Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera
Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera
The Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera is a mid-size car that was sold from 1982 through 1996 by the Oldsmobile division of General Motors.It shared the front-wheel drive A platform with the very similar Buick Century, Pontiac 6000 and Chevrolet Celebrity; both Olds and Chevy considered using the Celebrity...

 and Pontiac 6000
Pontiac 6000
The Pontiac 6000 was a mid-size car introduced by the Pontiac division of General Motors in 1981 for the 1982 model year, positioned between the smaller Phoenix and the slightly upscale Bonneville...

, the chassis designations were shuffled up. The new mid-size cars were designated as A-body
GM A platform (FWD)
The General Motors A platform was a mid-size car automobile platform designation used from 1982 to 1996. Previously the A body designation had been used for rear wheel drive mid-sized cars....

 cars, whereas the cars previously designated as A-bodies
GM A platform (RWD)
The General Motors A platform was a rear wheel drive automobile platform designation used from at least 1939 up until 1981...

 were now called G-bodies
GM G platform (RWD)
The General Motors G platform was an automobile platform designation used for mid-sized rear wheel drive cars first from 1969-1972 and again from 1982 to 1988....

. A black exterior was not offered in 1982 and also not available in 1982 for the first time in Monte Carlo history was a sportier interior option with Strato bucket seats and console, as only the standard notchback bench or optional 55/45 bench were offered this year. Weight distribution was 57% in the front and 43% in the rear.

1983

Receiving only minor updates, the '83 Monte Carlo gained a revised grille and interior trim patterns. The standard engine continued to be the 229 in³ V6, and the 165 hp 305 in³ V8 was optional. The Super Sport Package, Z65 was once again made an option in 1983. The Monte Carlo SS was reintroduced in 1983, following twelve years of being discontinued. One of the last carbureted, rear-wheel drive ‘muscle cars', the Monte Carlo SS featured European body color-coding, a new front fascia, a rear spoiler and a V8.

1984

The SS was a hit not only in the car-buying public, (starving for some power after the hefty emissions regulations of the late 1970s) but also in NASCAR competition, where it continued to be a winning body style after the 1984 season successes. Production picked up, and 112,730 sport coupes were sold as 1984 year model coupes. 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 Strato buckets also returned as an option on the regular Monte after a two-year absence). The regular Monte Carlo came standard with a 125 hp 229 CID V6 (231 CID V6 for California) and a 165 hp 305 V8 was optional. Available for the last year in a base Monte Carlo was the 350 CID 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 Turbo Hydramatic 200-R4 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 SSs. 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, 265 hp (unconfirmed) and 350 lbfft of torque (unconfirmed), and got a 4-speed manual with Hurst shifter.
Additional Information about the Mexican SS

1985

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 ("gun metal") color for the SS was dropped. A four-speed automatic overdrive transmission, the Turbo Hydramatic 200-R4, with a revised sport rear axle ratio containing 3.73:1 gears became standard on the SS. Gone for good were the 229 CID V6 and 350 CID V8 diesel engines. Introduced in place of the 229 CID V6 was a 262 CID (4.3 L) V6 (RPO LB4) that was fuel-injected with throttle-body fuel injection. The V-8's were fitted with computer controlled quadrajet carburetors.

The 1985 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, Chevy's rear-wheel-drive personal-luxury car, got more power, but for the first time since 1981, no diesel engine was offered in the Monte Carlo..

In the 1985 Chevrolet Monte Carlo base model, the previously standard 3.8 L Chevy V-6 gave way to a larger 4.3 L V-6 with throttle-body fuel injection. That brought along 20 extra horsepower, for a new total of 130.

The optional 5.0 L V8 likewise gained some ponies, via a jump in compression ratio. It jumped from 150 horsepower to 165. The High Output 5.0 L V8 in the 1985 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS remained at 180 horsepower. 10.5" front disc brakes were standard.ref>

The V-6 and base V8 could be backed by either a three- or four-speed automatic transmission, but the H.O. V8 in the SS came only with the four-speed this year.
Though the base coupe carried on visually unchanged, the SS was a different story. Previously offered only in white or dark blue metallic, color choices were expanded to include silver, maroon, and black. "Removable glass roof panels" (T-tops) came on board as a midyear option.ref>

Despite its aging design, nearly 120,000 Monte Carlos found eager buyers in 1985. Though the total was down somewhat from 1984, the SS model saw sales climb from 24,050 to 35,484, a sure sign that performance was making a comeback. The 1985 Monte Carlo SS also came stock with a 35 millimeter sway bar which added extra support for the high performance rear end.

Color choices for the 1985 Chevy Monte Carlo SS expanded from two to five, including this maroon hue.

1986

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 Chevrolet Corvette
Chevrolet Corvette
The Chevrolet Corvette is a sports car by the Chevrolet division of General Motors that has been produced in six generations. The first model, a convertible, was designed by Harley Earl and introduced at the GM Motorama in 1953 as a concept show car. Myron Scott is credited for naming the car after...

 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 glass composite headlamp housing, versus the smaller sealed beam 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 trunk lid sporting a spoiler that lay more flat than previous Super Sports. Only 200 Aerocoupes were sold to the public, which happened to be the exact number NASCAR
NASCAR
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing is a family-owned and -operated business venture that sanctions and governs multiple auto racing sports events. It was founded by Bill France Sr. in 1947–48. As of 2009, the CEO for the company is Brian France, grandson of the late Bill France Sr...

 officials required for road model features to be incorporated into the racing cars. 1986 Monte Carlo SS Aerocoupe Registry & Information

1987

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

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$19,320. Appearance and mechanicals were similar to the 1987 model. 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
Chevrolet Lumina
The North American Chevrolet Lumina sedan , coupe and minivan were first introduced in 1989 for the 1990 model year as a new range of vehicles from the Chevrolet brand of General Motors to replace the Chevrolet Camaro, Chevrolet Celebrity sedan, and the Monte Carlo coupe. The Lumina was an answer...

 and race that body style in NASCAR
NASCAR
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing is a family-owned and -operated business venture that sanctions and governs multiple auto racing sports events. It was founded by Bill France Sr. in 1947–48. As of 2009, the CEO for the company is Brian France, grandson of the late Bill France Sr...

. The new Lumina body style was much more aerodynamic and negated the need for a "sleeker" version of the Monte Carlo SS. The Lumina coupe was introduced as a 1990 model to replace the Monte Carlo. 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.

1995–1999

For the 1995 model year, the mid-size Lumina
Chevrolet Lumina
The North American Chevrolet Lumina sedan , coupe and minivan were first introduced in 1989 for the 1990 model year as a new range of vehicles from the Chevrolet brand of General Motors to replace the Chevrolet Camaro, Chevrolet Celebrity sedan, and the Monte Carlo coupe. The Lumina was an answer...

 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
GM W platform
The W-body is an automobile platform from General Motors which underpins mid-size cars with front-wheel drive. The platform, originally code named GM10, began in 1982 under Chairman Roger B. Smith and debuted in 1988 with the Pontiac Grand Prix, the Buick Regal, and the Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme...

 chassis shared with the Lumina, Pontiac Grand Prix, Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, Oldsmobile Intrigue
Oldsmobile Intrigue
The Oldsmobile Intrigue was a mid-size sedan manufactured from 1998 through 2002 by the Oldsmobile division of General Motors. The Intrigue's design cues were first seen in 1995 with the Oldsmobile Antares concept car...

, Buick Century
Buick Century
Buick Century is the model name used by the Buick division of General Motors for a line of full-size performance vehicles from 1936 to 1942 and 1954 to 1958, and from 1973 to 2005 for a mid-size car....

 and Buick Regal, and by its nature was the first front-wheel drive
Front-wheel drive
Front-wheel drive is a form of engine/transmission layout used in motor vehicles, where the engine drives the front wheels only. Most modern front-wheel drive vehicles feature a transverse engine, rather than the conventional longitudinal engine arrangement generally found in rear-wheel drive and...

 Monte Carlo. In 1995, the LS was $16,770 and the Z34 was $18,970. All 1995-2007 Monte Carlos were built in Oshawa, Ontario
Oshawa, Ontario
Oshawa is a city in Ontario, Canada, on the Lake Ontario shoreline. It lies in Southern Ontario approximately 60 kilometres east of downtown Toronto. It is commonly viewed as the eastern anchor of both the Greater Toronto Area and the Golden Horseshoe. It is now commonly referred to as the most...

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

. Unlike Monte Carlos of previous years, the distinctive bulges to the front fenders and rear quarter panels were gone.

A special run of 400 1995 Z34s were made called the Monte Carlo Brickyard 400 Pace Car. The $2195 option included Interior Ornamentation, Embroidered Leather 45/55 Seating with Full Floor Console, an Aero Wing Spoiler, and an Accent Stripe Package.
For its four year run, the Monte Carlo was available in two trims, the LS and the Z34. Appearances were largely identical between the two models. Styling changes consisted mainly of the special red-colored badging on the Z34, the real difference being under the hood. LS models were powered by the 3.1 L 3100 V6 putting out 160 hp at 5000 rpm (119 kW) and 185 ft•lbf (251 N•m) while Z34's featured 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 (In 1998, the 3.4 L was replaced with the 3800 Series II, a simpler engine).

All Z34 models came with 16-inch alloy wheels, optional on LS models in place of the standard 15-inch steel wheels with bolt-on wheel covers. 1998–1999 Z34 models received redesigned 16-inch wheels, though the older style alloys remained on the LS.

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.

This generation of the Monte Carlo was the last 2-door vehicle featuring 6-passenger seating, although bucket seats were available as an option with a floor mounted shifter.

Production totals

Year Total Z34 LS
1995 100,938 39,628 61,310
1996 65,447 15,384 30,063
1997 70,929 11,756 59,173
1998 69,390 20,688 48,702
1999 69,779 16,031 53,748
Total production 376,483 103,487 252,996

Models

Model Years Engine Power Torque
LS 1995–1999 3.1 L 3100 V6 160 hp (119 kW) 185 ft•lbf (251 N•m)
Z34 1995 3.4 L LQ1 DOHC V6 210 hp (157 kW) 215 ft•lbf (291 N•m)
1996–1997 215 hp (160 kW) 220 ft•lbf (298 N•m)
1998–1999 3.8 L L36 3800 V6 200 hp (149 kW) 225 ft•lbf (305 N•m)

2000–2005

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 tail lamps, and a stylized rear bumper. Another classic trait for 2000 was the return of the "Knight" badging, as well as a full gauge cluster, not seen on the Monte Carlo since 1988. Back again was the Super Sport moniker, replacing the Z34 designation of the Fifth Generation, which was a Lumina Coupe legacy. At the request of racing teams, Chevrolet stylists added a slight "hump" on the rear trunk - similar to, although smaller than, a Lincoln Mark. It was a distinct trait that stayed with Monte Carlo until its demise, even though later in the generation every trim level would get a spoiler that all but masked the hump. From the NASCAR circuit came the aerodynamic styling and duck tail spoiler.

Specialty Nameplates

Chevrolet released several models inspired by current NASCAR drivers at the time:
The first model released was the 2002 Dale Earnhardt “Intimidator Edition.” This car had one color scheme; a black body with galaxy silver rocker panels and front and rear air dams. A thin red stripe above the silver ground effects was also included. Just behind the rear side windows, the Dale Number 3 logo was placed. The car also featured silver “Intimidator” SS badges on the right side of the trunk and standard Monte Carlo SS badges the bottom of the vehicle, just in front of the rear tires. An Intimidator badge with the number 3 also appeared on the dash, and Earnhardt’s signature appeared on the gauge cluster. This edition also came with 5 spoke, diamond cut wheels and received GMs L36 3800 V6 engine.

In 2003, the Jeff Gordon edition was released. The vehicle came with a superior blue body and silver ground effects, just like the Intimidator Edition; however, the Jeff Gordon edition also received white ghost flames on the body. It featured the number 24 behind the rear side windows. A Jeff Gordon signature was placed on the right side of the trunk and inside the car received a Jeff Gordon badge on the dash board and a two-tone gray a black leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. It featured the 5 spoke, diamond cut wheels and received GMs L36 3800 V6 engine.

In 2004 the Dale Jr. Edition came out, it was red in color and sported a black high sport kit. The number 8, with an “E” stripe design carried from the doors to the rear bumper. The 5 spoke diamond cut wheels featured a black stripe through each spoke and Dale Jr.’s signature appeared on the right side of the trunk lid. On the sides, the vehicle received Monte Carlo SS badges. Inside on the dash a #8 badge appeared and Dale Jr.’s signature on the cluster. This edition also got #8 floor mats and headrests. This was also the first nameplate car to receive GMs L67 Supercharged 3800 V6 engine.

To compete, the Intimidator Edition was re-released in 2004, this time, however the vehicle featured “Intimidator” badges on the trunk lid and both side panels of the vehicle. The car was all black in color, received the 5 spoke, diamond cut wheels and this time received GMs L67 Supercharged 3800 V6 engine.

2005 marked the next and final nameplate, the Tony Stewart edition. It was all black, but featured a white/orange line that thickened as it reached the back of the vehicle and contained number 20 just before the rear tires. Tony Stewart’s signature also appeared behind the rear windows on both sides. The Chevy bowtie on the trunk was white on this edition and another was painted on the front of the hood. The Monte Carlo badge was removed and instead replaced by the black Tony Stewart grille. The wheels were the same design as the Dale Jr. Edition, except the bowtie on the center cap was white this time. This edition also received GMs L67 Supercharged 3800 V6 engine.

Pace Cars

To keep with the popularity of the Monte Carlo in NASCAR, GM released several Monte Carlos branded as “Pace Cars.” Each year featured a different color and all cars were limited to production numbers, however; all cars did have some things in common. All pace cars received:
Galaxy Silver ground effects, Checkered Flagging on fenders & doors, TAZ decals on quarter panels and trunk lid behind the Monte Carlo script. It also has a "Race Inspired" rear spoiler that resembles the look of the NASCAR spoiler, Limited Edition Plaque on trunk lid, Monte Carlo script on the dash is replaced with "PACE CAR", Gauge cluster displays "LIMITED EDITION" below the speedometer where it would say "Apply Brake To Shift From Park," 16-inch Diamond-Cut Cast-Aluminum Wheels, Door Opening Kick Plates Featuring the Monte Carlo Nameplate, and Stainless-Steel Dual Exhaust Tips. Interiors had two tone leather to match exterior and Chevy embroidered headrests. All cars also came with GMs L36 3800 V6 engine.
2000 Pace Car:
Production limited to 2,222 cars.
Sports two-tone leather Black and Red.
Exterior: Torch Red with Galaxy Silver ground effects.

2001 Pace Car:
Production limited to 1,300 cars.
Sports two-tone leather Black and Silver.
Exterior: Black with Galaxy Silver ground effects.

2002 Pace Car:
Production limited to 1,150 cars.
Sports two-tone leather Black and Yellow.
Exterior: Competition Yellow with Galaxy Silver ground effects.

2003 Pace Car:
Production limited to 1,401 cars.
Sports two-tone leather Black and Blue.
Exterior: Superior Blue with Galaxy Silver ground effects.

2006–2007

The 2006 Monte Carlo (and the companion Impala
Chevrolet Impala
The Chevrolet Impala is a full-size automobile built by the Chevrolet division of General Motors introduced for the 1958 model year. Deriving its name from the southern African antelope, Chevrolet's most expensive passenger model through 1965 had become the best-selling automobile in the United...

 sedan) was introduced at the 2005 Los Angeles Auto Show. The base engine was a 3.5 L V6 producing 210 hp (156 kW). The most notable news, though, was the SS model's use of the Generation IV small-block
GM LS engine
The GM LS engine family is an engine design intended as the only V-8 engine used in General Motors' line of rear-wheel-drive cars and trucks. The LS series was a "clean sheet" design with little in common with the classic Chevrolet small block V8...

 V8 — the first V8 since the 1988 model. The 5.3 L V8 produced 303 hp (226 kW), which raised some eyebrows considering it was being placed in a front wheel drive car. The interior for 2006 was mildly redesigned.

The Monte Carlo ceased production at Oshawa Car Assembly
Oshawa Car Assembly
Oshawa Car Assembly is a major manufacturing facility in the city of Oshawa, Ontario, Canada building various automobiles for General Motors Canada. The factory is one of the largest auto plants in the world and has won a number of awards...

 Plant #1 on June 19, 2007, following an announcement in February 2007 of its demise. General Motors has released this statement: On Tuesday, June 19, 2007, the last two 2007 Chevrolet Monte Carlo models rolled off the line at the Oshawa Assembly Plant. The last two models were identical "SS" models with Precision Red exterior paint; Silver Rally Stripes; and Ebony Nuance leather interior. The two models features the "SS" 5.3 L V8 Engine with its "best in class" rated 303 hp; 18" polished aluminum wheels; heated exterior mirrors; and AM/FM/CD and XM Radio"

The final Monte Carlo off the production line was retained by GM for their Heritage Center collection. The second-to-last Monte off the line, the last "saleable" unit, was auctioned off on August 15, at Manheim's Statesville Auto Auction in Statesville, North Carolina
Statesville, North Carolina
Statesville is a city located in Iredell County, North Carolina, United States and was named an All-America City in 1997 and 2009. The population was 24,633 at the 2010 census...

. The winning bid went to Fred Simon, owner of Simon Chevrolet in Woonsocket, RI where it is on display on the dealership floor. This unit was at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, located in Speedway, Indiana in the United States, is the home of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race and the Brickyard 400....

 over the weekend of July 27–29 for the 2007 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard
Allstate 400 at the Brickyard
The Brickyard 400 is an annual 400-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup points race held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana. The event, when first held in 1994, marked the first race other than the Indianapolis 500 to be held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway since 1916...

. While there, it was signed by all the current Team Chevrolet drivers who were active in the NASCAR
NASCAR
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing is a family-owned and -operated business venture that sanctions and governs multiple auto racing sports events. It was founded by Bill France Sr. in 1947–48. As of 2009, the CEO for the company is Brian France, grandson of the late Bill France Sr...

 Sprint Cup Series.

Models

Model Years Engine Power Torque Transmission
LS 2000–2005 3.4 L LA1 V6 180 hp (134 kW) 205 ft•lbf (278 N•m) 4T65e
SS 2000–2004 3.8 L L36 V6 200 hp (149 kW) 225 ft•lbf (305 N•m) 4T65e
SS Supercharged 2004 3.8 L L67 supercharged V6 240 hp (179 kW) 280 ft•lbf (380 N•m) 4T65e-hd
LT 2005 3.8 L L36 V6 200 hp (149 kW) 225 ft•lbf (305 N•m) 4T65e
SS 2005 3.8 L L67 supercharged V6 240 hp (179 kW) 280 ft•lbf (380 N•m) 4T65e-hd
LS-LT 2006–2007 3.5 L LZE V6 211 hp SAE (157 kW) 214 ft•lb (290 N•m) 4T65e
LT-LTZ 2006 only
3.9 L LZ9 V6 (2006 only) 240 hp SAE (179 kW) 245 ft•lb (332 N•m) 4T65e
SS 2006–2007
5.3 L LS4 V8 303 hp SAE (226 kW) 323 ft•lb (438 N•m) 4T65e-hd


Trim levels initially consisted of the LS, and SS, the latter being the first front-wheel drive SS in the Chevrolet lineup. The LS used a 3.4 L OHV V6, while the SS 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 relabeled as LT.

The LTZ model was available with the 3.9 L engine in 2006. For 2007 the LTZ model was dropped along with the engine in favor of utilizing the Flex Fuel 3.5 L as the exclusive engine for non-SS models.

Production totals

Year Units
2000 64,347
2001 71,268
2002 70,781
2003 71,129
2004 64,771
2005 37,143
2006 32,567
2007 10,889
Total production 422,895

The future of the Monte Carlo

While it was speculated that General Motors was considering a rear wheel drive replacement for the Monte Carlo, GM product development chief Bob Lutz later confirmed that the North American Zeta
GM Zeta platform
Zeta was the original name for General Motors' full-size rear-wheel drive automobile platform. The architecture was engineered by Holden of Australia and was most recently referred to as the "Global RWD Architecture". The GM Zeta replaced the Australian V-body and was considered as the replacement...

 program was not being expanded.

The Chevrolet Camaro
Chevrolet Camaro
The Chevrolet Camaro is an automobile manufactured by General Motors under the Chevrolet brand, classified as a pony car and some versions also as a muscle car. It went on sale on September 29, 1966, for the 1967 model year and was designed as a competing model to the Ford Mustang...

 filled the coupe position in Chevrolet's lineup, beginning in the 2010 model year.

NASCAR

From 1972 until the cars end of production, the Monte Carlo was a solid success in NASCAR
NASCAR
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing is a family-owned and -operated business venture that sanctions and governs multiple auto racing sports events. It was founded by Bill France Sr. in 1947–48. As of 2009, the CEO for the company is Brian France, grandson of the late Bill France Sr...

 racing. The big (1973–1977) bodied cars were the dominant body style through the years until 1980, when NASCAR mandated the move to the smaller (110" wheel-base) cars being built by Detroit. The 1981 and 82 stock (referred to as the "flat-nose") Monte Carlo was raced by very few teams and as such only won three races in those years. Starting in 1983 with the addition of the SS nose, the Monte Carlo SS became the dominant body style in NASCAR through the rest of the decade when the car went out of production. The car came back to racing in 1995 when Chevy brought the car back into production and it sparked a mild bit of controversy as NASCAR allowed the car to have wider rear fenders, and as such deviated from factory sheetmetal, that up until that time the race spec cars had to use. The car brought Chevy repeated NASCAR Manufacturers Cup awards until it again was discontinued from production, and was replaced by the Impala
Chevrolet Impala
The Chevrolet Impala is a full-size automobile built by the Chevrolet division of General Motors introduced for the 1958 model year. Deriving its name from the southern African antelope, Chevrolet's most expensive passenger model through 1965 had become the best-selling automobile in the United...

for racing.
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