Wednesday, November 25, 2009

1977 Chevrolet Monza Spyder V8 - Craigslist Find

Remember the Chevy Monza? This was GM's answer to the Mustang II. As that, it wasn't a bad car. GM had wisely chosen not to downsize the Camaro and Firebird but, probably remembering how caught off guard they were by the success of the original Mustang, hedged its bet with these cars.

Like the Mustang II, which was based on the Pinto platform, the Monza was based on an economy car. In its case it was the Chevy Vega. In typical GM badge-engineering fashion, each division of GM (except Cadillac and GMC) got a version of this car. The Monza, the Buick Skyhawk, Oldsmobile Starfire and Pontiac Sunbird were all essentially the same car with minor trim changes and a few different engine options.

The Monza was initially available as a "2+2" hatchback (like this one). A more formal coupe was introduced a few months later and in 1978 a station wagon became available (essentially a re-badged Vega wagon).

The Monza engine options were an inline 4 (originally the infamous aluminum Vega engine and later GM's tried and true "Iron Duke"), a V6 and, like this car, a V8. (GM had originally planned to introduce its version of a rotary engine in the Monza. However, GM ran into many of the same problems NSU had with the rotary engine and the idea was scrapped.)

This is the "Spyder" edition of the Monza. Like the name Monza, the Spyder name had been used before by GM on the Corvair. (Throughout Europe, the "Spyder" or "Spider" name is usually reserved for a 2 seat roadster. GM used it to represent the high performance versions of the Corvair and Monza.) It came with an upgraded interior, a sportier suspension and special graphics.

If you desire a Monza, the V8 is the way to go. Don't expect face flattening acceleration, it only puts out 140 HP in stock form, but it's far more entertaining than the 4 or the 6.

Like Mustang II, these cars are getting harder to find. The 4 cylinder and 6 cylinder cars were considered disposable and many of the V8s found their way into the hands of kids who beat the hell out of them.

Looking back on it now, the Monza 2+2 hatchback was not a bad looking car, especially when viewed from the rear and side. Unlike the Mustang II, which Ford had to make look like a Mustang, the Monza was a clean sheet of paper design. GM stole a few design cues from Ferrari and the car has basically aged well.

If you're looking for 1970s GM muscle and don't want to go the Camaro / Firebird route, this car could be a good choice.It's not a high performance machine, but being a relatively small car with a V8 makes it fun to drive (especially if you do a few mods to the V8).

Located in Rogers, AR, this car appears to be in good condition. Monzas rusted like almost all 1970s cars did and the seller mentions that there are a few "spots" on the floorboards. It was painted 2 years ago, so a thorough check of the body is in order to make sure there is nothing evil underneath the shiny paint and new graphics.

Click here to see the Craigslist listing.

5 comments:

Max Power said...

I can still remember seeing a commercial for the then new Monza back in the mid 70's when I was a kid. To me, it looked so futuristic, so sporty, so amazing! Heck, I'll still say it now, there are VERY few cars at any price range from the mid 70's that look as fresh as the Monza. I never understood how Chevrolet who got the styling right on, then went on to make it horrible with the 'Town Coupe' and 'Town Hatchback' with a different and boring two round head light front end.

IM AWEASOME said...

I love that car!! It is SO awesome!!

Anonymous said...

I have a V-8 Monza (with a 4 speed) I bought in 1988. It still runs, but parts are getting hard to find. Especially 13in tires. Still its a fun little car to drive

Anonymous said...

I was wondering if you are gona put your 1977 chevy mazda spider up for sale. And if you are how much would you be asking for it.

Heather said...

I recently bought my 1977 Chevy Monza Spyder. I was always a Monte Carlo girl but now I am in love with how quick and well my little Spyder handles. It's definitely a sleeper car ;-)