350 V8! 1975 Chevrolet Monza Towne Coupe

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In the late-1970s, Chevy’s Monza was largely a Vega wearing new clothing. But it was packaged as a more upscale offering than its predecessor and – in 1975 alone – it was offered with a V8 engine! This ’75 Monza Town Coupe (not the fastback) was sold in California, so it has a 350 cubic inch motor under the hood. The car is said to run well but has some cosmetic issues including a dented rear quarter panel. Located in San Ysidro, California, this Bow-Tie survivor is available here on craigslist for $5,000. Pat L. continues to deliver the tips!

For three years, the Monza and Vega were both in Chevy’s sales literature. Standard fare in the 1975 Monza was a 2.3-liter 4-banger, but Monza buyers could get something that Vega customers could not – a V8 powerplant. In 49 states, it would be 262 CI at 110 hp, but due to Left Coast emissions restrictions, the 350 was a cleaner choice. The uplift was only 15 hp, but that came with a price (and some scraped knuckles) when it came to servicing the car. The engine bay was so crowded with the 350 that you couldn’t change the spark plugs without undoing the motor mounts.

Other GM divisions had their versions of the Monza. I owned a Pontiac Sunbird in the fastback body style, and it was an okay car (by the standards of the day). But mine had the “Iron Duke” inline-4 and it was rock solid. These rear-wheel-drive subcompacts were retired in 1980, ushering in the era of the front-wheel-drive GM econocar (in the case of Chevy, it was called the Cavalier).

This Monza looks like a survivor with 98,000 miles. We’re told the paint is original, but the body is dinged in several places and once you fix the driver’s side quarter panel, you’ll probably want to repaint the whole car. The vinyl top is said to be in great condition, and – except for the driver’s seat – the interior may be as well. I’m not sure if this auto is as “ultra rare” as the seller says, but then again, I don’t recall the last time I saw one (I sold my Sunbird in 1986). With a V8 engine, this little car should be a surprise at Cars & Coffee.

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Comments

  1. duaney

    Gonna need a quarter panel, expensive. That’s a fable that you have to unbolt motor mounts to change plugs. I own several of these.

    Like 19
    • Tracy

      Good luck finding ANOTHER Monza much less a quarter panel!

      Like 8
      • Damon

        A frame rack could pull most of that out. Then a little finesse and may be an English wheel to replace any unrepairable areas.

        Like 11
  2. DW

    Chinsy build quality and only 150 hp on tap, but otherwise a cute little car that with the right modifications, could be a rocketship on the cheap.

    Like 10
    • JoeNYWF64

      I would imagine the rear axle is not as beefy here as it would be in any larger GM car with a 350. Is it at least more beefy than the one used for a 4 cyl Monza? Or the same one?!
      Headliner in good shape – may be a more modern type design used in ’75 on some GM cars, but not all?

      Like 3
      • Alec

        It’s a 26 spline 7.5″ with a 2.29 ratio

        Like 0
    • Adam H

      With Hooker Super-Comp headers and straight plug heads, 55 minutes with no broken knuckles by unbolting the motor mounts and jacking it up by the balancer. A long time ago that I miss dearly.

      Like 8
  3. Melton Mooney

    Huh…I thought these had become extinct in the universe. I had one similar; white over white with red insides. 350, 2bbl. auto. I wonder if the black painted rear panel denoted a 350 car, since mine also had that, but most did not. In fact I don’t remember ever seeing another one like that back in the day.
    I really liked that little car. It wasn’t very fast, but it was a lot faster than anyone expected it to be.

    Like 12
  4. bone

    It still has the unleaded fuel only sticker on the quarter panel, so I’d say the paint is original – was the goodwrench 350 an engine they put in these cars stock, or the replacement ?

    Like 7
    • Alec

      The Goodwrench is a replacement but 3400 CA cars did get a 350

      Like 2
  5. AK

    Good wrench engines were replacement engines.

    Like 15
    • Robert West

      I never knew these existed in factory V8 trim! I’ve seen several converted to V8 by the owner, but this one is new to me. I looks like it would be a reasonably light car but Chevrolet was good at making cars heavier than they looked.

      Like 3
      • Purple sky

        IDK about 1975 but 1976-77 were available with 305’s…

        Like 5
    • Matthew Wiemer

      $5,000???? More like $1,500 to $2,000. Even at that if you fixed the dents and painted it and im sure a lot of other maintenance it requires it will never be worth much more than $5,000!

      Like 14
  6. Jeff

    Neat car. However the ad is a little rosy on the description. It says: “Car has cosmetic damage on the Diver side quarter”.

    Uhh, more like: “Car has significant damage on the Driver’s side quarter, plus dents and cosmetic damage on the front header panel, grill, front valence/spoiler, R front fender, L front fender, and R quarter. Doors are a little scraped up too, and the hood does not fit right across the front. But hey, the decklid and tail panel are nice!”

    Like 15
  7. CCFisher

    1975 was the only year for the 350, but a 305 was available from ’76-’79. Chevy’s wheezy 262 V9 was also available in ’75 and ’76.

    Like 8
    • Rw

      CC right or left bank have that extra cylinder? Might make difference how it come out of the hole.

      Like 5
      • Big C

        I loved the sound of those Chevy V-9’s at full song.

        Like 8
  8. Bud Lee

    Left Coast,👍 LOL!

    Like 5
  9. Uncle Leo

    Had a ’75 that my neighbor’s ex brought back from California for her. It had the 350 w/ a 4speed. My other neighbor bought from her,he was a mechanic and he played around with it before I got it. I changed out the boring round head lights for a Pontiac Sunbird header panel and square headlights. Thought it was a nicer look. Shifter was a bit hinkey,but overall,a really fun car to drive.

    Like 8
    • tom h

      Had to have been converted it to a 4 speed as only an automatic was produced.

      Like 2
      • srintimidator3Member

        I owned a 75 Monza with the fastback in white with red interior, had the 262 V8 with a 4 speed. Replaced cam shaft & upgraded exhaust to give it a little more go go, not fast but fun to drive! Bought from original owner so I know the 4 speed was factory equipped.

        Like 7
  10. Beauwayne5000

    Swap in a 4boltmain LS1 350 & vette Trans with a beefy old school 12bolt rear outta a junk Nova or K5 Blazer cut the fenders & weld on huge Arches for oversized meats.
    Sniper EFI + a 150 Nos shot to a supercharger 500-650hp easy & street able.
    Paint it black & black interior
    Road Warrior Vulcan cannon extra
    My way of saying it’s junk.
    Sure you can dress up a pig but it’s still just a pig with lipstick on

    Like 6
    • Rw

      What’s a Vette trans???

      Like 6
      • Adam H

        With Hooker Super-Comp headers and straight plug heads, 55 minutes with no broken knuckles by unbolting the motor mounts and jacking it up by the balancer. A long time ago that I miss dearly.

        BTW, “Vette” trans is like a camaro trans but different.

        LOL

        Like 4
  11. Zen

    350 w/ A/C and tilt wheel, a neat little car. Probably the only one left. It’s rare because no one wanted it. I’d bet there’s someone out there who’d pay for that tilt steering column.

    Like 4
    • Alec

      Every 350 car (~3400) was loaded

      Like 0
  12. Bick Banter

    All SBCs share the same block dimensions, meaning a 262 wouldn’t be any smaller in the engine bay than a 350, and both would have the same spark plug changing issue.

    Like 9
  13. Craig

    A slight correction- 1980 for Chevy was the front-wheel drive Citation. Introduced actually in 1979.

    Like 5
    • Jay Martell

      Ever seen an X-11 Citation?Wonder how many of those they made.Monza,way better than a Chevette.Starfire looked better than Monza and Sunbird.IMO

      Like 2
      • Big C

        A friend got one of the first X-11’s off the line. His dad was a GM exec. One of the biggest POS’s I’ve ever seen. Things fell off at random, but Chevy kept fixing it. After 4 years it was rotting out and he traded it in on a Mustang.

        Like 4
    • Phil D

      It’s true that the X-bodies came out in ’79 as 1980 models, but it was the J-bodies that replaced the H-specials (Monza/Sunbird). The 1980 H-specials were produced into December of 1980, and the earliest J-bodies went into production in early 1981, although branded as 1982 models.

      Like 0
  14. Threepedal

    Besides the PL620 elsewhere in today’s column, I did this series too. My 4spd Sunbird was the favorite. Almost wish my dementia was advanced as the nostalgia.

    Like 2
  15. John Oliveri

    To my knowledge, a Goodwrench motor is a replacement motor,

    Like 1
  16. Mike Morgan

    I bought one like this with a 262 V8 for parts to complete a V8 Vega project, but my brother was looking for a little more power for his 4WD converted Datsun pickup. He swapped in the 262/TH350 combo and said it had great power with just headers and a Performer/600 Holley added to the otherwise stock engine. 33″ tires made Pismo’s dunes real easy. It kept breaking Dana 30 front axles, yet never hurt the stock Datsun rear.

    Like 0
  17. C Force

    What a great platform to start with.great potential to be a real “sleeper”.upgrade the 350 to make one horse per cubic inch and you can get long tube headers for these cars as well.a plain jane hot rod!

    Like 2
  18. Malcolm Greer

    That Goodwrench engine was also called a “Target Master” replacement mostly for vans and trucks.I had one put in my van back in the ’80’s. The rest of the car wouldn’t part out at five grand.

    Like 1
  19. Paul

    the 350 monza were sold only in california because the 262 and 305 were not emission approved yet. sadly the Hp rating was a mere 125. i drove one of these 350 equipped and my lawnmower had more pick up than this slug of a motor

    Like 2
    • Alec

      Thats a hell of a fast lawnmower. My 350 Monza can snap people back in their seat with a 2.29 rear gear

      Like 0
    • JoeNYWF64

      If it had the Vette’s 350, it would be faster than the heavier 350 Vette.
      I’m sure Chevy would not hear of that/want any part of that.

      Too bad they didn’t have Iridium spark plugs back then – last up to 4x longer than Copper / Nickel.

      Like 0
  20. EVRp99Member

    Not so, I had a 76 Monza Town Coupe with a 305 and a 4 speed. Quick little car but the engine compartment was cramped. Kept it for 4 years and traded it for a 80 Z28.

    Like 0
  21. Robert Spinello

    The 125-hp 350 V8 was as quick as the 140-hp 49 state 305 in 1977. No sustitute for cubic inches, The smog 350 had more torque than the 305. Put on 4 barrel and dual exhaust and your approaching muscle car performance in a Monza.

    Like 3
  22. luckless pedestrian

    The mid/late ’70s were truly dark, dark days for the American car industry…

    Like 1
  23. bezee

    did everyone forget in 1973 california passed the law no car with a v8 could be equipped with a 4 spd transmission in state of california

    Like 0
    • JoeNYWF64

      Even the ’73-’74 sd-455 firebirds?

      Like 0

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