406 / 6 Speed! 1979 Chevrolet Monza 2+2 Spyder

With its drag wheels, cowl hood, and a hopped-up 406 V8 under the hood, this 1979 Chevrolet Monza 2+2 Spyder looks ready for the road-going equivalent of a drunken brawl. The Pahrump, Nevada hatchback seeks a new owner here on Craigslist, where $8800 makes it yours. A six-speed manual transmission takes things up another notch, opening the door to a possible future beyond straight-line acceleration. Thanks to reader Pat L. for spotting this H-body classic.

The SBC (Small Block Chevrolet) 406 begins life as a 400 cid V8, and the build involves a simple 0.30 overbore that yields an additional six cubic inches. This one has gone much further, though, with aluminum heads, high-rise intake, headers, and more. We have no data on this Monza’s 406, but Hot Rod made over 600 HP on a hot 406 build in 2013.

It would have been cheaper and easier to slam a junkyard TH350 three-speed automatic transmission, but credit the prior owner who went with a claimed Corvette-sourced six-speed manual gearbox. I put over 100,000 miles on Buick’s version of this Monza. My ’78 Skyhawk had a 231 cid (3.8L) V6 and an overdrive five-speed, and I considered building it into a mean V8-powered machine. Ultimately, in those pre-Internet days, I balked knowing I had no good plan to improve the stock brakes and over-assisted recirculating ball steering. I sold the Skyhawk to a friend and bought a new ’89 Mustang LX 5.0 that I still drive today. For what it’s worth, the Skyhawk racked up at least 350,000 miles on the original 231 before leaving my circle of friends.

The Monza’s new owner might continue along the apparent path of a full-on quarter-miler or swap in some different rolling gear and suspension tweaks for more cornering. Consider a brake upgrade like this S10-style option before you go charging down any mountains. I speak from experience! After some fun on FR262 about 100 years ago, I might have gone across 59 and into the lake if it weren’t for some gearing down and a generous helping of luck, thanks to my H-Body’s fully functional but heat-faded stock brakes. We’d love to hear from whoever snaps up this Chevy and threatens to snap some necks with its acceleration. How would you finish the build on this potent subcompact?


  1. Fahrvergnugen Fahrvergnugen Member

    Cannot imagine how much fun this would be with 75% of the weight over the front wheels. Although the 2.3 and 4MT in my Monza wasn’t exactly fun, either…

    Like 3
  2. Todd Fitch Staff

    My Skyhawk at the 1986 Centre County (PA) Music Fest. That’s me in the sleeveless / sideless shirt, which seemed so cool at the time. Hey, it was the ’80s!

    Like 21
    • CVPanther Member

      Great pic, Todd. There is so much 80’s going on here, I love it.
      And me also having spent some of the 80’s in and around Center County makes for great nostalgia.

      Like 3
    • Grant

      The 231 was an awesome engine. That is what this one should have.

      Like 3
  3. angliagt angliagt Member

    Just like Ferris Bueller,you were a Righteous Dude.

    Like 10
  4. Tbone

    A lot of redneck engineering here. I bet it would be a lot of fun, but you probably wouldn’t brag to your friends about it

    Like 3
  5. Stephen

    There is a positive here , it is a desert car the body is rough in appearance panels dont exactly line up but the rust should be minimal. Especially for a person who would take this vehicle to the next level as a pro tour OR back to factory.
    Factory would probably get expensive especially
    With the listing of aftermarket materials. I’d say pro touring daily driver.
    88 hundred should be negotiable.

    Like 2
  6. flynndawg

    i had a 77 skyhawk, cheap plastic interior and bad for frame sag with the v-6… blew the motor towing my boat…

  7. Butch

    Had a 79 monza. 3.8 5sp. Loved it

  8. David Moore

    Personally I would like to see you continuing going all out 1/4 mile nightmare all the engine upgrades and bolt on horsepower you can add,, then either twin turbos or pro charger,, big brakes complete steering and suspension set ups,,, largest small tire,,, then just go out being a Killa,,,,,

  9. Jon G. Member

    I’ve got a 77 Skyhawk. Previous owner upgraded to 5 lug wheels, 12 bolt rear end, fully functional L-88 hood and a 5 speed. It has the V6 so a Grand National swap is in its future.

  10. Gill

    I had a 1977 Monza Spyder with a 305 4 speed and i still miss it. It was recorded as the worst car ever to do a tune up in. I remember unbolting the motor mounts and jacking the the motor up so i can see the spark plugs. All in all awesome car. Handled really good to. Im interested in this car but 8800 is a bit steep. Its only worth that to us car guys but insurance. Companys dont see it that way. Beautiful build.

  11. John

    The first Pro Street car I saw was Competition Engineering ‘s Monza out of Madison, Ohio back in the 80’s before they got bought out. Cool little car sitting in a department store parking lot in Geneva, Ohio like a everyday grocery getter.

    Like 2
    • Saw it

      That car ended up in suburbs of dayton I think, I see it out and about, if same car, I will chase him down and find out next sighting.

      Like 1
  12. AMoparMan

    Gm built V8 Monza’s with the 262 engine. Yank it out, drop a 350 in and blow the rear axle apart. Put in a 12 bolt with 4.10s and blow the trans. Put in a B&M trans and converter and launch pretty good. Put in frame connectors after a little frame machine time and go dust some Camaros. Fun times back then

    Like 1
  13. Gizmo

    I built a 350 – 4 speed Vega in 77 and it was a riot to drive. Cruisin’ on Friday night was great fun but eventually the fact that I had motorcycles that were even more fun led me to part with it.

    Like 2
  14. Tron , electron

    the only engineering would be fitting the 6 speed. A factory V8 car so the 406 would bolt right in place.

  15. kenneth baiko

    I owned a 1975 Monza with a 4 speed and a 260 Olds V8 from the factory….Notch back ….car was fast little runner…

  16. John

    $8800 seems pretty steep for this.
    I actually forgot they existed.

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