Live Auctions

454 Racer Revived! 1972 Monte Carlo

When this Monte Carlo was discovered in the barn it’s 454 V8 was out, likely after being damaged at the dragstrip. At one time, it must have been a hot racer! Well, at least if the number of the driver’s window is a quarter mile time. If it is, the last time it ran, it pulled a 10.15! That’s not bad for what was meant to be a luxury highway cruiser. It’s listed on craigslist in Willow Hill, Pennsylvania for $10,500. This is yet another barn find on a trailer but the seller has done a lot more than just wash it. It’s been mechanically restored, including an engine rebuild as well as fuel system and brake work. The seller doesn’t say how many miles are on it, but it doesn’t really matter when many were a quarter mile at a time.

The first generation Monte Carlo was Chevy’s entry into the personal luxury car segment. They were part Chevelle with a few inches added ahead of the firewall to give it that long hood look. For the first couple of years, though, there were sporty options like an SS package and even a 4 speed, but for 1972 those options were gone and Chevy aimed it at the luxury market. However, Chevy did offer the suspension and other upgrades in the Custom package. This Monte Carlo likely started its life as a comfortable driver, but somewhere along the way received things like a roll cage, 3000 RPM stall converter, 12 bolt rear end with line locker, fat rear tires and went drag racing. The interior looks usable, especially if the roll bar is removed and carpet installed. The roll bar wouldn’t pass today’s tech inspection anyway.

Here’s the 454. For 1972, Chevy switched horsepower ratings from gross to net, or to power at the rear wheels. The stock 454 is only rated at 270 horsepower but it likely has a little more horsepower than that. The rebuild included the bottom and top end with a lot of new parts. It must have been suffered some serious damage to need such an extensive rebuild.

The underside looks nice from what little you can see in this picture. It’s the only peek provided. The exhaust should sound nice with those big pipes.

Overall, this Monte Carlo looks pretty nice.One would wonder, though, why they are selling it after all the work. There seems to be a little damage to the right front fender. The rest of the paint might buff out nicely. There’s no sign of rust and the vinyl top looks nice. If there really is no rust and the doors close nicely, then the next question is the quality of the rebuild work and parts. What would you do with this old Chevy? It could be returned to stock without much work or a great deal of money. For the price of this one, you might be able to find a driver, but not with a 454 of course. It’s not competitive but could be a fun sleeper with a little work if you’re into street racing. It will be interesting to see what ideas you folks have. If the ad is gone, it’s saved on adsaver.


  1. Steve R

    The number on the window means nothing. Even if it did run that number at one point, it won’t now, not with a 600 Holley.

    The car should be evaluated as it presently sits and according to the local market.

    By the way, newbies often ask to borrow window marker after they lost so they can put a number on their car that will impress their buddies around town.

    Steve R

    • David

      It wasn’t me, it was the editor who put the 10.15 nonsense in there! This thing might have gotten into the 14s unless you were thinking eighth mile! Oh well!

      • Steve R

        I wasn’t trying to take a shot at you or anyone else that had input on this posting. It was on the window, it’s fair to assume that it would wind up in the text. I don’t doubt the car saw track time and would be surprised if it actually ran that time. Based on the roll bar and a few other things I’d say it definitely ran quicker than 11.50 at some point. You see stranger things like this at the track on a regular basis.

        I think it’s been stripped of the good stuff and is more of a street car at this point. I personally think they would make the car easier to sell and get more money if what’s left of the roll bar is removed.

        Steve R

  2. Beatnik Bedouin

    10.15? It must have been an eighth-mile dragstrip, which would translate to a pass of around 15.9-16.0 in the quarter, which, sad to say, would be much more believable for the car, the way it’s set up.

    It takes a heck of a lot of HP to get a heavy car like this into the low tens, especially with a 3.73 cog in the rear. The current roll bar set up wouldn’t pass anyone’s tech inspection for a ten-second machine – it would need a full cage and proper belts, etc.

    Some of you are aware that I’m the announcer at a local dragstrip in NZ (Meremere Dragway – the pic is my ‘office’ view). When we’re running our Friday night street meets, I’m always amazed at how some competitors will put a dial-in that’s two seconds QUICKER than what their vehicles actually do, just to impress the troops. They then wonder why they get knocked out in the first round of eliminations…

    These were – and are – neat cars and did offer reasonable performance for the money. I’m with Steve R about how the car should be evaluated.

    • Steve R

      Your track looks nice. Unfortunately, our track announcer passed away just before Christmas.

      I think it’s spent some time at the track, it had a minimum of a five point bar, which would be legal to 10.0, it also has manual steering. The rear end looks to be a new installation, notice the E-brake cables hanging down. Even if it was at one time capable of running low-10’s at one time, it isn’t in its current configuration.

      As you know, it’s hard to tell what something will run until it turns on the clock, there are cars that look slow and fly, though it’s much more common for a car to look fast and turn out to be slow.

      I would bet someone got this car for cheap, put a mild engine in it and is now turning it over. A loose converter and 3.73’s will give a nice kick in the behind as it goes through the gears.

      • Beatnik Bedouin

        Thanks for the compliment, Steve. The track’s been a labour of love for a local hot rod club for 45 years, this year. For NZ, it’s kind of the equivalent in the sport to Lion’s, which was my home track, stateside. (Photo of my ‘Cat at the same NZ dragstrip goes back around three decades).

        Sorry to hear about you losing your announcer. The guy I used to share the booth with died suddenly, mid-2017. It was a real shock, especially, as he was almost a decade younger than me. He’s sorely missed…

        You’re 100% right with regards to just how quick something will run. I’d be curious as to what the Monte’s set up was before its current state.

        We had a guy turn up at one of our Friday night meets in a mid-’80s Honda City to run in the brackets. Everyone laughed until he clocked 14-teens all night with a 1200cc turbo four. The car’s owner was disappointed, as the balky 5-speed trans was keeping him from getting into the 13s.

        He’d driven the car around 130 miles to compete at the track, dropping off a spare transaxle at a rebuilders to be beefed up. Neat kid with a really cool little rollerskate.

    • Superdessucke

      Well, a V-6 Camry….

  3. Mike B

    I have zero experience with drags, but have always thought the 1st gen. Montys to be the best looking.

  4. grant

    To my understanding, “net” HP is with engine accessories hooked up, not at the rear wheels.

    • Beatnik Bedouin

      That is correct, Grant.

  5. LAB3

    Seems like a lot of car to be much of a winner at the strip, nice cruiser for the street though.

  6. Roach Cleatus Sargum

    Not to mention or overstate but missing the engine means a non 454 car to me as whatever is dropped under the hood is inconsequential non original now.

    The price seems very high for it in the current shape but hey someone out there may bite and over pay .

    • Whippeteer

      As it was a drag car, the original engine is immaterial unless the rebuilt block is original. Even then the innards aren’t. It currently has a 454 in it. The status of its build level for competition seems unknown.

  7. Andre

    I have nothing but affection for 70-72 Monte Carlos – but running low 10’s in one? That’d be a project.

  8. Ralph Foore

    We ran a 427. Because we had one… and looooong time in the garages to get our 72 to 12:10…..eventually the twisted a rear arm..took out whole 3 rd member thru the lights… was a fun ride..miss that one.

  9. 1st Gear

    I don’t want to let you what my car runs.I really doubt a low 10 in this tank without MAJOR motor and some help.My time slips do my bragging for me-not white shoe polish.

  10. Tim W

    Small cars that go fast are cool, big cars that go fast are SCARY!!! Google “1320 video Monte Carlo” on YouTube, also, one of the Chicago Outlaws used to run a first gen Monte, as I recall. Those guys show up to race….., wheels-up, WOT

  11. Tyler

    Add some drag radials to a stock ZL1 Camaro or Dodge Hellcat & it will break into 10’s. Take a hot built big block, turbo 400 with the stall, 4.11 or 4.56 gear, slicks, add a shot of nitrous, & 10’s MIGHT be possible with this car. Not saying it did, just saying under the right circumstances that it could happen.

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