454-Powered! 1973 Chevrolet Monte Carlo

1973 ushered in the second generation of the Chevy Monte Carlo and the Colonnade era of styling for GM’s mid-size cars. Under the skin the Monte Carlo was based on a Chevelle and had one of the longest hoods in the industry. This triple black edition of the personal luxury cruiser has an added treat under the hood – a 454 cubic inch V8. Located in Niles, Michigan, this big block Chevy is available here on craigslist for $20,000. OBO. Thanks, Pat L., for finding this one for us!

First introduced for 1970, the Monte Carlo was redesigned for 1973-77, and traded its hardtop body for a pillared coupe with rear side opera windows and frameless door glass. This included a double-shell roof for improved noise reduction and rollover protection. The front bumper was bigger due to federally mandated 5 mph impact safety standards that had just kicked in. Inside the car, the driver was treated to a wraparound cockpit-style instrument panel with gauges and other instruments within easy reach of the driver. Strato-Bucket seats were optional, a feature the seller’s car has. They had a one-piece high-back design with built-in headrests and could swivel up to 90 degrees to permit the driver and front passenger easier entry and exit.

The seller’s Monte Carlo has the big block 454 V8, which was optional that year, but we don’t know if its original to the car as I thought it had to be an SS for that. Detuning restrictions for fewer emissions had capped horsepower output to 245 SAE net. We’re told it was rebuilt some 20,000 miles back and whole car tracks at 120,000. This Chevy is the Landau edition, new for 1973, that came with a half-vinyl top. The black paint and top look quite attractive and appear to have been redone at some point. The lack of wheel well trim on both front fenders tends to support that theory.

This car apparently originated in California, which might explain its overall condition. It’s only been in Michigan since 2013 and has not been driven in the snow. It wears a set of nice Rally wheels that we’re told came off a Corvette. It’s said to be a great runner and has been treated to a new carburetor and a tune-up. Missing under the hood is any sign of factory air conditioning, which would have been in the majority of Monte Carlo’s of that vintage. The interior looks good, just needs a little detailing.

Motor Trend named the ’73 Monte Carlo their Car of the Year for its then-new styling and emphasis on European-like ride and handling. The car would be a hit for Chevy, and they set a record for sales that year at nearly one-quarter million units. Hagerty pegs the resale value of one of these cars in top condition to be in the low $20,000s, so the seller looks to have priced his wares accordingly.

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Comments

  1. nycbjr Member

    My God that is one meaty looking engine!

    Like 7
  2. Big_Fun Member

    What I love about Barn Finds is you learn so much about featured vehicles from the comments. I consider this a safe zone, so no nasty comments here.
    *The Monte Carlo SS last year was 1971, then, it was back in 1983.
    *The 454 was available in the Monte in ’70-71 (SS only), then though 72-75.

    Like 19
    • Keith akers sr

      1973 they produced 454 motor and it was not so but a 454s model I know alot about this car I had 1

  3. Tracey

    This is my son’s car and yes it is a factory 454. Turbo 400 and 12 bolt rear , 3:42 gears non posi track, and we do have the factory air conditioning it’s just not installed,

    Like 44
    • Bob Hipkens

      I ordered a 73 Monte Carlo with the 454 and you did not have to have the SS edition

    • Tracey Malott

      This car was also built in the Van Nuys California plant

  4. George Mattar

    I had a 76 Monte with swivel buckets. Mine was Mahogany on Mahogany. One if the most reliable cars I ever owned. And boy do I miss those comfy seats. Too bad GM builds the worst cars in the world these days. Ugliest too. Wheelhouse trim missing because you can’t buy reproduction. The aftermarket has completely ignored the beautiful Colonnade cars. I know. I have owned 5 of them.

    Like 11
  5. Jcs

    There was no Monte Carlo SS in 73.

    All 73 cars that were equipped with the 454 had call-outs on the front fender rockers.

    Tracey, my suggestion to you would be to tell your son to pull the ad, install the factory A/C to working condition, find the proper 454 emblems, and pull together the original documentation.

    Then, have him detail the car, take better photographs and compose a more informative ad. At this point a $20K asking price may not be so “pie in the sky”.

    Of course, there is an alternative. Assuming that she is rust free and that she runs and drives exceptionally well he can maybe sell her as is for $12K and consider himself lucky.

    Cool car by the way, just way overpriced. The market is hot but not that hot.

    Like 26
    • ronald Burrows

      it says the car came from california where it is hot, why would somebody take the air conditioner out of a car??

      Like 3
      • Steve R

        I live in California. Not all of the state is hot and it’s never humid.

        It’s common for people to remove the compressor, brackets and hoses if the AC stops working. Especially if the engine comes out for a rebuild. If an owner decides not to spend the money to fix it, the parts are little more than an eyesore.

        Steve R

        Like 8
      • Dave

        Removing all of that stuff is a lot of work and on a car with a serpentine belt requires sourcing a belt for a non-AC car, something that the big-box stores may not stock. If the AC quits on a car of this vintage and it bothers you then just remove the drive belt. On most pre-serpentine cars the AC had a separate belt or belts to drive it.

        Like 3
      • Hank Kaczmarek

        Who thinks that a car built in 1973 has a serpentine belt?
        The Compressor would have a v-belt, and if you disconnect it, no A/C. Does that follow or am I missing something?

        Like 5
    • Don Page

      20K for a car with mismatched tires. Makes me wonder what you can’t see.

      Like 14
    • bikefixr

      JCS, not accurate. The SS454’s from 70-71 did. 72’s did not, the 73’s did not. I’ve owned half a dozen of these over the years including my current 17K original 1-owner. There are no call-outs on the rockers. $20K is wildly out of line. $20K can buy an accurate, complete and finished car.

      Like 10
  6. Vance

    I am a Blue Oval guy and always have been, but Ford never really had a rival to the Monte Carlo. The long hood and short trunk was an exceptional look, and provided plenty of engine space. The T-bird had become a bloated mess, and had lost the sharp styling of the 60’s. My Father hated GM, but I harbored a secret affection for these. Very nice Chevy, it just looks the part.

    Like 6
  7. Gordon

    I ordered a 73 Monte Carlo Landau with the 454 . . Black on black all vinyl . . The swivel bucket feature was useless to me . . The Govt. Cut the balls off the 454 so , it was gutless . . . The Landau came with urethane covered wheels . . I replaced mine with Corvette rally’s which are an inch wider . . There was no emblems on the car denoting engine size . . It was a good looking car , rode and drove well . . Still used leaded gas which was rough on mufflers and tail pipes . . I replaced the resonator tail pipes with Chevelle pipes which had no resonators . . Cheaper . . . First car I ever owned with airconditioning . .

    Like 7
  8. Bryan

    That’s not a factory installed vinyl roof. If it came from the factory, it had color keyed window moldings. Painted roofs had bright stainless trim around the rear window.

    Like 1
  9. Mark P

    I’ve always liked the look of a stock unadorned by aftermarket parts big block, they look like all business and very industrial.

    Like 4
  10. Gordon

    The build quality on the 73 Monte C was terrible as has been mentioned before . . They were selling like hot cakes plus it was a model change so it was inevitable that there was bugs to be worked out . . A friend’s wife worked in the office of a Chevy dealer and saw the new Monte’s being offloaded . . She said one was missing the trim that surrounded the opera window . . How that ever got by inspection is a mystery to me . . I learned right quick not to mess with the factory paint unless is was accident repair . . My salesman told me to check my car out when I took delivery and they would fix any body/paint problems. . I found a few . . Should have left it alone . . Touch up paint would not last like factory ..

    Like 1
  11. ccrvtt

    Theses Montes are beautifully flamboyant cars, arguably the pinnacle of Detroit styling. Unfortunately they were caught in a perfect storm of government regulations, fuel crises and unstable labor markets. That didn’t stop Richard Nixon from gifting one to Leonid Brezhnev.

    Think about it: After the Colonnade cars the General never again pushed the envelope. The current Impala and Malibu are about the nicest looking cars made today, but by comparison they are incredibly bland. These old cars may not really be particularly well-made or reliable but they’re certainly more interesting to look at than the current crop of look-alikes.

    I am hopeful that someday Chip Foose will design a front bumper to replace that awkward box that certainly wasn’t part of the original design.

  12. ccrvtt

    *These

  13. Frozenbird

    These are cool cars, and very nice to drive. I am currently finishing up a restoration on a well optioned ’74 Laguna with the 454. The above comment is true, these are very hard to restore as they are not well represented in aftermarket repro world. Ecklers does have complete interiors for them (carpet, seat skins, headliner, sill plates, door seals) but it’s going to take 8 months to get it. If you need anything else beyond that you are going to need a parts car, there is just nothing out there.

    Like 3
  14. Gordon

    I think the 73 -77 Monte drove so well because GM went to the radial tuned suspension plus the front suspension alignment had a bunch of positive caster to make it go down the road really straight . . They also added a transverse mounted stabilizer shock absorber to the front suspension . . They were very good road cars . . With all that positive caster , you needed power steering which I think all of them had it . .

    Like 1
  15. Kevin

    I like it,I had a 75 way back,with 350/350,it was a fun car,just a cheap beater I had as an 18 year old,I like it, but not for 20k.

    Like 1

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