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Dealer Trade: 1980 Chevy Monza

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I have fond memories of a local used car dealership in my youth taking in all kinds of interesting trades. Of course, there were quite a few awful cars that sat on their lot, but I’ll never forget the red Porsche 928 or brown Isuzu Impulse that occupied space in the showroom. The seller of this 1980 Chevy Monza here on eBay claims it was recently taken in as a trade, and while not perfect, it does appear to be a nice, honest used car. There’s an opening bid of $2,000 and no reserve, but there’s no bidding activity to report as of yet. 

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As you might expect for a vintage car that’s been used as a daily yet survives in good overall shape, the interior clearly looks loved. It seems that if a car has remained free from accidents or engine swaps, the vehicle in question has enjoyed the company of a loving owner. In the case of this Monza, I think you can make that assumption given there is only minor separation on the driver’s side bolster and the rest of the interior effectively looks unused. The manual transmission is a bonus as well.

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The 3.8L Buick V6 occupies the nose section of this notchback-bodied Monza, making this example all the more appealing. Combined with the manual transmission, you could make the argument this is perhaps the most desirable configuration of the Monza offered in 1980. Although far from sporty, this was as good as it got for the Monza that year, considering Chevrolet discontinued the 3.2L V6 and 5.0L V8 for the 1979 model year. No details are offered on the health of the engine.

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Looking back over the last few months, I’ve reported on quite a few Monzas. Perhaps my subconscious is telling me something, like: “You’re clearly attracted to Monzas.” I don’t know if that’s the case, but I am digging this example with those period-correct alloy wheels and black-and-red color combo. Some lower sill work has been done and the seller claims the paint work isn’t the best, but for the asking price, I wouldn’t complain too loudly about less than perfect cosmetics. What do you think a fair price is?


  1. Lovell L Linville

    Nice ride but are sure its a stick shift?..looks like a auto with push button on top of shifter

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  2. boxdin

    I like these cars too. This one looks nice it should be the even fire engine and w a manual its a gas!

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  3. Tim McDonald jr

    I had a 1980 Monza back in 1987-88. Except mine was a 4 speed standard with the 2.5L iron duke 4 cylinder which was actually a Pontiac motor. Not a speed demon by a long shot but was reliable transportation.

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  4. Mr. TKD

    This one is interesting. I’d like to see what’s available to hop up that V-6 engine, or drop a small block V-8 in it and take it to the dragstrip or just get rowdy in general!

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  5. Terry

    Given the northern location, mention of rocker panel repair and no lift shots this could be a nightmare.
    The seller needs to add pictures of the underside.

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  6. RayT Member

    My memories of these aren’t good. My mother had a Monza hatchback with V-6: not pleasant to drive — I remember the driving position was weird, to say the least — a plastic-y interior that deteriorated quickly and an anemic powertrain. If that wasn’t enough, it began to rust in very short order. In Southern California, where it never saw snow or salted roads.

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    • Charles

      Love your description of the rusting keeping you awake at night! Funny! Also, a previous post by RayT about the car rusting in no time in Southern California where there is no snow or slated roads.

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  7. Vince Habel

    I remember driving these with a 262. I sold them in 75 & 76.

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  8. Jay

    I had a 1976 Buick Skyhawk with a 3.8 V6 and a four speed transmission during the early 80s. It was a very fun car to drive.

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  9. Roccoromane

    I think that’s an auto not a manual trans.

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  10. Bob Hess

    My dad always had fast cars. When he came up with a Chevy Z24 with the big GM V6 in it we thought he’d lost it. That car was fast, as were it’s siblings. No slow ride here.

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    • Blyndgesser

      The z24 was a Cavalier. No relationship at all to the much heavier Monza shown here.

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      • Rome

        *Except for that the Cavalier replaced the Monza (as did all J-Cars to H-cars) in Chevrolet’s lineup.

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  11. DorsoDoug

    The absolute worst car I ever purchased. The sound of this car rusting kept me awake at night. The roof actually rusted through from the inside. The Vega earned such a poor reputation, Chevrolet “renamed” it the Monza. Those were not good days for GM cars.

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  12. HeadMaster1

    3.8 Buick, one of the best all time engines GM ever built. Can you say Gran National/GNX………Not very refined or smooth, but a torque monster when pressurized………

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    • DrinkinGasoline

      Not the same 3.8 as the T-Type/GN/GNX. Same “family”, different engine codes.

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  13. Tom

    I had a 79 Monza wagon 3.8l 4sp not a great car but I had a lot of fun with it. My wife was pregnant and couldn’t drive a stick so we traded it off in 81 for a Fairmont 4 cylinder auto , now that was a slug to drive I don’t miss these underpowered cars at all.

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  14. Jeff DeWitt

    I’ve always liked these, the Pontiac Sunbird variant even better.

    I THINK this is an automatic, the eBay listing doesn’t say what transmission it has, and there are no good pictures of the console or floor where the clutch pedal would be but I don’t see a clutch master cylinder in the engine compartment and there is something in the back on the passenger side that might be the transmission filler/dipstick.

    No AC thought, in a black car that could be a real problem.

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  15. Bob S

    My Mother went from a 4 cylinder Monza to an 83 Accord. The Accord was the best built car she ever owned by far. The Monza was probably the worst . They are not good cars in my opinion . Can’t really think of much I liked about them. Before the Monza was a 73 Grand Prix SJ. What a let down the Monza was.

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  16. Bob Hess

    Understand the Cavalier difference…. Note “siblings”. GM’s V6s across the brand board were great engines. The Cavalier at a much lighter weight was a rocket. This car can’t be that much slower.

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  17. 68custom

    I had a 79 fast back with same engine and 4 speed which I think this one does have. Ran great but the cable actuated clutch and clunky shifter sucked! pretty sure these things started to rust out on the draftsman’s table!

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  18. Steve

    Back in the mid eighties, I was GIVEN a non running (no drivetrain) 76 Monza notchback like this one. It was dark blue with WHITE vinyl seats and door panels, blue dash and carpet (DISCO DISCO DISCO!!!)… I had plans to swap a 66 283 I had traded a dirt bike for… I was trying to source a four speed Muncie M21 for it, and my brother found out the block was a casting for a Chevy II… (I always wondered why it didnt have a provision for a dipstick…) When I got it, it was just a short block, and I added a rear sump pan from a pickup truck with the dispstick in the pan. Most all other SBC engines had the dispstick provision in the block. The Chevy II pan was front sump, with the dipstick in the pan…I ended up selling the 283 to my brother for him to use in his 66 Chevy II SS and swapping a junk vega 4 cylinder motor and trans into the Monza (!) and swapping it to a guy for paint and body work for my 71 El Camino…His daughter needed a first car. UGH…

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  19. James

    My uncle had one of these with a stick shift. Fun car to drive! We called it the Monzarotti :)

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  20. jaymes

    it would look so much better with that trunk luggage rack installed

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