Subtle Sleeper: 1978 Chevy Monza

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There are some cars that look like a bad idea and a great time all at once. This 1978 Chevy Monza wagon here on eBay is one of those builds, where it’s received a big motor up front and retained its otherwise diminutive body and outward appearances. The seller claims it’s churning out about 300 b.h.p. after receiving an engine transplant from a Corvette. 

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The car was purchased as an unfinished project from a widower who lost interest in the hottted-up Monza after his wife passed away. While it does have a 327 motor from a 1965 Corvette, the original heads have been removed and is estimated to be down on power from its stock configuration. Still, that’s a healthy amount of thrust in small car like the Monza.

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The interior needs the most work, as it currently has ripped seating surfaces, no headliner and no carpet. The door panels are serviceable. The seller also says that paint is rough and will need to be re-done to be perfect. The car has rust in more than a few places, including where the heater core leaked and where the battery used to be located.

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I’m surprised – this car has been listed for a few days with an opening bid of $2,000 and no one has taken a nibble yet. Although it has some rust, it’s not terminal, and most of its ills appear to be merely cosmetic. But maybe the missing heads on the 327 kill off some of the value proposition for potential buyers. I’m not sure why, but it looks like a heckuva good time to me.

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Comments

  1. Ryan

    I’m really not a fan of station wagons… But that looks awesome!

  2. RandyS

    Solid motor mounts to the drivers side head and passenger side water pump. hmmm

    • Mike Member

      Not necessarily solid mounts, but an early style front mount that bolted to the front of a small block engine instead of the sides. These had rubber mounts on both ends. Often used where there is not enough room for side mounts and headers in a small engine compartment.

  3. Matt

    I love Wagons cause most folks don’t and they make nice rides if done right. I would love to buy this one. Nice!

  4. grant

    Hmmm. I had one of these. Yellow with fake wood paneling. POS. This is the right idea, someone go give this guy the 1200 bucks he’s lucky to get for it, and have some fun.

  5. Glen

    What is the letter in the last photo, with a 2018 date on it?

    • JW454

      Glen,

      That document is stating the car doesn’t need a title in the state of Georgia. The reason the date says 2018 is that it’s signed and notarized. You can’t see the raised stamp in the picture but it says the notary’s commission expires on that date. It’s not supposed to be the date it was signed.

      • Glen

        Thanks for that.

  6. Joe Gotts

    I partially agree with Grant, however the unibody may fail shortly thereafter due to rust issues.

  7. Jim L

    That 327 365 HP is worth more than the rest of the car.

    • Zenaldo

      Only if it still had the Vette heads which it does not…too bad really..

  8. sdwarf36

    They made a Monza wagon? I don’t remember that. It sure looks like maybe a Monza nose on a Vega wagon.

    • dave

      34 MPG highway

  9. JW

    When I looked at the first picture I thought it was a Vega, I never remember a Monza wagon in my area.

  10. Rick

    ’77 was the last year for Vega, was replaced by Monza in ’78. It was just different front sheet metal on the wagon version for ’78 & ’79

  11. dave

    Monza Spider

  12. Tirefriar

    Not for useon California streets or highways. This is a typical V8 conversion in the H chassis (vega, Astre, Monza, Skyhawk, starfire). Vega was the most popular recipient of said transplant. To make this really work, rear subframe should be installed (you can use 2.73 gears to avoid putting huge stress on the rear end mounts). Anything lower will require a beefed up rear subframe. May as well tub the rear wheel wells for those drag slicks to get all the reaction you can. It’s definitely an unfinished project but with a running V8 installed shod be worth the opening bid

  13. jimbosidecar

    I believe the Vega had built up such a bad reputation (for everything) that Chevrolet renamed it the Monza to try and shake the rep.

  14. MountainMan

    Not bad. Should be fun with minimal amount of required work and as much cosmetic work as one desires

  15. Rando

    No word in description on cooling system other than electric fan. That spells trouble real quick. And stock rearend. Enjoy that FIRST burnout and have a rollback nearby to get you home. What good is 300 hp if you seize it from overheating right after you kill the rearend? And the mositure in the one pic worries me. I owned 2 vegas, a 73 hatch and a wagon. I am familiar with the rust. As bad as Mopars from that period. With all that said, I’d love to have a nice vega (oxymoron, I know).

    • Bobsmyuncle

      Why do you think an electric fan is a problem?

  16. AMC STEVE

    Scary rust. That thing will twist in half

  17. Corky

    I had a 1980 Monza hatchback …The frame was so weak that I had to take it to a frame shop because the front end would not line up !!! It had a 4 cylinder in it …unless enforced , I would hate to see what the poor frame looks like on this one !!!!

    • Richard Prokopchuk

      With the V-8, you couldn’t change the back 2 plugs without jacking up the engine. And, you couldn’t install chains when the roads got snowy.

  18. Richard Prokopchuk

    I had a Vega GT wagon (the kammback) that was a great. It ran well, built well, but that oil leaking 4 killed it for me. I then bought a 78 Monza with the 262 V8 that was great until a German haywagon got in the way and bent everything that could bend.

  19. Tyler

    Is it just me, or are there are more vehicles out there with “Corvette” engines than the combined number of Corvettes built?

    • Bobsmyuncle

      So true I think the same thing every time I see it LOL!

  20. Richard Prokopchuk

    You noticed too eh Tyler?

  21. Richard Prokopchuk

    This Monza, except for the grill, looks exactly like my Vega GT Kammback wagon, right down to the same steering wheel as the Corvette or so I’m told. Here’s a link to one like mine. Mine had the Camaro style front end, the big open mouth.

    http://www.carlustblog.com/2012/10/in-praise-of-the-hated-gm-small-cars-week-1971-71-vega-gt-wagon.html

  22. justajoe

    I had a 78 Monza wagon, with the 2.8(?) V6 in it. Lovely little car for what I needed then. Sold it for a 5 door Mazda when I needed more doors.

  23. ROBERT BELLIN

    just donated a posi rear end for one of them. fun car but heavy doors jack the hinges up.

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