Ferrari Flattery: 1980 Chevrolet Monza

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If you squint hard enough, you can make out a bit of Maranello in this fiery red Chevy. From the last year of production, find this 1980 Chevrolet Monza in North Hollywood, California for $6500 here on Craigslist or here. Thanks to Chuck H. for the tip.

John DeLorean at GM wanted to create an affordable, sporty car that’s styling was more Italian than American. The 1975 Monza that debuted mimicked the famed Ferrari 365 GTC/4, but on a very strict budget. Based on the lesser Vega, the Monza was supposed to receive a new Wankel rotary, but had to make due with various corporate fours, sixes, and eights for its 6 year production run. This 1980 example has the base Iron Duke 2.5L four, churning out an un-Ferrari like 86 hp. Matched to the 3 speed automatic and with AC shown here, planning highway merging might need to be done by calender.

Though not a speed demon, this 39K mile original Monza sure looks the part. Bright red paint, sporty, um, gold stripes, tinted windows, and color keyed finned hubcaps make this economy car look more like its big brother Camaro. Not sure if those stripes are original, especially where they meet on the trunk, but they definitely look period. The fiberglass filler panel out back is typical GM chalky, but overall the car looks great. Paint and chrome are still shiny, the cool matching wheel covers are still present, and the tint doesn’t look out of place. The engine isn’t seen, but the current owners, a picture car company, says it runs and drives great and was featured in a commercial.

The interior looks even better than the outside. The buckets look nearly new, as do the door panels, headliner, back seat, and steering wheel. The dashboard has just a little bit of warpage above the gauges and the carpets are a bit faded, but overall this is better than can be expected for what was a essentially a basic car for the buyer who wanted a little style. Cold, working AC is worth a pretty penny, as is originality. But is it worth $6500? It’s not a Spyder or Mirage, it doesn’t have a 305 V8 or a stick, and it doesn’t have a wild graphic or interior package. What do you think it’s worth?


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  1. Vegaman_Dan

    Correct wheels. Stripes look like a dealer addition as I have never seen them on any GM of that era.

    Nice base model car. Not worth asking price unless it was a 2+2 Spyder.

  2. Solosolo KEN TILLY Member

    A person would have to have astigmatism to be able to see any resemblance between this clunker and a Ferrari 365 GTC/4.

    • Rob

      I thought we weren’t going to bring that up again. You know it hurts my feeling.

  3. Joseph Wayne Haddock

    About 3 grand, or 3500.00 top. Stripes are absolutely aftermarket. Nice little car for what it is though.

  4. Coventrycat

    Neat car, I always preferred the quad headlights though.

  5. Troy s

    Imagine if GM had cancelled the Camaro and firebird due to low sales and in return they brought out this car as a replacement, instead of Monza they called it the Camaro II and also new Trans Am, with no V8’s for a few years.
    Haha! Why I dislike the mustang II, along with a whole bunch more folks, as much as I do.
    The strong foreign car market here in the US was helped along by cars like this, although not entirely, so I have a hard time putting any real value on a product that has so little significance.

    • grant

      Cars like this were the answer to foreign competition, and the wrong one.

  6. Mark Hoffman

    Nice car. I knew a little old lady that bought one of these new. Yellow with the tan upholstery.

    Traded in a 1967 Cadillac Sedan deVille.

    Her deceased husband had bought the Cadillac new

    • Miguel

      That was a bad trade.

  7. angliagt angliagt Member

    4 cylinder,automatic,’80’s era GM car – NO THANKS!
    I hate the cheap plastic interiors on these too.

  8. olerascal

    Nice to see a rarely seen, quasi-sporty, nice condition throwback to the ’80s. While underpowered & primitive by today’s standards, so are many vintage cars.
    All part of their charm, & experiencing retro-ness.
    A hobby car doesn’t always need to be a hot rod.

    • DweezilAZ

      More like a throwback to the 70s by 1980. They came out in 1975.

      And the Ferrari influence was a real thing. Lots of design studies featured in the rags of the period.

  9. Del


  10. Gregory J Mason

    My brother bought one new in 81 it had non vented rotors and the front wheels used to get so hot the plastic clips on the wheel covers used to melt and they’d fall off. In 82 they went to vented rotors and I put them on his. Problem solved. His was 4 cyl automatic. He drove that car till 95 until it was smashed in the back by a drunk driver. I thought the only v8 available was the 263 in the Monza.

    • Corey Kemendo Member

      305 and 350 were available in certain years too!

    • DweezilAZ

      There were no model year 81 or 82 Monzas sold in the US

  11. charlie Member

    They drove well. They felt solid, unlike the Vega. With the V8 they were very fast, detractors always note that you had to loosen the engine/transmission to change several of the spark plugs, but, even paying for that service, it is a lot cheaper than service on a Ferrari. Another case of GM finally getting a car right, and then stopping production – the last year of the Fierro, the Allante, being good examples.

  12. David Miraglia

    More like a fancy Vega

  13. KKW

    Not that it really matters, but if it were a V-8, it would be a 262 not a 305. Possibly better than a vega, which isn’t saying much. If was gonna piss away 6500 bucks, and have nothing to show for it, I’d spend a weekend in Vegas.

    • Corey Kemendo Member

      Apparently you could get a 262, 305, even a 350 V8 in certain years and certain states. Pretty neat they had that many options.

  14. John B

    I used to work at a Chevy dealer when this car was new. Nothing special, the Spyder and 2+2 versions were much better style and quality. A Chevette seemed a bit faster as I recall. An aftermarket company called Trim-line would come out now and again and slap cheesy stripes on slow-selling models and it seemed to help move them off the lot. Well preserved example featured, but not worth the price here.

  15. Corky aeh

    I bought a 1980 Chevy Monza right off the showroom floor in 1980 , drove it for several years with several major mechanical problems. At aprox.
    2 years I noticed that the front tires were wearing , the car only had 25,000 miles on it , I took it to a service shop to have the front end lined and after they guy looked at it he asked me when It had been wreaked …I told him that it hadnt, and I had bought it new , he then told me that the frame had spred so far that it sure looked like it had been wreaked to him , that he could straighten the frame but it would soon spread again , because the frame was so cheap , and pretty soon it would not be able to be straightened at all , and his advice was to get rid of it !!! I gave it to my not so favorite son in law , last chevy i ever bought !!!!!

  16. John Bullerjahn

    If I remember correctly, weren’t the Monzas and Buicks Skyhawks the cars that required you taking the engine out of the car to get to the bottom plugs?

    Even if I had liked the car, which I didn’t, that would have been a deal breaker for me.

  17. P l Windish

    Bought a 75 Monza with the 262 V8 new in early 75. It had plenty of power, but was a pain in the _ _ _ tune up time, maneuvering to replace the plugs. It was never in a wreck, but the paint and front suspension did not hold up on it. Ended up getting the repairs done as cheaply as possible along with an Earl Shieb paint job and traded it for an 80 Ford Fairmount wagon as family needs and priorities changed.

  18. James

    My uncle had one of these, we called it the Monzaratti.

  19. John

    I used the Buick Skyhawk version (auto trans and all) to get me through two SCCA driver schools as a Showroom Stocker. Never did get the vehicle logbook for it. The brakes were not that good. At the Summit Point school I came in from a couple of sessions with the fronts smoking – a lot. Loved that car though. For the second school at the Ledges we put Holley jets in the Rochester carb and took the shaft mounted rockers off a 455 Buick and stuck them on for a bit more lift and duration. Used all thread to stiffen the front sway bar. Traded the car in after I took the roll bar out…

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