First-Gen Survivor: 1972 Chevrolet Monte Carlo

By 1970, Ford and Pontiac had run away with the “Personal Luxury Coupe” segment of the domestic auto market. You could actually argue that Ford created it in 1958 when they converted the Baby-Bird Thunderbird into the Square-Bird. But Pontiac joined the fray in ’69 by moving its Grand Prix from the full-size platform down to the intermediate chassis. Seeing this, Chevrolet jumped on the “me-too” bandwagon and came up with a stretched, luxury version of their mid-sized Chevelle and named it “Monte Carlo”.  What we have here for review is a survivor example of a first-gen MC in the form of a 1972 model. It is located in South Bend, Indiana, and is available here on eBay for a current bid of $6,200, reserve not met as of this writing.

The first-gen (1970-1972) Monte Carlo is by far, my favorite. So much so, that I wouldn’t consider owning any other generation but I’m not a “Personal Luxury Coupe” (PLC) kind of person. And always one to be in the minority as I am, about 181K buyers felt differently about PLC’s and stepped up and made a purchase in ’72.

The photos included in the listing for this base model ’72 Monte aren’t the best but they still paint a pretty good picture of this 93K mile survivor. And speaking of “paint” it’s good to be green as this baby is triple green, exterior, vinyl top, and interior – it’s all so early ’70s. This car could almost pass for a horizontal avocado freezer! Anyway, the body is solid, with no rust or crash damage, and mercifully, it’s minus the frequently found fender skirts. The paint is, as the seller notes, burned through in places but this Chevy still shows very well. The vinyl top is holding its own and the full wheel covers are a nice departure from ubiquitous rally-wheels which seem to adorn about 70% of every old Chevy product in existence.

The subject of power was a confusing one in ’72. Auto manufacturers decided to start using, what was considered to be, the more realistic the SAE “net” horsepower rating calculation instead of the SAE gross rating calculation that had been in place from 1971 back into the ’30s. The net system wasn’t new, it too had been around for years and actually manufactures used both in ’71. But what happened is when astute buyers saw the power rating for a basic 350 CI V8 Monte Carlo engine drop from 245 gross HP in ’71 to 165 net in ’72, the assumption was that it occurred as a result of newly enacted EPA clean air standards. No doubt, tightening emission control rules played some part in the disparity but it was more the gross to net substitution. None of this really matters, of course, as it relates to this particular vehicle as the seller claims, “The vehicle runs great and is mainly used for weekend drives”. The seller also notes that he has also installed a dual exhaust system which “sounds great”. And it will probably wake the engine up a bit, but nothing substantial. Gear changes are handled by an automatic transmission that performed the power to the rear wheels trick in the vast majority of ’72 Montes. Actually, Chevrolet made a point in the ’72 MC sales brochure of proclaiming, “Sorry, no four on the floor” as they had offered that option in ’70 and ’71. Chevrolet was clearly trying to disassociate the Monte Carlo from any sporting or performance intentions, allowing the Chevelle to cover that market.

Monte Carlo interiors in ’72 came with a bench seat or buckets and a center console as an option. This being a base model, it would have a bench seat as standard equipment and it does. No worries though, as the green cloth interior is in excellent shape. The seller states, no tears in the carpet, headliner, or seats, and none appear. Ditto the dash pad, no splits. This Monte Carlo, as is typical, is a factory A/C equipped car but the unit is non-working, supposedly, because “it needs a charge”. Being an old R12 system, it probably needs more than just a charge. In my quest for original radios, this Monte Carlo looks to still have its original Delco unit but there appears to be an FM converter mounted under the dash. That would indicate that the Delco in-dash unit is an AM band radio, only.

There’s a lot of green going on here, but, nevertheless,  this is a very nice car. Sure, a big-block 402 or 454 CI motor would add to the excitement, and the price, but this is still a fine old cruiser. And it would be a nice environment to enjoy a little bit of personal luxury space, don’t you think?

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  1. Vance

    I am a Blue Oval devotee, but have always loved Monte’s up to 1977. My neighbor had one of these, and a 350 never looked so small as it did in he engine bay of this platform. You could.actually sit on the fender and have access to everything. Soon to come, you couldnt see the motor because of smog equipment, vacuum lines, and everything else that looked like a bunch of endless snakes. Very nice car.

    Like 7
  2. Weasel

    Green exterior 👍. Green interior👎

    Like 3
    • Tom Nemec Member

      I think Kermit the Frog had a song about green……

      Like 3
  3. Scott

    I had a 72 equipped just like this one in high school, though the AC worked! Great car, with an enormously long hood— perfect for drive in movies, as was that bench seat!! 350/350 wasn’t any racer, but it was okay on gas at least.

    I did have the fender skirts- those stayed in the garage most of the time.

    Like 6
  4. Dave in Arlington, TX

    There’s one of these in a garage just down the street that’s been there for more than 25 years but it has those dog-gone rivet-attached aluminum side moldings on it. This one here looks like a nice car.

    Like 2
  5. Ken Jennings

    When I was young, the kid with the richest daddy in our small town was given a new one of these when he turned 16. The punk was a real POS. Despite being a highly option quite high performance car, most of us despised the car because we really despised the rotten spoiled brat. Have never been able to enjoy these cars because they remind me of the little obnoxious idiot who never worked a day in his life but told the world how successful he was. Inheriting Daddy’s money makes some people real losers, but you wouldn’t think so by the way they speak of themselves.

    Like 7
    • Steve R

      You should seek help if you are that bitter over something as trivial as a classmates dad buying him a new car in high school. The way you come across referring to him in those terms, if true, it seems like you were both cut from the same cloth.

      Steve R

      Like 10
      • Ken Jennings

        Perhaps if you had been subjected to breathing the same air as this “person”, you might feel the same way. Some things leave a stain in your soul that even 50 years can not wash away.

        Like 4
      • Steve R

        There are very few things in life you can control other than your own actions and emotions. I don’t let things out of my control get to me. I act on them in the present, then move on.

        Steve R

        Like 5
      • Stevieg

        Steve R, some people are just negative people. I feel bad for them. Being in their head has got to be a terrible place.
        Mr. Jennings & I have very similar taste, especially when it comes to slant 6 Mopars, but he just seems so negative towards people who go against his sensibilities. If we all had the same taste, this would be a boring planet…& a boring website lol.
        I hope he is a happy person when not on this website, because he comes a cross as bitter when he is here.
        I find myself arguing with him sometimes, but if he can’t let go of a resentment from almost 50 years ago, I feel bad for him.
        I wish you all a peaceful weekend!

        Like 4
      • Ken Jennings

        Sanyayana told us 60+ years ago that who ever ignores history is doomed to repeat it. By forgetting past bad behavior, we just allow similar people in the present to harm our society today. Good people need to speak up and discuss such things for the betterment of all. If people ignore bad behavior, then they are guilty as well. You see, the prevailing forces that gave this young man his easy carefree life (and later destructive actions that made a bad life for others) still exists today, and in fact has multiple in severity. So you see, this sin’t arm chair psychology, it is arm chair sociology and macro economics.

        Like 3
      • Steve R

        Ken, holding a grudge for 50 years against someone you didn’t like from high school because their daddy bought them a new car has nothing to do with history. It’s a weak justification for holding a grudge. You can twist the narrative any way you want if it makes you feel better about yourself.

        Steve R

        Like 3
      • Ken Jennings

        Steve, it is an example of how wealth and unearned privilege can screw up not just the person, but many around them. There is more to this story, what he did to employees after his father checked out. Of course, not relevant here, but that is part of my concern here. I could make other examples more here are familiar with but I suspect it wouldn’t stay up too long so I will put down another relevant example. I think we all here can attest to the fact that the very wealthy, at least some who have never really earned that wealth, have distorted the old car market to absurd heights, making many lose interest in the hobby altogether because something that should really be attainable for them is not because of this.

        Like 4
    • triumph1954

      Darn. Rotten spoiled brats. They ruin everything!

      Like 3
    • Jake Jake Member

      Get the car, drive by the guy’s house, honk the horn, and give the guy the bird.

      Like 1
  6. WH

    Didn’t know DT knew how to drive a car 😊

    Like 8
  7. Philip Bregar

    The ’72 is my all time favorite MC. Just moving the front parking lights next to the grill made it look so much more classy. I had a ’72 Classic with the 454 auto/console, blue with black vinyl roof and black interior. It sucked more oil than gas, until my very knowledgeable cousin told me to install perfect circle valve stem seals. Wow…what a difference.

    Like 5
  8. Roy Clark

    Had a 72 Monte Carlo, yellow with a tan top, bucket seats, 350, no console, column shift. Traded it off for a beautiful blue 77 Gran LeMans that turned out to be a piece of crap. Sure wish I still had that Monte Carlo after all these years.

    Like 3
  9. Dave

    I had a 1971Monte Ca, SS454. An excellent automobile. Lite gold with a black vinyl roof, interior black.

    Like 3
  10. Mike W

    This is Gulf Green with a Medium Green factory “halo” vinyl top. My folks had a 1971 Cottonwood Green – (very similar color) with green vinyl top and same green interior. Yes, it was a lot of green, but it was 1971 and wasn’t brown, gold, or orange like our kitchen…
    Even with 350 2 barrel, it went through rear G70 Wide Oval’s much faster than fronts…

    Like 3
  11. CJM

    I’m not a Chevy fan by any stretch but the first gen Monte’s (and to a lesser extent any Monte up thru 1988) are a high point and a car I have always admired. 1972 is the absolute zenith. Best looking front end. Except no 4 on the floor?! That is a big minus. Nice to see a stock, base car like this not one with rally wheels and white letter tires.

    Like 2
  12. moosefeather

    I think this is the ‘gulf green’. My uncle had a 70 I believe ‘green mist’ with white vinyl top and white interior. Still in my top favorite classy looking cars. He promised to sell it to me, but alas I went off to school and he sold it. Had the horseshoe shifter. I think the best shifter ever made and probably one of the rare times I’d take an automatic over a stick.

  13. John Oliveri

    That’s a wish list car w a 454, in red, w white buckets and a white top, and all the toys, preferably a 71, definitely not green

  14. Mike

    Always thought this was a very classy car! My aunt had a forrest green one with a black vinyl top and black interior. I remember it just floated down the road. Sad when she traded it for a ’78😢

  15. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    SOLD for $8,900.

    Like 2

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