Live Auctions

Grandma’s Sleeper! 5.7L Equipped 1975 Chevy Monza

This 1975 Chevy Monza Towne Coupe is the coolest kind of sleeper: one that came straight from the factory and for a very short time period. The seller notes that Chevy restricted production of the Monza with the 5.7L 350 for just part of the year in 1975 following the plans to use the 262 V8 being scrapped due to emissions issues in California. This Monza was spotted by the seller while on a trip to Arizona and is an incredibly nice survivor in addition to being a rare specimen with the Nova’s 350 under the hood. The seller began to perform a major performance build on the car but has since lost interest and has listed it here on craigslist with no price listed. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Patrick S. for the find.

The engine is original to the car, but the seller has embarked on a build that should yield some impressive gains when complete. Unfortunately, you’re going to have to pick up the pieces to bring it across the finish line. The seller contends he moved to Florida since acquiring the Monza and would now prefer to spend his time on the open ocean rather than the open road – hence the interest in trades for a boat 18 to 22 feet in length. So far, the performance upgrades include Comp cam and lifters, Sanderson headers, high volt distributor, chrome Eldebrock intake, chrome Holley street warrior carburetor, high-torque mini starter, and much more.

All original parts have been retained, along with documentation that confirms the car’s heritage as one of a very small batch of Monzas optioned with the largest engine offered. The seller notes the first owner was not some heavy-foot punk but rather a woman who bought the Monza new in San Francisco and later bequeathed it to her nephew when she passed away. It went to Arizona, where he owned for a few years and then sold it to a classic car dealer, which is the entity that the current seller purchased it from. The Monza has no rust and while the paint could use freshening up, it looks perfectly fine to me to use as-is. Mileage is listed as being under 35,000 from new.

The interior is quite tidy for the year, and reflects the low miles. The white-on-black combo is quite sharp and in my opinion, a great combo considering the high-performance features under the hood. A friend told me once that race cars were always white, so I’d assume the same goes for any performance cars. The interior isn’t perfect, and the seller notes that there are some cracks in the dash from the Arizona sun; still, it’s pretty darn nice for the age. The seller notes he also has a set of double hump heads (from a 1969 L-48 Corvette) that would bump compression up nicely and are available for an additional price. A very cool street machine provided it retains its stock appearance.

Comments

  1. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Interesting car, if for no other reason than you rarely see these today. Very plain looking, but if finished per the seller’s plan, would indeed make a great sleeper.
    The seller’s Craigslist ad has quite a few pics and lots of verbiage, but without an asking price we don’t have an idea what price he is thinking….. surely these don’t command much money?

    Like 7
  2. Will Fox

    I was a Sophomore in HS in `75, and about `78 recall a kid that bought a `75 Monza hatchback with the 350 in it; all factory. He told me it was the 262, but his older brother found the build sheet on the car which confirmed it was a 350. For such a little car, it sure was scary to drive. Nose-heavy; somewhat quick off the line, but emissions killed any real power. It was a four-barrel. And absolutely worthless in the snow! Much safer to take the bus than to drive that!

    Like 14
    • Steve R

      Wordy ad and no price listed equals overpriced.

      Steve R

      Like 18
      • Chris M.

        Absolutely true. “Wordy ad” maybe the understatement of the year! If the seller is that enthusiastic about sharing details, most of which are completely mundane, I suspect he’s got big expectations as far as value.

        I had a ’77 Monza Spider with the paltry 305 and it had some pep but these cars are nothing special. Very cheaply built with next to zero value as a collectable.

        My response to the seller would be to haul that sh#tbox back to Ohio and dump it on your buddy!

        Like 5
  3. Tim Shanahan

    I had one of these in college with the 4.3 and you had to pull the motor to change one of the back plugs. It was never designed for the V8 but it did fit. I put close to 200K miles on it with no troubles.

    Like 6
    • Jim

      When you say pull the engine,surely you must mean lift it a little. I’ve worked on several Monzas and never had to do either and that includes my current one.

      Like 1
  4. 19sixty5 Member

    I had no idea they actually offered a 350 in this platform, I thought the 262 was it. Always something to learn here. I wasn’t paying much attention to these cars in 1975, I was just getting out of the Army and had my 2 69 442 converts, one a W30. Talk about the one that got away…

    Like 8
  5. JoeNYWF64

    Show me the window sticker! I still seriously doubt ANY Monza TOWN COUPES with a TRUNK, or Wagons got ANY v8, let alone a 350!
    I guess the 350 in the hatchback 2+2 got a turbo 350 trans?
    One would think these might be faster than a camaro with a 350 – in ’75!
    Why would a 350 meet emissions & a 262 would not? – both with converters.
    Makes no sense,

    Like 3
    • Joe Padavano

      The VIN is provided in the ad – 1M27H5C238545. The fifth character of the VIN is engine code, and in 1975, “H” was the 350 2bbl motor. I didn’t believe it either until I checked this. I thought they were all 262s.

      Like 8
      • JoeNYWF64

        Oddly this sister car got only one engine & no v8 of any kind!
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buick_Skyhawk#First_generation_(1975%E2%80%931980)
        So you could probably get the lot faster Monza with a v8 for less money than the “upscale” buick version.
        I never seen 1 of these later front drivers with hidden headlites …
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:%2787_Buick_Skyhawk_Sedan.jpg

        With a 350 in a monza town coupe, does it share a not so stout rear end with 4 cylnder monzas, or a narrowed 10 bolt used in the camaro?

      • Little_Cars

        JoeNYWF64 that Buick Skyhawk in the Canadian version with hidden headlights. I don’t think they were offered in the US. Looks vaguely similar to the Reatta front end design. Hmmm Anybody else notice the subject Monza is sitting high in the front? Guess the motor is just hanging over it’s mounts or this thing has the heaviest coils in the front to be able to suspend the front-heavy mill. Lord, I hope the rear end is up to the task….

      • Miguel

        Little_Cars If you are talking about the ’80’s Skyhawk, yes they were sold in the US with the covered headlights just as the Pontiac Sunbirds were.

        Like 1
    • thomas f

      I had a 75 Town Coupe with the 5.7 (350). It was orange with black vinyl top and black interior. It had sat unsold almost 2 years on the Oakland CA Chevy lot. NOBODY wanted this car in that color with a thirsty V8 during the gas crunch era. Fun to drive, miserable to work on and they would often tear the subframe from torque (crap horsepower). Wish I kept it instead of trading on an Omni.

      Like 3
    • Duaney Member

      There are a lot of engines of various displacements and due to many factors some run cleaner than others, that’s why CA required the 350, instead of the 262. The Olds 307 ran super clean with the electronic carburetor all the way to the 90’s, but the Chevy V-8’s were dirty and had to go to fuel injection earlier. I have 3 Monza Town Coupes with the V-8, it was an option.

      Like 4
    • Little_Cars

      Wow, Miquel, my family owned both a Skyhawk and a Sunbird from this era. Great little cars. But I never noticed the hidden headlights…was this an option? this must have been one of my low points in noticing anything automotive, probably because I was headed off to get my masters degree (attempted) and walked everywhere for three years when these cars were issued.. . Learn something new every day!

    • blpadge2

      Dude, I drove my stepmother’s 1975 Monza notch back Towne Coupe in HS and college from 1982 to 1988. I assure you it came from the factory with the 4.3 L (262 cid) V8.

      Traded it in in 1988 on a new Beretta (car not gun). Got like $500 for it. I had it to do other I would have dropped a 327 in it, fat rear tires and yes had a sleeper.

  6. RATTLEHEAD

    going to meed those heads for ANY performance gains at all with that smogger 350

    Like 3
  7. Al_Bundy Member

    Steve R. Who cares ! Most of us read to check stuff out, not in need of counsel on price…

    Interesting feature. Did a little research and apparently the 350 was only available in CA and high altitude regions in 1975. Tuned to only 125 HP, so really no gain over the 262 but a $h!# ton more potential. The 305 was introduced for ’76 across the board at 140 HP. Always kind of liked these cars and their potential. A friend had the 231 V-6 in a Buick Skyhawk and it moved and handled pretty well for what it was.

    Like 9
  8. jerry z

    Build the 350, add a higher stall TC and leave the body alone along with the hubcaps! Just add drag radials for the ultimate sleeper.

    Like 4
  9. GTiDave

    From Wikipedia: For 1975 only, Monzas sold in California and high altitude areas met the stricter emissions requirement by substituting a version of the 5.7 liter (350 cid) V8 engine with a two-barrel carburetor tuned to just 125 hp (93 kW)

    Like 4
    • Joe Padavano

      145 HP, per the factory documents. Don’t believe everything you read on Wikipedia.

      Like 2
  10. GTiDave

    Opps, Sorry @Al_Bundy didn’t see your comment

    Like 2
  11. Evan

    I believe the V8 Monza was the car where you had to remove the motor mounts or go in through the fender to change the #8 spark plug

    Like 5
    • Fitz

      Not if ya had a hole saw. Don’t ask…..

      Like 13
  12. b-rad jeepster

    I had a 1978 Pontiac sunbird with a 305 V-8 and you could use a double swivel to get at the plugs. Wow was that a fun ride

    Like 8
  13. Moparman Member

    In 1977, a miltary friend of mine had a Monza visually identical to this one, except that his had the 262 and a four speed manual. It wasn’t terribly quick or fast, but was fun to drive with the stick! :-)

    Like 6
  14. Karl

    I did not know the Monza ever had a 350? I would have to say it would be darn hard to build this as a sleeper, my point being if you built a decent engine limited HP to 400 what are you going to need to do to get the car to hook up? Limited slip rear would be only a start and a loose converter is only going to make it worse. Do you tub it and put a big set of drag radials on it? Well there goes your sleeper concept. I think it would be difficult without electronic traction control.

    Like 4
    • Rick C.

      Extremely fun to drive, Think of busting tires loose at almost any speed with a nicely tuned motor.

  15. RH FACTOR

    Like the Vega, these had the structural integrity of a marshmallow.

    Like 5
  16. Russell Ashley

    The dealer bill of sale shows that it has thirteen inch wheels. I think you would have a problem hooking up with those, but I would lose those any way if it were mine. I don’t care about the sleeper image, I’d rather have a better looking set of wheels on it. I don’t want it, just my thoughts on it.

    Like 6
  17. Achman

    Rare does not always mean desirable, and certainly not valuable.

    Like 8
    • Steve

      Amen.

      Like 2
  18. Lynn Member

    Monza mirage. 305 ci. 13 inch tires and an open rear. U could lay some rubber on the GA asphalt. Old high school bud had one. The head cheerleader had the 262 in her coupe too.

    Like 2
    • Lynn Member

      I meant PA asphalt. Not GA. That’s an Alan Jackson song

      Like 2
  19. Major Thom

    Seller just also put this car on facebook marketplace with a verbose description including everything but an asking price, but does invite cash offers over the phone(?) “to see if we are in the ballpark”. Also threatens to trailer it back to Ohio if he does not get offered what he wants for it. He just may have to do that, as a not-that-old car without ac will be a hard sale in hot’n’humid central FL, especially at the price level he seems to be looking for.

    Like 6
  20. Paul L Windish

    I bought a ’75 Monza Hatchback new with the 262 motor in early ’75. I bought it in IL so I did not know that 350’s were available in CA. The Monza ran great with the 262, but changing plugs was an issue on one back cylinder. I saw a Vega with a built 350 on a Rte 66 Cruise through IL a few years back and it was a beast.

    Like 3
  21. vlrd56

    125 hp for 5,7 liters whoua

    Like 1
  22. Robert May

    Interesting find and discussion. I don’t care for the engine mods, doesn’t really fit this cars look. Someone above mentioned the 231 V-6. Seems that one of those w/ a turbo would be a good fit. Put some better tires and wheels and you might have something.

  23. Steve S

    I would pass on anything that has a 350 V8 that had barely has 200 horse power unless you get the ram jet 350. It would cost to much money to get real horse power unlike a 427 that was under rated at 435 horse power but actually had 500 horse power stock.

    • Chris M.

      Your comment is partly true. SOME 427s actually made 500 horsepower from the factory. Namingly the L88 and the ZL1 COPO. Also you make an odd comparison by saying it would cost too much to make “any real horsepower” as opposed to a 427. Have you attempted to build a 500 horse 427 lately? Not cheap. You need to go back and do more reading Steve. Your comprehension is incomplete. Good day sir!

  24. Troy s

    I could never figure out what the Monza was competing with as a child of the seventies,, then it hit me….the glorious Mustang II. I’ve heard of the 350 powered Monza but never really looked either. Seems like a perfectly good concept to a weirdo like me.
    Pull it, install a torquey 383 that’s fairly mild, 700R for the low first gear, and keep the ratio in the low three’s. It will move with the right tire/wheel set up……for how long is anyone’s guess. Awe, forget it.

    Like 2
  25. BigKahuna13

    Craigslist ad is gone now :(

  26. Miguel

    When I worked at a Chevy store in 1987, the tune up mechanics told me these wold routinely break the motor mounts causing the engine to sit directly on the frame. That would cause terrible vibrations in the car, but what can you do when it is a design flaw?

    Like 1
    • Chris M.

      Indeed Miguel. You certainly bring priveleged insight to the board.

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