Like New With 37K Miles: 1977 Chevrolet Monte Carlo

While 1977 ushered in GM’s newly downsized “B” body cars, it also ushered out the “A” body cars like the Malibu, LeMans, Cutlass, Century, Grand Prix, and the Monte Carlo like this 1977 example. It is located in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and available here on eBay for a current bid of $6,700, reserve not yet met. And true to form, this being the final year for this second generation of the Monte, the choice in models was limited to only two, a basic “S” hardtop or a better endowed Landau model.

Styling is always subjective, and in my estimation, Chevrolet nailed it with the first generation (1970-1972) Monte. The second-generation (1973-1977)? Not so much so but it was reflective of the gold chain, polyester suit, open (way-open) collar shirts of the time. And yes, it sold quite well averaging 312K copies per year vs the first generation’s 152k annual average; better than twice as well! And our example here is one of 411K sold in model year 1977 alone – a remarkable number. A conundrum, however, occurred as a result of the General’s ’77 downsizing in that the newly redesigned full-sized “B” body Caprice now rode on a 116″ wheelbase, same as the outgoing intermediate-sized “A” body such as this Monte Carlo. So, yes, size mattered but both models were now sporting essentially the same dimensions. The “A” body downsizing would occur in 1978 but that’s another story.

This 37K mile example shows as a Landau model but it’s not. The Landau version came with body-color mirrors for both doors, polycast wheels, a Landau top (of course), and Landau badging. On the other hand, the basic Monte Carlo S would more closely resemble this example except that there was no Landau top available for it, just a fully covered vinyl roof. So what’s up with this one? Hard to say except perhaps this car is a basic “S” model that has had the Landau top added. And if so, I’d ask why? Again, it is completely subjective, but a Landau top seems pointless for styling or otherwise. It was just one of those popular features of the time. Whatever the case, this Monte is in excellent condition with a strong, deep finish, bright chrome, and well-aligned body panels. And as for the questionable Landau top? It looks like new!

Moving inside, it looks great but not right. The front bench seat would appear to be wearing some sort of seat cover over the original upholstery or it has been recovered in a non-original pattern. Sure, it looks great but why a redo at 37K miles? The seller claims, “The interior is as new, even smells new still. It looks like its never been used.” Yes, it as new because some of it is new would be the prevailing thought. An inquiry here would be warranted. The remainder of the cabin is bright and clean with no damage to the dash pad and clear, dust-free instrument panel gauges. Ditto the carpet, there is little evidence of wear.

Powerwise, is the optional 350 CI, V8 engine that develops 170 net HP. The standard motor for ’77 was a 145 net HP version of Chevy’s  305 CI V8. And I can tell you from experience, the twenty-five additional horsepower, plus the increased torque, make all of the difference in the world. Where the 305 motor is an adequate experience, the 350 put a bit more command under the driver’s right foot. Regarding this Monte Carlo’s operational capability, the seller states, “The engine runs perfect and smooth. All I’ve done since owning it was drain the old gas, change the oil and install a new battery.” Gear changing responsibility is left up to the sole transmission choice, a Turbo-Hydramatic, three-speed automatic unit.

They may only be new once, but this Monte Carlo still looks the part 43 years after the fact. There are twenty-three bids pursuing this Chevy working towards an unknown reserve.  And while this is a very nice, excellently kept and maintained example of one of Chevrolet’s greatest sales hits, it’s not really a collectible automobile. That said, if you want to experience an icon of ’70s America motoring, this would be the perfect representative, don’t you think?

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Comments

  1. Lance

    I just love the personal luxury cars of the 1960s and 1970s. My dream cars for college graduation in 1976 were a Grand Prix or Monte Carlo. Wound up with a 1974 Pontiac Grand Prix from the dealers lot..same body style, low miles and cheaper than brand new. This particular 1977 looks clean but I would prefer a bright red or blue with bucket seats and floor shift automatic and a 400 V8. Still, this a beautiful example of GM design not today’s jellybean silver transportation appliances where all makes look alike.

    Like 5
  2. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Very nice car, and I like the color.

    My sister had a ’75 as her first car in the 80’s. I like the look of that one better than the stacked headlights of this one. It took her awhile to get used to driving a car that big. Her next car was an MGB.

    Like 6
  3. Jack M.

    Rectangular headlights make sense in a Chevy Monza to give you a lower hood line. Not much advantage to stacking 2 rectangular headlights where one 7 inch round headlight would normally live.

    Like 9
    • Millenkneeil

      Fun fact. That was one of the arguments that the manufacturers used when petitioning the gov’t to allow square headlights, a lower hood that would give a better view of the road. Then they go and stack them.

      Like 1
  4. Troy s

    Lazy, relaxed, just motoring on down the highway…it’ll get there but what’s the rush.
    Need exhilarating speed?,,,you’ve bought the wrong car brother.
    To collect cars like this cause you like them is perfectly fine, the idea of being collectable from a money angle….not so much.

    Like 7
  5. JoeNYWF64

    Changing things like headlites, front ends, tailites, etc. within the same model generation tells everyone you have a new(er) car. If the round headlites were still being used, people mite think u r driving an old smelly ’73 & are broke. lol
    Astounding condition – looks new! If those are aftermkt seat covers, they sure fit well!
    Hard to believe Olds sold 632755 Cutlasses in ’77 – about 200k more than Chevy sold Montes. – & Oldsmobile is gone!?
    How many cars did all of GM sell last year, for ex.?
    I guess electronic cruise control had yet to be developed in ’77?
    I guess the extended snorkle(hose) helped reduce pinging on unleaded.
    Not sure if trans is Turbo 350 or 400.
    I seen most of these had optional racing mirrors.
    Good luck finding ultra thin whitewall radial tires like the spare in the trunk here, today for < $75 or even $125.
    I don't like big gas gages – the needle moves faster. lol

    Like 3
    • Poppy

      Cruise control was developed in the ’40s and ’50s, I believe. While it was offered on many cars starting in the ’50s and ’60s, it still wasn’t a common option on lower priced cars until the ’80s.

      Under hood cold air intakes started being used on GM cars in the mid ’70s to lower the temperature of combustion air to improve volumetric efficiency. I assume cooler, denser intake air could reduce pinging on an engine already prone to it, but I don’t think that was the primary goal.

      GM made about 5.7 million cars in 1977

      Probably THM350, but my 1977 Vista Cruiser with a 350 had a THM400

      Like 1
  6. Joe

    Something ain’t right with this one.

    Like 3
  7. Steven Ligac

    If the description seems squirrely and the car seems squirrely you bet the deal will be squirrely, too. Mo own, personal opinion based upon my own, personal experiences.

    Like 2
  8. Boatman Member

    Jim, you really should read the seller’s statement if you’re going to feature a vehicle. He states that it has a cover on the original vinyl seat.

    Like 1
    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      Boatman:

      I did read it and it doesn’t add up. Dealers didn’t offer “dealer Installed” seat covers in those years, regardless of what the seller “believes”. I worked for a Chevy dealership for a long time, back in the ’70s and never encountered them or had a buyer make an inquiry.

      I stated clearly that the car had seat covers or a recovering of some sort and agree that they look professionally installed but they are not correct. My question still stands, why? Why would you cover up perfectly good, assuming they are, 37K mile seats with seat covers? And no, compared to the original upholstery they don’t look so hot.

      JO

      Like 2
      • AAAZDAD Member

        And they probably don’t feel so hot either-that may be the point. The first owner may have appreciated the durability of vinyl upholstery, but from previous experience felt they would be hot/cold, slippery or something. So buy vinyl, cover it with cloth. When it’s dirty or worn put on a new set of covers and keep those originals like new. Nobody ever said car buying decisions need to make sense. I worked at a Chevy dealer during this era managing the new car prep Dept. Even though infrequent, we did occasionally have an order for seat covers to be installed-usually the clear vinyl over cloth though. And this was a time when aftermarket add-on’s took off like gangbusters. The sales department seemed to love it, obviously the considerably higher margins is what the real motivation was. Vinyl tops, body molding, pin stripes, sound systems and a host of others. And Jim, in my neck of the woods, most all those items were touted as “Dealer Installed” including be listed on an addendum window sticker as such. We outsourced most all of that work, some offsite and some vendors came to us, but in the end all these items would have been “dealer installed” in the minds of our customers. I myself am partial to ‘77s. I ordered a new black over black Landau with a white bucket seat interior, 350-4bbl and all the boxes ticked with the exception of a sunroof. I loved that car!!!

        Like 2
  9. Superdessucke

    That top looks indeed aftermarket. If it were stock, it’d have the Monte Carlo emblem just behind the quarter window and not as “padded” looking. The seat covers are another mystery. Why professionally install seat covers with hog rings over the original upholstery? It’d have almost certainly been cheaper to go with a landau model with the vinyl top and custom cloth seats already on it from the factory. Car must have had an eccentric original owner.

    Like 2
  10. w9bag

    I bought on of these in 1978. Mine had the swivel seats, center console with floor mounted shifter, and a 350 4bbl. Wonderful driving car.

    Like 1
  11. Big Mike

    Personally I think Chevy hit it out of the park with this design. Agressive, Big bodied take no poop from anyone car.

    Like 5
  12. George Mattar

    No Turbo 400 in any 76 or 77 Monte. I was the assistant service manager at a very busy Chevy Olds dealer when these were new. We sold many, but Cutlass still was number one seller. I bought a used 100,000 mile 76 Monte in 1982, had a ton of that work done. Bought new GM fenders and drivers quarter panel. Stuff was cheap 38 years ago. Had the car painted. I removed the completely useless full vinyl top before taking the car to my friends body shop in State College, PA. He let me strip off all the paint to save money. The car was the beautiful GM color Mahogany. I boughtbused Rally wheels and ordered all new trim and center caps from GM. Can’t do that today. Other than a radiator and a few alternators, $40 then, and normal wear, I drove that car until 1990 putting another 103,000 miles on it. Never used oil. Air blew 40 degrees. Super comfortable with swivel buckets. I have it to my brother. The trans took a crap at 239,000 miles. He sold the car for $150. If GM would get their head out if their butt and build cars like this, we would see a lot fewer Ugly Jap POS cars today. I miss the 70s.

    Like 4
  13. John Oliveri

    My buddy had a 77 landau, blue, white interior, white half top, factory sunroof and all the toys, tilt cruise power windows locks and seats, 350 was no powerhouse but, adequate, Spoke wheels and 1.5 inch whitewalls, ready for all the clubs in Westchester county and Long Island, great car great days, Barry White on the 8 track

    Like 2
  14. Vince H

    I was selling these and had one. Mine was a 305. Power was enough but a 350 would have been better. It had a basket weave type wheel cover with the Landau emblem on them. It was a nice cruiser. Sold it in 2005 after my wife passed. She loved that car.

  15. Chuck Dickinson

    Simple way to tell an aftermarket vs OE top. The OE tops had a color-matched vinyl trim strip around it. Aftermarket had a “chrome” trim strip. A cheap way for the dealer to make a buck on the top when they were ordered w/out one.

    • John Oliveri

      Dealer installed, big money maker, my cousin bought a 76 MK IV off the floor, gorgeous car, everything in it, sunroof etc, no 8 track, dealer installed a Audiovox adj shaft one, with the rubber gasket, no pushbuttons for the radio, you had to roll the dial to change stations, hysterical

      Like 1
  16. lc

    This is a classic color for this car and other 70s and 80s era vehicles. My first car a 73 Monte Carlo was this color. And I recently sold a 84 Mercury Cougar LS in this color.

  17. YourSoundMan

    Is it true that the 1977 downsized B-body GMs were mounted onto a modified version of the ’73-77 A-body midsized?

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