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Olds 455 V8 Power! 1976 Chevrolet Monza

The Chevy Monza was a derivative of the company’s first subcompact and would be in production from 1975 to 1980. It was similar to the Pontiac Sunbird, Buick Skyhawk, and Oldsmobile Starfire. They were built as economy cars but could also be had with a small-block V8 for some extra zip. This one from 1976 was assembled with a 262 V8, but someone got the idea early on to drop in an Oldsmobile 455. The conversion is said to have been done properly, but the Chevy hasn’t been registered for more than 15 years. Located near Palmdale, California, this potentially powerful Bow-Tie is available here on craigslist for $4,900. Thanks for this odd tip, “Nevadahalfrack”!

Not to be confused with the Corvair Monza of the 1960s, the 1970s Monza was available in two body styles, the 2+2 hatchback and the “Town Coupe” (like the seller’s car). Its direct competitor was the Ford Mustang II. Most of them were built with an inline-4, but V8s up to 350 cubic inches were offered at one time or another. The automobile was a modest sales success, with more than 83,000 copies sold in 1976, and the Town Coupe comprised more than 56% of sales.

The seller doesn’t know the history of this car or why the transplant was done, but that makes this Monza a one-of-a-kind. It sports a sticker from the DMV that “legalizes” the work that was done, which must have been important to an earlier owner. Its running condition after sitting is suspect as the seller has only tried to fire it up, not get it running. The fuel system probably needs cleaning from sitting and the seller didn’t want to subject the engine to potentially bad gas.

We’re told the orange paint is original and we don’t see any rust. We also don’t get to see the interior, so its condition is unknown. New tires have been installed so the car will roll easily, but the brakes will require a new master cylinder. The seller says the title is missing, so check with your DMV on the process for obtaining a new one before buying. This Chevy could be an interesting topic at your next Cars & Coffee!


  1. KC John Member

    Get it running and invest heavily in rear tires. Tons of burnout fun.

    Like 13
    • Stan

      Manic 🤪🥴😵‍💫😜 Monza 🏁

      Like 3
      • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

        Stan, your comment reminds me of a song named “Manic Mechanic” by ZZ Top. It could be written about this car, if you use your imagination.
        Check it out:

        Just my humble opinion, but Deguello is one of the best Blues Rock albums ever made. Before ZZ Top turned all MTV.

        Like 2
    • Terrry

      Also replacement steering parts

      Like 2
  2. Driveinstile Driveinstile Member

    I agree. This would do GREAT in a burnout competition. I could see Derek Bieri from Vice Grip Garage doing it!!! The body looks pretty solid too. My Grandpa had a 79 (at least I think it was a 79) Monza wagon, silver with a red interior and the Buick 3.8. It was a great car but NJ has a tendency to rust these things out.

    Like 4
  3. Jack M.

    I’m surprised that they could shoehorn that 455 Oldsmobile engine in there. Definitely no lightweight.

    Like 12
    • Rico B. Lee

      I’m sure they shoehorned it in with the stock manifolds. I can’t see headers going on there without some kind of modification being done.

      Like 0
  4. DW

    Being that it’s a lightweight car with a torque engine designed to push heavy cars, I’d say…..good….as long ad it doesn’t twist the car like a twizzler and as long as you can get it to hook up.

    Like 9
  5. Nostromo

    My brother remarked that he could feel the stock V8 in this vehicle torquing the body.

    Like 7
    • Robert Atkinson, Jr.

      The stock V8 was a smog-choked 262, the 455 that’s in it now will twist that unibody into a pretzel! Unless you put some serious stiffening aids, such as torque boxes, subframe connectors or a full frame under it! Remember, these were designed to carry GM’s Wankel engine. When GM cancelled the Wankel, they shoehorned a small-block V8 into it, but you had to jack up the engine to change the rear spark plugs! How you service that big-block 455 is one of the great mysteries of the Universe, like resolving the conflict between Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, LOL!

      Like 8
    • BrianT BrianT Member

      Are there still turkey farmers out in back of Palmdale? Few will get it.

      This could be fun with some additional fabrication.

      Like 4
      • 370zpp 370zpp Member

        Oh yeah. fz forever.

        Like 3
  6. Gagagarage

    A gasser? Really? That’s been done so many times.

    It’ll never be really valuable, but it might be more fun to do a complete restoration.

    Like 5
  7. Maggy

    Goodnight Irene for the differential.It’ll need a 9 inch.Wonder what trans it has.Cool car.Not a bad price.I’d love to check out the build quality on a lift.The Dr. is smiling.

    Like 9
    • Driveinstile Driveinstile Member

      I was just picturing them leaving a Turbohydramatic 200 in there. It might last one block.

      Like 7
      • maggy

        one block? you’re being generous. I replaced many of those turds.Behind a 68 455 …ka boom.

        Like 2
      • BrianT BrianT Member

        I doubt they left the original transmission in there as the BOP pattern on the back of that 455 isn’t the same as the Chevy bell housing.

        Like 2
    • maggy

      .gm made uni cases too where the trans would accept any gm engine.Don’t know if that’s the case with this one though.

      Like 1
  8. Timothy R Herrod

    A buddy of mine had a Monza with a 454 in it. It still had the stock rear in it and I knew it wasn’t going to live. Surprising thing was it did, what didn’t live were the stock upper control arm mounts. The tourqe ripped them out of the body. Re-weld and do it again. Life was simple back in the 80’s

    Like 9
    • thomas h

      I had the CA-only 5.7 (350) and it did the same thing. Mine was also orange w/ black vinyl top – sat for 2 years unsold!

      Like 5
  9. Richard Haner

    coolest feature of all that barely ever happens is it going through the BAR here in Ca…In that time frame,they only would have had any thing smog related to the 68 engine,which would be just about nothing…That was some forethought to do it the right way…

    Like 4
  10. Frank TA

    Heater core has been bypassed. Probably needs a new heater core.

    Like 1
  11. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    That sticker must be a “California Thing”.

    Like 0
  12. denny knebel

    looking for a pair of front parking -turnsignals lamp assemblies for a 1977 chevy monza-any help would be appreciated.

    Like 1
  13. Claudio

    I traded one of these for some security work at a body shop , it had the v8 , never looked at the numbers but funky owner claimed 350 , with a good lower engine knock , it would smoke the tires effortlessly …
    I wanted it as cruiser/racer but my associate kept bashing the car and me for wasting time with a pos , first i junked the car, second i dumped the associate !

    Like 0

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