Real SS 454? 1970 Chevrolet Monte Carlo

The Monte Carlo was Chevrolet’s new personal luxury car for 1970, sharing GM’s “A-Special” platform with the Pontiac Grand Prix. It turned in some solid numbers out the gate, 142,153 Sport Coupes for the first model year. With the car’s emphasis on luxury and style, it’s not surprising that the performance edition of the car, the Monte Carlo SS 454, didn’t fare as well. Just 3,823 copies left the assembly line for 1970. This seller believes this is one of those cars but doesn’t have documentation to back it up. From New Bern, North Carolina, this sharp Chevy is available here on eBay where bidding has reached $24,200.

For $420, buyers of the 1970 SS 454 got a lot of value for their money in 1970. That included a 360-hp, 454 engine, and Turbo-Hydramatic transmission; 3.31:1 rear axle ratio; F41 suspension with heavy-duty shocks and springs; additional frame stiffeners; boxed lower rear control arms, and an upgraded front anti-roll bar as well as a rear anti-roll bar. Add to all that a G67 Automatic Level Control system with Superlift rear shocks, dual exhaust with bright exhaust trumpets, 15 x 7-inch Rally wheels with G70-15 tires, and “SS 454” callouts on the forward end of the rocker panel moldings.

So, what was there not to love? Well, it was pricier and heavier than the Chevelle which could also be ordered as an SS 454, and the Monte Carlo didn’t have the Chevy Camaro’s youthful, sporty persona. The seller’s car is wearing a black vinyl roof over a dark green exterior and matching interior. The paint was redone a dozen or so years ago and looks to have held up very nicely. At less than 80,000 miles, the inside of the car presents extremely well.

While there is a 454 under the hood, it’s not the one the seller says the car left the factory with. A prior owner replaced it with another 454 that’s said to be a “high performance” edition and added with it a Flowmaster crossover exhaust system. The original transmission was rebuilt and beefed up with a better shift kit to handle more horsepower. This was a factory A/C car, but it was removed with the engine and the seller couldn’t come to terms with the previous owner to acquire both it and the original engine.

The seller has continued to improve the automobile and recently added a new 750 Edelbrock carburetor, HEI distributor, and completely serviced the fuel system. New, wider Rally wheels with Mickey Thompson raised white later tires are now part of the mix. These cars are not easy to identify as real deal SS 454s and the cowl tag on this one doesn’t help much either. But some of the hints are there, like the tiny badging on the bottoms of the front fenders.

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Comments

  1. Fahrvergnugen Fahrvergnugen Member

    Green with envy. Nice car, legit or otherwise doesn’t matter as it has a newer engine anyhow. Drive and enjoy this classic!

    Like 26
  2. 8banger 8banger Member

    A musing: I believe the (450HP) LS-6 was offered in the SS versions of these, and that said, they should have come with a TH400 transmission – more than enough to handle that power…hmm…

    Like 9
    • 8banger 8banger Member

      And it looks like it has/had AC – would this disqualify the almighty LS-6?

      Like 8
    • CCFisher

      There are persistent rumors of LS-6 Monte Carlo SSs, but there are no known documented examples. Same with 454/4-speed Monte Carlos. People claim to have owned or seen one, but nobody has documentation to back it up.

      Like 16
      • Steve R

        This is a rumor that will never die. As you said, no one has ever provided a shred of documentation and never will, but that hasn’t slowed down or tempered the assertions.

        Steve R

        Like 11
  3. George Mattar

    Ok. I have owned 2 Montes. First, no LS6 available in MC. Second, correct no factory AC available with LS6. Very nice car and yes not stupid money with a better engine than new and headers so the monster can breathe. Far better than that $250,000 Stupidbird.

    Like 24
  4. flmikey

    My friend had a ’70 Monte Carlo SS with an LS-6 in it…his dad was the service manager at a Chevy dealership, ordered it new with the LS-5, and had an LS-6 put in at the dealership…fortunately, when sonnyboy grenaded the LS-6, dad had kept the original engine…last I heard, he still had it…

    Like 10
    • John S Dressler

      Which is exactly why there is no documented LS6 ever put in an SS Monte from the factory. It didn’t happen. No four speeds either. You can, however, rebuild the stock LS5 454 that was installed at the factory to LS6 specifications, like the 454 in my 70 Super Sport Monte.

      Like 12
  5. AW

    If it is a real Monte SS, the compressor tank for the G67 Automatic Level Control system would be mounted on the inside left front fender. Of course it could have been removed. It does have the boxed lower control arms below the 12-bolt rear & the rear sway bar. Only the build sheet would say if it’s the real deal. Still a nice car.

    Like 16
  6. Dave

    I don’t see any interior or exterior ss badging on this nice monte

    Like 2
  7. Cadmanls Member

    I see it has the badging on the rocker molding, but I think there was a small badge at the rear below the Monte emblem. Years ago I saw rocker badging at swap meets. Did offer big block Monte’s back then seen a few, but the SS cars are rare. I almost snagged a yellow SS years ago then the guy blew the engine probably street racing. Broke it hard.

    Like 4
    • Patrick Curran

      The rear badge was for 1971 only and it also had a black rubber rub strip across the upper portion of the rear bumper. 1971 also had the panel between the trunk lid and rear bumper painted black with a molding separating the two colors.

      Like 1
  8. Domenic DAlessandro see

    Beautiful car, I would love to own it.

    Like 6
  9. timothy r herrod

    In 1980 a friend of mine had a blue 70 Monte that had the SS454 badges on it with a small block for an engine. That was a great looking car and i tried to buy it from him but before we could come to an agreement he crashed the front end up badly and was not so pretty anymore. That happened to a lot of nice cars

    Like 6
  10. Terrry

    I’d rather have this, a beautiful non-numbers matching car than a numbers- matching rust bucket any day. As of this typing, it’s past 25k. Still a good deal.

    Like 9
  11. gbvette62

    One of my cousins had a 70 Monte Carlo in the same color combo, but his was a 350 4bbl, with a green cloth bench seat interior and a 4 speed. He had a 68 Corvette, but by 1970 he’d been in an accident with it, and had gotten enough tickets that he was having trouble getting insurance for it…..at any price. The Monte Carlo was nondescript enough that it flew under the insurance companies radar, but with a 4 speed, it was still fun to drive.

    Monte Carlo’s aren’t my thing, I’m more into Corvettes, Camaro’s and El Camino’s, so I can’t comment much on whether this is a real SS or not. I’ve seen 4 speed Monte Carlo’s, and even a 3 speed one, but I’ve never seen an SS454 Monte Carlo with a 4 speed.

    Like 2
    • John S Dressler

      To Dave, Cadmals, Timothy, gbvette62, and all the other great classic car owners and article authors who post to this site with their knowledgeable comments. I have owned three first-gen Montes, 2 of which were 70 SuperSports, and have owned a 70 triple black SuperSport 454 Monte for the last 12 years so they are kind of my small corner of expertise. I think they are one of the most beautiful body styles Chevrolet ever made so I own one (so are 57’s, so I own one of those too). I’m also a member of the First Gen Monte Carlo Club of North America.

      The only badging on a genuine 70 Monte Supersport is an SS 454 emblem on the lower portion of the front fender at the bottom of the trim piece. It’s understated, and not immediately recognized unless you know where to look. The 70 SuperSport came stock with 360 horsepower. You could get a bench seat with the turbo 400 shift lever on the column like the one we are looking at or buckets, console, and a horseshoe shifter on the 400 Turbo console like the one I own.

      In 71 Chevy added a small additional 454 badge on the right side of the rear of the car adjacent to the MonteCarlo emblem just below the trunk lid, a medallion on the hood ornament, made the parking lights rectangular instead of round, and added five more stock horsepower to 365.

      And that was it, those were your only two options for the SuperSport model you could get in 70 or 71. No LS6, and no four-speed. If you ask any of the officers of the First Gen Monte Carlo Club of North America, they will tell you the same thing.

      The four-speed came later in 72 when Chevy stopped putting the 454 in the Monte Carlo (pressure from the insurance industry) and instead produced a Monte Carlo Sport with a 400 big block that could be had with the 400 turbo or a four-speed. The four-speeds are the rarest of the first-gen Montes ever produced at the factory and believe it or not, often the most expensive if you seek to buy one often going for more than the SS 454’s in the same condition and people who own them are reluctant to part with them.

      No 1970 owner of a Monte Carlo SuperSport from the factory has the build sheet to their car (there might be a rare exception). Monte Carlos were manufactured in Flint, Michigan and 1970 was the year of the big strike at GM in Flint and the assembly line employees were throwing the build sheets in the trash in protest instead of putting them under the fuel tank, under the springs of the front, or back seat, or behind the plastic shroud on the back of the bucket seats. The strike is the principal reason there were just a little over 3800 SuperSport Montes produced in 1970 despite being popular with the public.

      Most first-gen owners took the adjustable rear suspension compressor off the driver-side inner fender where it was mounted from the factory because they were a constant maintenance item and pretty much a piece of junk. So a first-gen Monte with its original compressor is rare. And most of them just have the compressor mounted for show. They aren’t functional.

      Any first-gen Monte wearing SS 454 badges at the bottom of the front fender with a four-speed or a small block is in that condition for one of three reasons. The car was originally a SuperSport Monte that someone grenaded the original 454 and replaced it with a small block, someone bought a 72 Sport and after grenading the 400 big block put in a small block and the SS 454 trim piece on the fender themselves, or someone just has your garden variety Monte Carlo and added the SS 454 badges at the bottom of the front fender because he wanted people to think that’s what he was driving.

      First Gen SuperSport Montes all came exclusively with the 454, 400 Turbo Automatic in one of the two interior configurations I described above. Nothing else, or it wasn’t a factory SuperSport Monte.

      The first Gen Montes are also 10 and a half inches longer than their 70 Chevelle SuperSport cousins. Many of the parts of those two cars are interchangeable because the Monte frame was extended on the engine side of the firewall. In fact, the dash and consoles are identical with exception of the fact that the mock woodgrain dash was used in the Montes, and in the Chevelles they were black. I have seen First Gen SuperSport Montes with black dashes and consoles because they were cheaper than the mock woodgrain finishes so the owners replaced the mock woodgrain with the Chevelle original equipment.

      If you back a 70 Monte SuperSport and a 70 Chevelle SuperSport up with the rear wheels to a curb side by side, the Monte will be 10 and a half inches longer than the Chevelle (ask me how I know this) which is why the Montes have such a big fan shroud. It’s also why the Montes are heavier than the Chevelle.

      I very much enjoy the comments made by the classic car owners on this site. No matter what they say. Some comments are more useful than others but hey, this is still America. You get to speak your mind. I want to thank all of you for your comments so keep em coming!

      Like 28
      • 70/72 Monte Carlo

        John, the Body Tag shows this is a Van Nuys Car. So, if the 70 SS cars were all built at Flint as you state, this car cannot be an SS. Thanks for the additional SS info. Think we have run across each other on the First Gen MC forum.

        Like 1
  12. Mikefromthehammer

    Is there a Chevrolet equivalent to the Marti Report (you provide the VIN and they provide the details of the build)?

    • DVSCAPRI

      Only Pontiac (of the GM siblings) kept any records, so unfortunately No.

      Like 2
  13. morrisangelo

    Stupidly passed on a green 71 MCSS back in the 80’s when I had no money. Car was mint but it had a spun bearing in it’s original 454.

    With $1.30 in the bank, the thought of having to rebuild at least the lower half of the engine was intimidating, so I walked……stupidly!

    I remember seeing it about a year later (repaired) at the Butler Swap Meet (Pittsburgh) and deep down inside, I cried.

    Like 3
  14. Roy Clark

    I had a 72 Monte Carlo. Traded it for a 77 Gran LeMans that was beautiful but a piece of junk that fell apart before it was paid for. I still regret trading my MC.

    Like 2
  15. Steve Gilbert

    Dave is spot on regarding the 70 SS Monte Carlo. Most of the leveling compressor systems were removed. However, few went to the trouble to remove the other hardware associated with the system. The lever over the rear axle center chunk and the air shock (bladder) stone guards are 2 additional clues to the SS 454. The heavier F41 suspension with boxed control arms and larger sway bars is the other. I have all papers on my 70 SS except for the build sheet (Assembly Plant Van Nuys CA). Including the shippers copy, dealership sales invoice, and protect o plate. Would love to see under this car for the clues to a true SS.

  16. its1969ok

    Another victim of too high stance and tailpipe mania.

    Like 1
    • John S Dressler

      its1969ok, those are the stock tailpipes that came on genuine SuperSport Montes from the factory. They are the same tailpipes that are on my 70 SuperSport Monte.

  17. CenturyTurboCoupe

    400 big block??? I’m lost on that one John.

    Like 1
    • John S Dressler

      As opposed to the 400 small block that was made later.

    • DVSCAPRI

      By that time the 396 had grown just slightly bigger – it was actually a 402 BB. But Chevy used 400 nomenclature on them. My father had a 71 Kingswood Estate Wagon & we argued for years over SB/BB until I was able to prove it (he’s not a car guy). He always went back to snap shots & the car sporting “400” badges on it. The 400 SB didn’t come about until 73/4 if I recall.

  18. 70/72 Monte Carlo

    Have owned 6 First Gens and currently own 2. More Questions than answers on the SS claim. Build Sheet tells all. This is a Van Nuys car, so their should be 1 or more Build Sheets in this car. Below is a definitive Monte Carlo SS overview.

    https://www.firstgenmc.com/forums/index.php?/resources/ss454/

  19. Haynes

    Weird that nobody had a “great memory” story about an early 70’s Monte… only pointless observations about badges and s**t…then some dude writes a freakin’ novelette about ‘em( the badges part that is) and the poor car just sits there while somebody’s gonna pay 20 k for it…freaks me out… it’s kind of a cool car.. cooler than a 76 Monte… but then again I had a “big first” in one of them…

    Like 1
  20. Mark

    Great looking car. The clones may look better though because they alway have SS badging off a Chevelle or Nova on them.

  21. Glen

    “No 1970 owner of a Monte Carlo SuperSport from the factory has the build sheet to their car (there might be a rare exception). Monte Carlos were manufactured in Flint, Michigan and 1970 was the year of the big strike at GM in Flint and the assembly line employees were throwing the build sheets in the trash in protest instead of putting them under the fuel tank, under the springs of the front, or back seat, or behind the plastic shroud on the back of the bucket seats.“

    ******

    Wrong. SS’s were also assembled in Van Nuys, Baltimore, Kansas City and even (a few) in Canada.

    I have a Van Nuys built ‘70 SS complete with build sheet and Protect-O-Plate. Original drivetrain, too.

    The GM strike definitely effected my Monte’s history: the trans was made late November ‘69, the motor and rear end in early December. Car started to be assembled (customer order) 3rd week of January ‘70. Not delivered to owner until August.

    I’m hoping to find another build sheet when I redo the interior in the spring (The one I have now appears to come off the gas tank… And I pulled the rear seat with no luck there). Hopefully locate another in one of the buckets.

    Either way, they are quite nice cars and they’re sure the hell ain’t money of them left.

    Like 1
    • John S Dressler

      Both Glen and 70/72 Monte Carlo are correct about the Van Nuys plant producing SS Montes. Sorry for the confusion. I probably should have included that information in my original post but I didn’t have any information of what happened in the Van Nuys plant during the strike, (if anything) and I was trying to keep the size of my gigantic post down as much as I could (didn’t work very well). What I should have said is that no SS Monte from the Flint plant (mine was made there) has a build sheet to their car. There was a confirmation from Flint assembly line employees that they were throwing the build sheets in the trash.

      Like 1
  22. John S Dressler

    I forgot to respond to Haynes question where it sounds like he doesn’t like long posts and he wants to know how you tell if the car we are looking at is a genuine SuperSport or not. If it’s a real SS, it will have the Z20 designation which was GM’s code for “Monte Carlo SS 454 equipment” which is printed on my factory-to-dealer shipping invoice (which I do have) and the build sheet. If you don’t have either of those documents, you would have to have a knowledgeable person inspect the car for some of the signs (like heavy-duty suspension components) that have been mentioned in other posts as to whether the car is a genuine SS.

    Like 1
  23. Popawfox

    A friend of mine had a 1970 Monte Carlo. He was sitting at a stoplight one friday night. Slipped the car into park and was revving the engine at the guy beside him. When the light turned green he slipped the gear shifter one notch back (thinking he had put it in neutral instead of park) and FLOORED it. He ran all over the front end of the cop car behind him! Hahaha! Good times. Good times.

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