Roller Project: 1970 Chevrolet Monte Carlo

First-generation (1970-1972) Chevrolet Monte Carlos occupied an unusual market niche. It slid itself in between a slot that promoted both personal luxury and performance. The personal luxury coupe compartment had been dominated by Ford (Thunderbird) and Pontiac (Grand Prix) and Chevrolet wanted a piece of that action without having to pursue a “Hey what about me?” promotional mantra. Were they successful? It would seem so, and with that thought let’s take a look at a first-year 1970 example. This Monte Carlo is located in Wellsville, New York and is available, here on Barn Finds Classifieds or here on craigslist for $2,300.

Based on the GM mid-size A-body platform, same as that used under the uber-successful Chevelle but stretched a bit, production yielded about 160K copies. Chevrolet was hoping for more but assembly was interrupted by a labor strike that trimmed about 20K units off of the budgeted projection.  Supposedly styling was the primary motivator for purchase as a personal luxury coupe or not, the MC was short on the luxury theme – most were outfitted like a nicely appointed Malibu. And while the mid-sized performance market was covered by the Chevelle, the Monte Carlo did pony up an SS454 variant and lesser models were available with powerful engines and four-speed manual transmissions.

Today, first-gen MC’s don’t realize anywhere near the market escalated prices that similar era Chevelles do and many that are found, that are not survivors, will frequently project some sort of a hotrod vibe. That was probably the case with this example based on its wide steel wheels and white-lettered tires. The bane of this generation Monte, like the Chevelle and other GM A-bodies, is rust and our subject car is no exception as the seller states, “There is floor pan rust, under the vinyl top rust, and all around the edges. The frame is rusty but still solid as far as I can see“. It’s also missing both its windshield and the rear window.

What originally powered this coupe is unknown, the engine lineup included 350 CI V8’s of 250 or 300 gross HP. The first year 400 CI small block, weighing in at 265 gross HP was also on the dance card, along with a 330 gross HP, 400 CI “Turbo-Jet” (actually 402 CI) big-block motor. The 350 was the most commonly selected powerplant so that’s probably what motivated this car at one time. Based on the spied linkage evident under the hood, and the interior images, this Monte Carlo possessed a column shifted automatic transmission.

The interior is in rough shape as the floors and door bottoms, evidenced by missing upholstery panels, are showing a lot of rust. The bench seat’s upholstery, while dusty and stained, appears to be rip-free, at least what can be seen, but the headliner has let go. The instrument panel, however, doesn’t look too bad as the gauges are still clear. The seller suggests, “This ’70 Monte Carlo was stored for a little too long. BUT…..the interior is all there“. I’m afraid he may be correct.

These first-gen Monte Carlos are really the only ones that I like. I have never cared for the second-gen (’73-’77) as I always thought that they looked like they were just prepped for the Super Fly treatment. It could also be the number of that gen that I had to work on in ’73 and ’74. I must admit an appreciation for the ’83-’88 SS version, they were a breath of fresh air at a time that needed a breath of fresh air but I’d still rather have a first-gen. This example may serve as the basis for a complete build/rebuild but it’s going to take time, talent, and treasure methinks; what’s your outlook for this ’70 MC?


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  1. stumpwi

    It’s a junkyard find! not a barn find. Should have left it there

    Like 9
  2. Vin_in_NJ

    Based on the other Monte Carlos in the photos, this looks like it was a parts car that the seller has used up and is looking to get rid of

    Like 12
  3. Greg Williams

    That’s a shell of what’s left after being parted out

    Like 3
  4. John S Dressler

    Even the non-SS models were some very comfortable and dependable driving cars in their day. Unfortunately what it would take to bring this car back to that condition would make it cost more than it would be worth. This is a car for someone with tools, talent, and a great love of a great body style who doesn’t care about being upside down in it after he was finished.

    Like 4
  5. Johnny

    This would be a good experience to learn on. The price would be more like $400-$500. Why don,t they get a title for it? Their alot of work to make this a nice car.

    Like 1

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