Same Family Since New: 1971 Chevrolet Monte Carlo

Chevy introduced the Monte Carlo in 1970 as its entrant into the world of personal luxury cars. During its lifetime, the MC would share its underpinnings with either the Pontiac Grand Prix or other GM intermediates. The early Monte Carlo’s were noted for having one of the longest hoods you could find on a Detroit car. This one family-owned machine has documentation going back to the day it left the dealer and is in generally good original condition. Situated in Northwood, New Hampshire, the cruiser is available here on eBay where the bidding has reached $15,000.

Deriving its name from the namesake Monegasque city, the Monte Carlo model line was produced across six generations through 2007, although it had a break between 1989-94. It flew the Lumina flag during this period. While the early editions were Chevy’s version of the car that Pontiac marketed, I always thought there was a resemblance to the Malibu that was a bit unmistakable. First generation MCs were built for three years (1970-72) before taking on Colonnade design and styling in 1973. The ’71 editions were little changed over the ‘70s, but sales were negatively impacted by a 67-day labor strike against GM in the Fall of 1970.

Upon its original purchase, this ’71 Monte Carlo is said to have spent almost its entire life in New Jersey with one member of the same family or another. 50 years later, the body is still good except for a small rust spot at the bottom of the passenger side right front fender. The car was repainted in its original color of Classic White (more of a cream) 15-20 years ago. Despite its northern exposure, the car appears to have survived well without having been undercoated from the factory.

The interior of the Monte Carlo is a bit more worn than the exterior of the car, with the passenger side bucket seat oddly being more worn than the drivers. It looks kind of sunburned with a large split seam down the middle. Hopefully that can be repaired to look like the other without having to redo all the upholstery. It has power steering and brakes and factory air conditioning, all common stuff in those days. The A/C will require a recharge to keep the occupants cool.

Under the massive hood (the engine starts about mid-way back) lies a 402 cubic inch V8, said to be from the factory. This is not to be confused with the 400 short block that was also around at the time. The 402 is a big block derivative of the 427. In smaller Chevies like the Nova, it continued to be marketed as the 396, but the bigger Bow Tie cars labeled it as what it was, a 402. The whole scenario was/is a bit confusing as this article explains, but the motor should have been good for 300 hp. Chevy wanted to give the Monte Carlo some muscle without calling it a muscle car.

This vehicle has a mileage listing of 34,000, but it’s likely that it has turned over (back in those days, manufacturers were less confident in the longevity of their cars, I suspense, and the odometer only registered through five significant digits). The seller has installed a new dual exhaust system, so it looks like its ready for its next adventure. The average resale value of the ’71 Monte Carlo is about $15,000, according to Hagerty, or about where the bidding is now.

Fast Finds


  1. Arthell64 Member

    I don’t understand the super sport claim. Monte Carlo SS would have a 454. I didn’t SS mentioned in the eBay ad. Super nice car.

    Like 2
    • Russ Dixon Staff

      There is an SS emblem on the back. Maybe someone wished it was an SS.

      Like 6
      • PatrickM

        I hear what you are saying. Just because someone slaps a label on an object doesn’t make it true. But, since I am not a truly knowledgeable individual when it comes to these Monte Carlos, I can’t say for sure. I was working to support a family. But, the car does look clean, yet, the interior shows some wear but, it hasn’t been destroyed. It would have been nice to see under the carpets. That’s okay. A carr that is 50 years old is going to need some loving.

        Like 1
  2. Big_Fun Member

    This one is not as pure as one would think. After the first impression, I see that it was built with a vinyl roof. That, and the repaint should signal that there is a lot of body filler in this one.
    A nice driver with some flaws…covered up. Just be realistic on this east coast auto.

    Like 16
  3. Skorzeny

    The 402 is a big block derivative of the 427? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought the 402 was a .030″ over 396…
    I would like this Monte if it was a darker color, and had some Torque Thrust’s on it, with no whitewalls!

    Like 16
    • jwzg

      That’s correct, and as pointed out in a comment by @Mr. Dave below, the physically smaller (and far less durable) 400 is a small-block…not short-block.

      Like 2
  4. 8banger Member

    All issues aside, and general mentioning of issues, that’s one of the coolest looking shifters ever made.

    Like 13
  5. GS350

    it has oil spray undercoat and rattle can engine overspray I suspense

    Like 3
  6. JCA

    You can see on the NJ title that it had 135k miles on it 2 years ago so why list it at 34K…and looks like the current owner hasn’t registered it, there’s no shot of a title or NH plates

    Like 6
  7. Mr Dave

    When the engine was explained, writer says “not to be confused with the 400?short block” SHORT? C’mon I am sure the writer can do better.

    Like 3
    • Rick

      And the misuse of the word “suspense” when they meant “suspect” jumped right off the page.

      Like 1
  8. Johnny Cuda

    Sandalwood with a brown vinyl roof.

    Like 2
  9. 68custom

    For 71 a 402 was available in the SS monte and the trunk mounted SS emblem would be correct!

    Like 1
    • Glen


      SS’s we’re only produced in 1970 (3,823) and 1971 (1,919).

      And ALL SS’s had the 454 LS5. And Turbo 400’s.


      Like 13
      • Patrick Curran

        You are 100% correct!

        Like 4
    • Don Eladio

      No Monte Carlo SS ever came with a 402.

      Like 2
    • Joey2

      I have to call BS on that. I think that you are confusing it with the Chevelle.

  10. TPK

    Rattle car paint job on engine, (over spray on fuel pump), totally wrong wheel covers, and as someone else noticed, in no way is it an SS. Just an added emblem!
    All other issues mentioned tells me stay away! This vehicle may not be as presented!

    Like 2
  11. Richard A Jernberg Member

    I had a 71 MC with a 402, 400 trans, and 12 bolt and it was not an SS. Bench seat. Just saying. You could get what you wanted.

    Like 3
  12. Patrick Curran

    In 1971, Chevy offered the Turbo Fire 400 which was a small block and the Turbo Jet 400 which was actually a 402 big block. Basically a bored out 396. The decal on the air cleaner on this one is not correct for 1971. It should be white and black letters/numerals on a silver background.
    A bought a new 1971 Monte Carlo with a 402 big block, turbo 400 transmission and 12 bolt rear end and it is still in my possession.

    The wheel covers on this car are not correct and I can’t tell what they come off of. I like them better than the standard Monte wheel cover which was always plain looking to my eyes. My car has the rally wheels on it.

    Like 6
    • Grey O’Brien

      I think those wheel covers came from 80s Cadillac Fleetwood, with the centers removed.

      Like 5
      • Patrick Curran

        I believe you are right. It looks like the centers are painted to match the car.

        Like 2
  13. DuesenbergDino

    A repaint in itself doesn’t always mean heavy body work or rust repair has been done. Could be simple reason like scraped something down the side when moving items in the garage. Vandalism is a big one as people are known to key up a nice vehicle just for their sick thrills. Plus 30 year old paint will get thin after years of washing and waxing. During my time in production body shops I painted 100’s and 100’s of cars just on a respray.

    Like 2
    • Don Eladio

      …or, more likely, it could be that it was just another rusty, crappy, New Jersey car.

      Like 2
  14. Rollin Stone

    My first car was “72 MC, 402, in 1979, owned by then Eastern Airlines Pilot, Hugger Orange, Tan vinyl top & interior. Great car, was so fun to pass all my buddies in their Datsuns & Toyotas, although they might pass me at the gas station. Good times.

  15. Joe

    I always get a laugh from some non car guys picking something apart. This one presents decent, not show, but could be a driver. IF you are so obsessed with the SS 454 Monte, there has been a blue one on eBay off and on for 77K. THAT car is near perfect and documented. SO, Why don’t they buy that one? AYY, There’s the rub! They want a 1000 point car for driver prices! Good luck finding that one! Yep, the numbers matching, no rust ever, and every option available… PLUS a mint interior, and all the records and sales stuff… ALL for their high offer of 1500.00 DELIVERED with a full tank of 93 octane!

    Like 5
  16. Mike Pixley

    Looks like moldy water damaged interior.

  17. Gray Wolf

    A 402 is just a 396 cleaned up! Why? Because any engine over 400ci had more relaxed emissions requirements.

    Like 1

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