Sky Roof 454! 1974 Chevrolet Monte Carlo

Recalling an era when it seemed like a 350 cubic inch (5.7L) V8 powered 80% of General Motors products, finding a 1974 Chevrolet Monte Carlo like this specimen in Spokane, Washington with a 454 cid (7.4L) engine is like hitting the virtual lottery. But wait; there’s more! Factor in the car’s factory power Sky Roof, air conditioning, and other options, and this Monte Carlo becomes a veritable needle in the used car haystack. It runs and drives fine according to the seller. The listing here on eBay has garnered at least one bid, raising the market value above $6,400 without meeting the seller’s reserve.

Auto enthusiasts with a memory of the ’70s know those wide valve covers that top off Chevy’s big-block “rat” motor, a 454 cid beast that evolved from the storied 396, but with more grunt. Horsepower numbers (235) won’t rock your world, but the 360 lb-ft of torque will put a smile on your face. I’ve driven Chevy 454s from this era, and no one will confuse one with a 350-powered ride. Plus, if you so-desired, crazy power is merely a crate motor away.

The car’s seller, Jason Bagge, enjoys an internet following among fans of ’70s American steel. Mr. Bagge shares tips for freshening used cars without spending a fortune. His approach is a breath of fresh air compared to sellers who attack the engine compartment with spray paint and a half-gallon of Armor All thinking they’re improving the car’s value while simply making work for owners who value originality.

The tidy blue interior includes a six-way power seat, air conditioning, power windows, power locks, and power sunroof. Everything works except the 8-track player and cruise control, according to the listing.

The CA1 Power Sky Roof literally and figuratively tops off the fully-loaded Chevy. Showing it open is the best way to assuage fears that it will never close again. With some lubrication and adjustment, a power sunroof should last a lifetime. I’m no expert on these GM factory units, but general advice includes making sure the drain tubes are kept clear so water exits properly and not through the headliner or down one of the posts into the interior. I normally favor the First-Generation Monte Carlo, but this honest ’74, with its long hood and long options list, represents Chevrolet well for its day. Have you driven a ’70s big-block?

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Comments

  1. Moparman Member

    I, too, favor the 1st gen, but this one is impressive. I’ve never seen or even knew of the Power Skyroof option! I wonder if the rubber seals are still available, as they look very worn. A new paint job will make this one really nice, I like the rally wheels over the polycast ones. It’s a shame that it does not have the full “gage” cluster; and it would really something with the console and swivel buckets! GLWTA!! :-)

    Like 12
    • mpower

      My uncle has one black on black with the swivel buckets and console with the 454. I like this one, he might get jealous if I bought this one home.

      Like 3
      • Tux

        I had a BN 74 Monte Black w/Black herringbone swivel buckets w/T Tops and after market Keystone Chrome spoke wheels w/Firestone WL Radial tires. Beautiful car. But I wanted a Corvette so I kept it 18 months. The kid that bought it fell asleep at the wheel drunk and hit an approach with the throttle stuck to the floor. He had it 2-3 months, it was a MPH runner.

    • Chuck Dickinson

      The Polycast wheels were part of the Landau pkg. They all came with them. The rally wheels were only offered on the ‘std’ MC.

      • Chris

        You could get rallies as an option wheel on the landau cars.

        Like 1
    • Charles McBrydr

      I had a 84 with the swivel bucket seats when I was 18. Oh how I wish I could find another one.

  2. Raoul-F Raoul-F Member

    Yes, i have driven 70’s big blocks…72 Corvette 454. 4 speed… 4 Weber 2 barrel carbs, hotter cam…540 HP :-), 72 Caprice Coupe 454 365 HP, 400THM, 74 Impala pillarless 454 235 HP net. 72 Charger Rallye 440 , 284 HP net,
    75 T-Bird 460, 74 Stutz Blackhawk 455..

    Like 3
  3. Steve R

    It should be a hit among fans of 1974 Monte Carlo’s, if there are any.

    Steve R

    Like 8
    • AW

      I own a 75 Monte Carlo Landau, a 66K mile “survivor” with the 454 (last year available in the MC). 73-75 Monte 454’s are rare because of cost, declining horsepower (75 454s only had 215 horsepower) & bad gas mileage; and the sunroof option is very rare. I’ve seen maybe 5 or so 73-77 Montes with one. Next to the sunroof switch in the headliner is a plug covering an allen wrench fitting. Chevy would give you an allen wrench “crank” in the glovebox. Should you need to close the sunroof & the switch don’t work or your battery is dead, remove the plug in the headliner & use the allen wrench crank to crank the sunroof closed.

      Like 17
      • DT

        Hi AW, Glad to make your acquaintance. This blue one is a bit more than I could handle restoring but, I’m looking for just that, a 1973 – 1975 Monte Carlo 454 with all factory options still in tack, right down to the Quadrajet 4 BBL. & the Turbo Hydramatic 400 trans. If you would like to sell yours, please contact me.

      • Chuck Dickinson

        All ‘early’ sunroofs came with the crank hole/crank. It was dropped after a few years. I actually had to use one on my 77 GP (which was only a yr old) when something went haywire, and the roof panel got off kilter. I had to crank it shut enough to keep out elements before it was fixed under warranty. And, BTW, Ford retractables had a similar feature. At the top of the back seat, there’s a chrome escutcheon, and there’s a hole in there for ‘something’ to get the top up if it malfunctions. No idea how it works, but a friend had one years ago (a 58), and I remember looking at the little hole where ‘something’ went.

    • Anthony M.

      I am one. One of my first rides was a 350 1974 Monte with swivel buckets. Started my love for all Monte Carlos until the body styles of 90s and beyond.

      1970 thru the 80s… love’em.

  4. Barzini

    For about one year, I drove an olive green 1973 Monte with a 454, swivel bucket seats and power everything. There was nothing like the big block torque and sound when the 4 barrels opened up. However, it leaked oil even after it was rebuilt and, of course, got terrible gas mileage.

    I never saw a factory roof like this one.

    Like 3
  5. Superdessucke

    I remember being a teenager in ’80s and always looking at that 5th digit of the VIN. You’d almost always see the H, which was the 350 2-bbl.

    On the rare occasion when you’d find a different code it was very exciting. This should be a Y. I don’t know what the production numbers are but these have to be very rare.

    Like 1
  6. Autoworker

    File this one under strange but true. A high school buddy had a ’74 Monte. Was slowing down for a set of railroad tracks. A buck, running parallel with the tracks jumped over the hood and smashed the windshield. While flying over the roof, the deer’s hooves ripped off part of the landau top!

    Like 6
    • Steve Clinton

      Hopefully, the deer ended up in better condition than the Chevy!

      Like 1
  7. Al

    My 1st car to ‘learn’ on at 16 in ’76. Dad didn’t want me buying my cuz ’69 Z w DZ for $900 as a 1st car. After he heard him start it. So within 1st month, built the Monte’s 350, pulled the 2bbl & mani, put an Edelbrock torquer & holley 650 dbl pmpr. Slipped in a mild cam in & set of hookers. All I had was dads tools & magazine knowledge to do on my own. Month 3 put a Fairbanks trans in it w/ stall speed TC & shift kit (dads friend owned a trans shop, so I didn’t mess with that). Was maroon w/ full maroon vinyl top & Cragar SS all around, monroe airs gave the clearance needed for the rear 60’s w/o being ridiculously high. Finding out it was posi was a nice surprise! It was a runner indeed!

    Like 6
  8. Al

    Lastly, if it doesnt start for some reason do NOT fist the steering wheel on that wood strip! It stalled on me at a crowded intersection sitting at a light. I pounded it once hard pissed off & its a LOUD horn that wouldnt stop. Guy in front raising his fist thinking I’m beeping him, I’m pulling my knife out to pop that wood grain metal thing out & manipulate it to get it to stop after cpl min. Embarassing for a 16 yr old lol!

    Like 1
    • S

      Just go under the hood and pull the wire off the horn! That would have been a lot easier and less damage to the wheel.

      Like 2
      • Steve Clinton

        Hey, he was 16!

  9. Terry

    I ordered & bought new a ’73 then traded it in a year later for a new ’74 both had 454’s. The ’73 was black on black, the ’74 was gray on black, both had black vinyl roofs. I was in college & was driving most weekends between Flint, Mi and Cincinnati where I lived. I ordered the ’74 with a 2.73 rearend, I needed gas mileage during the oil embargo era. LOL.

  10. Steve Clinton

    $6500.00 and the reserve has not been met. The collector car hobby has gone nuts.

    Like 2
  11. S

    Not saying this car isn’t cool and yes it has a lot of nice options, but that hood is awfully rusty and there’s plenty of peeling paint. No way I’d spend $6500 on this.

  12. Dave

    Had one of these black/red int. 454. No sunroof-That’s a very nice and rare option. Too bad it does not have swivel seats and white interior. Personally, the 73 was nicer looking. The later quad-light colonnade were nice too.

    Like 2
  13. JCA

    That 454 doesn’t even fill up the engine bay lol

    Like 2
  14. JEFF S.

    1974 is the year I graduated high school and I would like to take a look at this one, it is less than 500 miles, from my home in Montana. But alas, I am spend the winter at my daughter’s in southern Georgia. I keep watching BF listings, maybe I will get to see some nice cars, here in the south, before I return home, in spring 2021. I do not think $9 to $10 K is out of hand, if the car runs out well. I have skills to do most of the paint work, so that would be a big savings, for me. In a few years the car will be over 50 and there are plenty of after market parts available.

  15. Super Glide

    Restorable, but why? Either paint it and do the probably badly needed maintenance or park it back in front of the liquor store where they found it.

  16. Chuck

    Hmmm…
    I had one of these in high school.
    Great back seat.

    Like 2
  17. MarkO

    My uncle had a 73, red/w red top and red bench interior. He got tired of waiting for a 454 4 wheel drive he had ordered. He had been a hot rodder all his life, was years ahead on the ratrod trend. He described the Monte’ as the fastest car (top end) he had ever had. He had a 66 GTO that was the baddest most abused animal around. He couldn’t keep the Monte on the road and it spent its fair share in it’s early years in the body shop. Testament to its use. Finally traded off for a blazer for a new hobby of mud-running. My guess was that much top speed wasn’t going to be good for his health. I have to respect that. He was known for tapping whoever he was racing in the GTO, if they were blocking him, to let them know he had more to go. So he wasn’t afraid of high speed driving. That Monte’s speedo was only 120 mph, so hard to say what it could do. But I do not doubt it was very fast.

  18. JoeNYWF64

    Surprised how little leg room there is in the back seat! Front seat thickness does not help …
    http://cdn-0.barnfinds.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/1974-Monte-Carlo-454-4-e1608122237319-630×390.jpg
    Did the older monte’s (or chevelles from their inception) have more back seat leg room?
    Those HEAVY bumpers, p/w motors, & a/c compressor aren’t helpin mpg, tho with the carb’s small primaries, a light foot could boost mpg a bit.

  19. R.Lee

    My COPO 1973 triple black Landau Custom S 454 400 3.73 posi car fully optioned save for the Sky Roof, I have owned for 38 years. Beautiful heavy ride, Strato Buckets Council, full power wearing N50’s and the Polyglass fronts.

    In stock form the smog 454 was capable of 110. Remove the air pump, headers, side pipes and flip the air cleaner lid and taller radials with the same gearing and the weesing 54 was done at a little over 120.

    The car been on a diet for the last 30 years with the original parts crated and on pallet shelves. It may be time to take the car and restore the car I bought many years ago. Take out the square port 462 transbraked 400 4.11 N9inch and the NASCAR sheet metal.

    I have had a dozen MC cars and only 3 have had 454’s 2 400 sb’s and the rest 350 145 horse or with the 4 barrel rocky 175. I love my Monte Carlo’s and there are not many left as here about the midwest either rust got them or Dirt tracks have ate them up.

    The blue car featured looks to be a decent candidate for restoration as the blue is a great color. With the normal area’s for rust, the lower rear front fenders, and in front of the rear tires and under the wheel well moldings. Push on the vinyl top for rust underneath it and if there is none in Spokane I would be surprised.

    The only real downfall can be fixed. The buckets and council. The sky roof is a plus or minus depending what kind of use you have in mind. But it better not be in the rain.

    Kuul Car!

    Like 2

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