The right balance of luxury and performance, plus decent support today, make the first-generation Monte Carlo a good buy
Because it was derived from the Chevelle, the Chevrolet Monte Carlo remains an easy car to own today. Mechanical parts, in particular, are readily attainable, and the cars themselves are affordable. Popular pricing guides suggest that a small-block powered ’71 in top condition can be obtained for right around $30,000. Those who don’t mind a fixer-upper can find bargains down in four-digit territory
.Fixing one up isn’t too bad, either. We spoke with Rob Peters, president, newsletter editor, and storekeeper for the First Generation Monte Carlo Club, and Sam Michaels, the club’s treasurer, to get some insight on what to look for when evaluating a potential purchase.
“I’d say that probably 70 percent of the parts are shared with the Chevelle,” Sam says. That’s a two-way street, however, as back in the 1980s, when investor interest in Chevelles was really taking off, the less-valuable Monte Carlos were sometimes stripped of parts to improve Chevelles.
Disc brakes, for example, were standard equipment on the Monte Carlo, and the spindles interchange with the Chevelle. Likewise, the Monte Carlo dash is the same as in a Chevelle SS, with the addition of woodgrain veneers, so not a few of those were gobbled up to produce clones
“The clocks rarely work,” Sam says, and Rob adds that many cars have been hacked to install a later radio. Additionally, dash pads crack, as does the original piping on the seats and the trim on the quarter panel, where passengers tend to brush against when getting in the back. Rob also points out that the special gauge package on Super Sport models was an option, so don’t discount an SS just because it doesn’t have one. Conversely, since that gauge package is reproduced, you can now add one to a vehicle not originally equipped