Throwback Thursday: Chevrolet’s 1970 Monte Carlo

1970monte_01

When Chevrolet introduced the Monte Carlo, it was intended to be the counterpart to the recently released Pontiac Grand Prix. Conceived by Elliot M. (Pete) Estes, general manager of Chevrolet, and Chevrolet’s chief stylist, David Holls, the styling was reported to mimic that of the Cadillac Eldorado, although they don’t look very much alike. In reality, much of the body and structural elements are shared with the Chevelle (firewall, windshield, deck lid, and rear window were the same).

Early in the design phase, the car was initially called Concours. It wasn’t until just prior to the public release, that the name Monte Carlo was attached to the car. Another not-very-well-known fact is that the Monte Carlo was proposed to be available in three flavors; a formal coupe, sedan, and even a convertible. 275859When the car finally made its debut for the 1970 model year, the two-door hardtop would ultimately be the only version available. When the Monte Carlo was formally introduced in September, 1969, Pete Estes was no longer in the picture, and his successor, John DeLorean was the face that introduced the car. Base price for this new car was $3,123, which means the Monte Carlo cost $218 more than a comparably-equipped Chevelle Malibu.

When looking inside the car, the dashboard closely resembled that of a Chevelle, except that it was given an upscale look with the addition of a faux wood overlay. According to Holls, this overlay was created by taking a photograph of the elm trim that was used by Rolls Royce in the interiors of their cars. Not designed to be a musclecar per-say, other occupant comforts included available variable-ratio power steering, power windows, air conditioning, power seats (bench or bucket), center console, and full instrumentation. Combined, these options brought the price of a fully-equipped Monte Carlo to more than $5,000.

K301BK-lrg

Interior appointments gave the Monte Carlo a very upscale appearance for the day.

Engine choices were somewhat limited, and the Monte Carlo was not available with a six-cylinder engine. The standard engine under the hood was the 350 cubic-inch small-block V8 with a two-barrel carburetor, that was rated at 250 horsepower. Optional small block engines included the four-barrel-carbureted 350 cubic-inch V8, rated at 300 horsepower, the 400 cubic-inch V8 with a two-barrel carburetor, rated at 265 horsepower.

The first-gen Monte Carlo was available with both a big-block and small-block engine.

If ordering a standard Monte Carlo, you did have a big-block option; the Turbo-Jet 402 cubic-inch V8 with a four-barrel carburetor. This engine might have been a big-block, but with 330 horsepower, it only carried 30 more horsepower than the four-barrel-equipped 350 cubic-inch small-block. Behind those engines, available transmissions were the three-speed Synchro-Mesh manual transmission. A two-speed Powerglide automatic transmission (only with the 350 cubic-inch engine), a three-speed Turbo-Hydramatic, or a four-speed manual. Even with the various transmission options, most Monte Carlos were built with the Turbo-Hydramatic.

SS

The Monte Carlo was available in a Super Sport edition for 1970, and was known as the SS 454 package. Priced at $420, the package included a 454 cubic-inch big-block with a four-barrel carburetor, delivering 360 horsepower. The SS option also gave buyers a heavy-duty suspension, wider tires, “SS 454” badging, and an automatic, load-leveling rear suspension. The Turbo Hydra-Matic three-speed automatic was the only transmission available for this package. Weighing slightly more than a comparably-equipped 454-powered Chevelle SS, the Monte Carlo SS was still quite fast. The SS option accounted for less than 3-percent (3,823) of Monte Carlos sales in 1970.

If you could go back and order your new, first-generation Monte Carlo, what options would you order on yours?

About the author

Randy Bolig

Randy Bolig has been working on cars and has been involved in the hobby ever since he bought his first car when he was only 14 years old. His passion for performance got him noticed by many locals, and he began helping them modify their vehicles.
Read My Articles

Hardcore Chevys in your Inbox.

Build your own custom newsletter with the content you love from Chevy Hardcore, directly to your inbox, absolutely FREE!

Free WordPress Themes
Chevy Hardcore NEWSLETTER - SIGN UP FREE!

We will safeguard your e-mail and only send content you request.

Chevy Hardcore - The #1 Performance Bowtie Online Magazine

We'll send you the most interesting Chevy Hardcore articles, news, car features, and videos every week.

Chevy Hardcore - The #1 Performance Bowtie Online Magazine

Chevy Hardcore NEWSLETTER - SIGN UP FREE!

We will safeguard your e-mail and only send content you request.

Chevy Hardcore - The #1 Performance Bowtie Online Magazine

Thank you for your subscription.

Subscribe to more FREE Online Magazines!

We think you might like...



Hot Rods & Muscle Cars

Drag Racing

Engine Tech

Chevy Hardcore - The #1 Performance Bowtie Online Magazine

Thank you for your subscription.

Subscribe to more FREE Online Magazines!

We think you might like...

  • Hot Rods & Muscle Cars
  • Drag Racing
  • Engine Tech

Chevy Hardcore - The #1 Performance Bowtie Online Magazine

Thank you for your subscription.

Thank you for your subscription.

Chevy Hardcore - The #1 Performance Bowtie Online Magazine

Thank you for your subscription.

Thank you for your subscription.

Loading