While it channels the malaise era, today’s Nice Price or No Dice Monza also scoots under the wire by a hair for Radwood acceptability. Let’s see what all that generation-splitting goodness might be worth.
If you think about it, the deep-fried food you get at state fairs and carnivals is an abomination. I mean, they take perfectly tasty and nutritious food like Twinkies, Snickers bars, and heritage bacon-wrapped bay scallops, dip them in some sort of gloppy batter and then drop them into boiling oil to cook. Full of audacity, the purveyors then try to position this defilement as an improvement over the original. No thank you!
A similar fate befell last Friday’s 1981 Porsche 928. Someone, at some point in time, decided that what the car needed was to have its two most iconic design elements — the “are you there god, it’s me, Margaret” headlights and the impossibly complex curves of its rear side windows — replaced with, respectively, mundane covered pop-ups and a convertible roof. As well-executed as these custom elements appeared to be (which was only marginal when it came to the lights) they didn’t so much enhance the car as detract from its desirability. That all added up little enthusiasm for the Porsche’s $40,000 asking price in either comments or the vote, with the end result being a massive 96 percent No Dice loss.
Speaking of losses, do you ever stop and wonder just how much damage the Vega did to Chevrolet’s brand image? Probably not much since back in the 1970s people generally accepted that American cars would be turds. The thing of it is, while the Vega was heavily maligned during its first few model years, a steady stream of updates and improvements stemmed those complaints by the time the model had reached middle age. It was so improved in fact that the ensuing models that leveraged its basic architecture never suffered commercially from the association.
Today’s 1980 Chevy Monza 2+2 is one of those Vega-adjacent models that GM was cranking out during this era. Introduced in 1975, the Monza copped some of its styling from the incredibly short-lived Ferrari 365 GTC/4. That Ferrari grand tourer shared its underpinnings with the 365 GTB/4 Daytona in much the same way the Monza did with the Vega, albeit in the Ferrari’s case with much more muscular mechanicals.
Interestingly, the American car was named for a race track in Italy, while its styling inspiration’s sister model took its name from an iconic American course. Go figure.
You almost never see Monzas these days unless you’re attending old-timer’s day at the drag strip. As the seller of this metallic green over lovely biscuit edition notes in the ad, these days many of these cars have been ripped apart, caged, and tubbed for quarter-mile attacks. This one, with just 50,000 miles on the odo, looks to be righteous and almost wholly intact. Save for a broken taillamp lens (yeah, good luck finding that) it also appears to be in pretty decent shape. The title is clean and the ad notes a two-owner history for the car.
One fun feature of this Monza is the wheels. Those appear to be handsome turbine-style alloys but are in reality just very cleverly-designed covers on top of steel wheels. I recall an old issue of Road & Track in which a series of brake tests the editors conducted on a Monza actually melted the plastic wheel cover causing it to deform and eventually fall off. Maybe take it easy on this one.
That won’t be too hard considering the mechanicals. Those are comprised of a 110 horsepower 3.8 liter V6 and granny-spec three-speed automatic. The seller claims to have refurbished much of the consumables on the engine, although the engine bay doesn’t evidence any of that work in the photos. A V8 was offered in this model, however, that engine was crammed in so tightly that you had to remove a tire to change some of the spark plugs. In this case, the solid citizen V6 should serve just fine.
The interior is in remarkably good shape considering that, at the time, GM was constructing their cabins in the way a 4th grader puts together a paper mâché mission. One thing to note here is just how deeply dished the bucket seats in front are. That’s pretty unique for the era and make, as at the time most American automakers were offering seats as flat and wide as a Nebraska four-lane. Owing to how low the roofline is, the back seat is split into two individual squabs and a shared backrest that straddles the center tunnel. Anyone who has folded themselves into the back seat of an F-body from around this era will be familiar with the environment.
This Monza is a bit of a mixed bag as far as desirability is concerned. It’s in phenomenally good shape for its age and remains a handsome car to this day. That’s even in light of it having the later two-headlight nose and bigger bumpers the car shared with the Monza Coupe of the same era. The nose with four rectangular lamps that came on the earlier cars was, in my opinion, far better looking, as was the original Camaro-esque rear end.
It should also be noted that this is a car that will not be quick, won’t handle well, and will lack basic conveniences that today we take for granted. Which of course, all means it will be perfect for Radwood.
With all that in mind do you see anyone paying the seller’s $3,500 asking for this Monza as it sits? Or, in this case, does 2+2 not add up to $3,500?
H/T to nightowle for the hookup!
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