2k: Rust, White, and Blue: 1977 Chevy Monza Mirage
Named after an Italian town and originally intended to bear a Wankel rotary by NSU, a German company, the Chevrolet Monza isn’t the American car you expect to see in an Evel Knievel jumpsuit. Yet here it is adorned in stickers and polyurethane aero bits comprising the rare (and very American-themed) Mirage appearance package. Built during a time when it wasn’t in vogue to sport the typically American formula of “big engine in front, big smokey burnout in the back,” celebrating the Monza Mirage today is paradoxically patriotic. Find this 1977 Chevy Monza Mirage for sale in Oconomowoc, WI for $1,900 via craigslist.
About 4,097 Monza Mirages were sold in 1977, all with the 305 V8 mated to GM’s TH350 three-speed auto. In fuel-crisis form, it sends about 140 wheezing horses to the rear wheels. Resist the urge to swap an LS1 in there – more power is just a matter of carbs, compression, and exhaust.
With 51,552 miles, this is likely the freshest 38-year-old non-Corvette Chevy of any kind. Of course, “original” doesn’t imply “good condition.” There’s plenty of rust and surface corrosion that wasn’t originally on there in 1977. But the interior looks fantastic, and it’s said to run if you first pour fuel down the carburetor.
“Is that a rare performance model of the last of GM’s rear-drive compact cars? No, it’s just a Mirage.” Jokes aside, this is probably the cheapest way to own an IMSA-celebrated American fastback. As it sits, there’s just enough grunt to move around without getting you into much trouble, saving those white vinyl seats from getting soiled. And it has an 8-track player.
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PhiLOL actually likes the tuna here, but abhors structural rust. Save the manuals.
What's nice to know is that the proud nameplate lived on even after Chevrolet tired of it. Now we can all sleep better at night.
Danny Trejo was born in Los Angeles. Why would a film starring him have to be paradoxically patriotic?
Typo aside, I don't believe El Jefe claimed Trejo was paradoxically patriot. He focused that barb at the Monza.
Wikipediatrics states Monza assembly occurred in Ohio, Mexico and Canada. By the blind, apparently (no offense to GM workers implied).
Well what do you know. With his accent and the way he's cast, I assumed he wasn't born in the U.S. My apologies. Looking at it again, it's kind of an awkward sentence anyway. Thanks for pointing that out – it's been fixed!
Oops, sorry PhiLOL. I always forget that tuna thing is your siggy. Still, you never wrote that Trejo was anything other than US-born and bred…and imprisoned. If you guys haven't seen it already, you should watch "Champion". I know you won't but it's really good.
The Monza was an unusually attractive shape for the time, but damn, those things were heavy. For what was supposed to be a small car each door seemed to weigh about as much as an entire 320i.* When GM started adding stuff like power steering to the Vega platform they just dragged in big cast-iron hardware out of the parts bins, and of course that 305 is all cast-iron. Ten seconds 0-60 into a headwind (9.5 with a tailwind) and a top speed not much above the ton isn't gonna keep you ahead of those VW TDIs.
Platform-wise the torque-arm rear suspension grew into the third-gen Camaro which was a better car even if the Monza might have been a bit cleaner shape.
The front end treatment appears a bit like the Vauxhall Firenza, and I think it would look better if the Monza Mirages were equipped with covers for the lights (as the DeKon Monza IMSA cars were equipped).:
[img] images.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=http%3A%2F%2F scharch.org%2FCars%2FMy_Mirage%2F_My_Mirage_files%2FMonza-DeKon1006_Keyser-P5_LSeca_1977-05-01-thm.jpg&f=1[/img]
The DeKon Monza was quite successful in IMSA, winning the Camel GT championship in '76 and '77. And they are still at the sharp end of the field in historics. Though I have not followed Monterey in a while, they would always be contending for the lead against, usually, Canepa's 935 when it used to be covered on Speed(vision). Looking at the prices of other factory sanctioned race-homages, this is a pretty slick deal.
So, once upon a time, Porsche came up with the 934, which was very much a production-based vehicle but fast enough for the time that none of the truly production-based Detroit iron could keep up.
So Bishop at IMSA cooked up the AAGT class, which was halfway to a tube-chassis funnycar e.g. what Trans-Am later became, and the few that were built (mostly the DeKons) proved faster than the 934s.
And when that happened Porsche stomped their feet and demanded that the 935 be let in to Camel GT, and it was at a level that AAGT couldn't touch, so everyone else took their marbles and went home and aside from a few one-offs like the turbo Zakspeed Mustang IMSA GT devolved into a 935 spec series.
Yeah, I've known folks who run DeKons in historic, when I thought I had the time and commitment to do it I shopped one that was for sale, but the NASDAQ was in a giant hole at that point…it probably would have been a good buy regardless.
I've always loved the Monza shape and always wanted one. Never got one and now they're tough to find in decent shape, at least around here. This one is pretty nice but I think I'm finally over these (mostly).
Turbo 350/4 speed ? WTH ?
Three, four, five, who's counting? Thanks for catching that.
Good thing there was no CVT !