Editor’s Note: To tell the history of my car, I thought it would be amusing to write it in the style of a high end auction site, such as RM Sotheby’s. They have a distinct writing style to describe collector cars that I wanted to emulate. This vehicle is not for sale.
- Motor Trend’s Car of the Year in 1975
- Nicknamed the “Italian Vega” by John DeLorean
- Styling borrowed from the 1971-72 Ferrari 365 GTC/4
- Among the first U.S. cars to use rectangular headlights
- 2+2 Hatchback Coupe 1HM07; original MSRP of $5,382.20
- Powered by 2.5-liter “Iron Duke” engine rated at 90 hp
- Innovative Torque Arm Rear Suspension
- This example is from the final model year of production
This 1980 Chevrolet Monza 2+2 Hatchback (chassis no. 35949) was completed at General Motors Lordstown Assembly Plant and is one of 53,415 2+2 hatchback models produced in 1980. The car was delivered new to Hanosh Chevrolet in Grants, New Mexico on June 17th of that year.
Original equipment includes a 2.5-liter inline 4-cylinder “Iron Duke” engine which aspirates through a two-barrel Rochester Varajet II carburetor. Beginning in 1979, the engine (RPO code LX8) featured a revised “cross-flow” cylinder head design with the exhaust manifold and intake manifold on opposing sides of the engine block. Engine output was rated at 90 horsepower.
Power delivery is accomplished through a Muncie 4-speed manual gearbox driving 13-inch radial tires. Originally finished in yellow over a black vinyl interior, the car has been repainted by a previous owner with white spray paint. Optional equipment includes power steering, sport mirrors, color keyed wheel covers and floor mats, a front stabilizer bar, and decorative moldings around the wheel openings.
The car was registered in the small mining town of Clifton, Arizona in 1986 where it remained until 2008. A previous owner purchased the car in 2014 and brought it to the Phoenix area.
The car was purchased by its current owner in 2015 and shows 157,000 miles on the odometer. Recent maintenance includes a new catalytic converter in 2016, new 63-amp alternator, valve cover gasket, battery cable, and a replacement hood release cable.
Amenities include an oil pressure gauge, water temperature gauge, Bosch tachometer, and an OEM style two-button radio from Classic Car Stereos of Oceanside, CA. A set of four Westlake brand tires and a full size spare were recently fitted to the car. Adding to the car’s Italian-inspired flair is a 1980s era Nardi wood steering wheel, installed by the current owner.
The Monza is accompanied by the original owner’s manual, factory service manual, and a copy of the original vehicle invoice from the General Motors Media Archive. New parts not yet installed include door trim seals and window felt, as well as tail lamps with amber turn signals.
The Monza 2+2 hatchback embodies a distinct Italian flair and style, without the typical cost of ownership of a vintage European sports car. A full restoration of the body and interior is anticipated, in conjunction with performance upgrades to the drivetrain and brakes.