By on March 20, 2012

An impromptu dinner meeting with a friend last night led talk of a possible G-Body project car (and two very bored girlfriends). Joey, who has long wanted a G-Body Monte Carlo, asked what it would take to make a cool street car out of an old G-Body car, like a late 1980′s Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS.” It can’t be that hard,” I said. “Can’t you just drop in a crate motor from GM Performance Parts?”

Joey and I traded text messages discussing various aspects of the project, but when Joey sent me a picture of a 572 c.i. big block, I knew it was time to ask someone who knew their stuff. Murilee, back from vacation and TTAC’s patron saint of bowtie projects, was happy to oblige.

I asked Murilee what he thought would be an appropriate course of action for a fast, mean-looking, mean-sounding G-Body, and whether there were any manual transmission applications available. I also wanted to know if this was a dumb idea and whether it was better to just go ahead and buy a Grand National. Mr. Martin chimed in below

“If it’s going to be a cruiser that sounds mean and has respectable power, it should be no problem on a non-insane budget– it’s when you need to get into the 13s or below at the drag strip that you have to start worrying about breaking differentials, etc. The G-body is a good choice, provided it’s possible to get it through the smog check in his state with modifications. The cheapest way to go would be to buy some old guy’s rust-free original car, with decent interior, etc., and then do a cam/intake/headers upgrade on a decent used 350. A manual transmission isn’t out of the question, but G-bodies either didn’t get them or they’re extremely rare, which means stuff like pedals and clutch linkage will likely have to be fabricated. Since that’s a problem that’s I’m sure has been solved many times, any halfway decent hot-rod shop should be able to do the job for a not-particularly-eye-watering price. Otherwise, the 200R4 or 700R4 that came with the car should be fine.

The ZZ4 crate motor from GM Performance is very nice, though it costs something like 5 grand. It makes 350 horses, which will make a G-body stupid fast (but will require a beefier differential, serious cooling system, and so on).

The LS engines are great, but they don’t bolt right in to a G the way the old-time small-blocks do. Buick GNs are getting really pricey these days, but there’s so much aftermarket turbo stuff for the Buick V6 that he could make something even more powerful for cheaper.”

I hadn’t considered a ZZ4 crate motor, instead assuming that an LS3, E-ROD or even the LS6 from the 2004 Z06 would be a nice addition. Those engines are all capable of making big power while passing emissions tests, though apparently they require more work than a small block.

At this point, I’ll turn it over to the B&B for ideas regarding engines, transmissions, accessories and the like. Out of respect for Joey, I haven’t discussed the budget – largely because he hasn’t told me what he wants to spend. I’m going to assume that, given his means, it won’t be a budget build, nor will it be an extravagant magazine quality show car.

And as a treat for those of you who made it this far, here’s the reason we went to the warehouse in the first place, a 1977 Pontiac Can-Am. I have no idea what’s been done to it, but judging by the anodized aluminum hardware, the engine bay that looks cleaner than an operating room and the glovebox mounted TV, it’s far from stock.

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63 Comments on “Ask The Best And Brightest: G-Body Project Car Hell...”


  • avatar
    CJinSD

    I remember Car and Driver testing a 1979 Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais diesel with a 5-speed manual. If you could find one of those, you wouldn’t need to worry about emissions testing. Old diesels are exempt, at least in California. Unfortunately, the 4.3 liter diesel V8 was famously GM, so they might all be long gone. It only made 160 ft/lbs of torque, so the transmission might not be up to duty behind a healthy engine. I remember the G-bodies too well to think one could be turned into a decent car though. Even the GNX was a one-trick-pony that was worse than just about anything else at everything other than standing start acceleration.

    • 0 avatar

      CJ with all due respect I don’t think the diesel quite fits the stated goals of “fast” and “mean sounding”.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        The point is that a car that is registered as a diesel doesn’t need to be SMOG checked, at least in California. For this reason it isn’t unheard of to see Mercedes 240Ds from the ’70s and early ’80s running around with gasoline powered Sprint Cup engines. Sure, you need to change over the fuel system. It is still the best way to put a racing engine on the street in something built after 1975.

    • 0 avatar
      GS650G

      It is against EPA rules to convert a diesel to gas and not comply with emissions. In any other state but CA no one would care but the CARB brown shirts will not see it the same way you do.

  • avatar
    lilpoindexter

    There’s an aftermarket trans available at Summit RAcing that bolts to a GM bellhousing, It’s either a Tremec or BW 5 speed, descendant of the T5 that can take a ton of horsepower.
    I’m getting older, and manuals in traffic are starting to get old, so I think he would be better off with a 200r. I would keep a small block for simplicity’s sake, and also to keep a bunch of weigh off the nose, so it could be not so bad in the turns.
    Not sure if he already has the Monte Carlo, but personally I like the Cutlass and Regal a little better.

    • 0 avatar
      cdotson

      I think you’re referring to the Tremec TKO 500/600 transmissions. Good choice for anything with streetable power and it’s available with multiple bellhousing and shifter position options…wish I could upgrade my NV3500 to a TKO500.

  • avatar
    relton

    Murilee is pretty much right on about G-bodies.

    I’ve built a few G-body projects, and, unlike CJinSD, I think these cars had a lot of potential even stock.

    Lots of people will tell you how to make a G-body faster. Small block Chevy, aftermarket crossmemeber to allow dual exhausts and the larger, 700R4 transmission, and so on.

    To make it handle well is pretty easy. These cars have good bones when it comes to suspensions.

    The 1.25 in sway bar from a Buick, or aftermarket on the front, and a 24mm sway bar on the rear, from a Pontiac or aftermarket, gives a nice balance. Add the front chassis stiffening braces from all the G-bodies – Pontiac for unde the car, Olds and Buick for the engine bay – to add torsional stiffness. A Pontiac Trans-Am steering gear makes it steer pretty well.

    I have used 15×7 wheels with 235/60R15 tires to good effect. They will clear all the chassis and body parts.

    Moog makes stiffer than normal rubber bushings for both the upper and lower control arms. Worth the effort for better cornering and better steering feel.

    The brakes are adequate, but the brake booster is not. That’s why people often think these cars have lousy brakes. The booster from a B-body (Caprice, etc) bolts right in, and offers much more braking power.

    Good luck.

    Bob

  • avatar
    Austin Greene

    I grew up driving A/G bodies. They always impressed me with the right combination of RWD, size and performance potential.

    The owners manual for my Father’s 1978 LeMans references manual transmissions – so the parts are out there.

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    The GMPP catalog has a lot of more options than the LS3, you could put in an E-Rod LSA or E-Rod 5.3 lts. Or one of the many SBC options. I have a pdf copy in the office so can’t check ATM if they still have the 383HT.

    Not knowing much, I’d try to hot rod the 305 under the bonnet.

    • 0 avatar
      noxioux

      You can do some things with the 305, and if all you’re after is streetable horsepower, it could be more than adequate. I’d go as far as say look for a TPI 305 out of a late 3rd gen F-body, warm it up with some head work and a cam. Or even an LT engine–lots of potential donors for that one. That would be a great place to pick up that manual transmission, as well.

      LS is all fine and dandy, but ye olde SBC is going to give you the most options for the least amount of money by far.

  • avatar
    relton

    G-bodies were available with manual transmissions, but I’ve never seen one. The aftermarket takes up the slack.

    Bob

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    They did make manual G-bodies; I have one in my garage right now. A 1979 Malibu coupe that my mother bought brand new. 4spd on the floor.

    I think these cars are so great I have two of them. They can accept any V8 with relative ease, and the full-frame and suspension setups make for a nice platform. My 2-door manual has the F41 suspension option, which makes a big difference in handling compared to my 1978 V6 sedan. The coupe handles amazingly (I say that with a 2012 Mustang sitting right next to it in the garage). You wouldn’t think so, but that car is so controllable and easy to fling around.

    Wish I could post pictures here, or knew how to.

  • avatar

    Depending on budget and what kind of statement I wanted to make when popping the hood, I’m a big fan of the Tuned-Port Injection 350s, the Vortec 350s and especially the Gen III/IV (aka “LS” motor).

    Yes a Gen III/IV would take some adapter mounts but I’ll bet they already exist as a reasonably-priced bolt-on.

    The Vortec 350s may not look as glamorous as a TPI but the power those heads make is worth it to me.

    For some strange reason, TPI was never available on a Monte SS. Only a carbureted 305. I’d rather try to stick blunt objects in my eye than try to make one of those work…unless I had a numbers-matching Aerocoupe with 12,000 original miles.

    The RWD A/G-bodies have long been lauded for their overall performance and adaptability.

    One BIG qualification on the 200-4R and 700-R4: The first versions of both trannies are JUNK. DO NOT ATTEMPT to use them as is…they shall self destruct!

    I don’t know when the 200-4R became a good unit…probably mid-late 80′s. But later units are no problem.

    The 700-R4 became a great tranny beginning with the 1987 model year. Significant upgrades were made…upgrades a competent transmission shop should be able to perform on a pre-87 unit…as a local shop did for me on an ’85 Astro I once owned.

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    Don’t forget about these guys

    http://www.ststurbo.com/

    compressed air FTW.

  • avatar
    I've got a Jaaaaag

    Back in the late 90s a friend of mine did a manual trans conversion on his G body Olds, if I remember correctly he got donor parts from a 3rd gen F-body and modified them.

    I can’t remember what all was involved though.

  • avatar
    patman

    What about a Vortec V8 out of a truck as a source of cheap power? The junkyards must be littered with them and I seem to recall HRM making some pretty nice power out of one for not a lot of money. The 5.7L had no problem pushing our old Silverado around – all that torque right off idle would make a sweet cruiser.

  • avatar
    Toad

    The important question is does the G body come with a clip-on mullet or do you have to grow your own?

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    Cadillac 472/500 cui engine ftw.Maybe not too many left at scrapyards ? All the parts to make it fit are available iirc. And there are tuning parts for it too, if endless torque isn’t enough for you. And it doesn’t weigh much more than a smallblock either.
    http://www.cad500parts.com/specials.htm

    • 0 avatar
      JD-Shifty

      no way that would be worth the bother or horrible mileage compared to something newer.

    • 0 avatar
      texan01

      Nope! Not even on your life.

      My buddy swapped in a 500 into a 78 Impala and that required some frame modifications, firewall mods and a rework of the A/C suitcase. We even had a parts car 79 Fleetwood and still didn’t have all the parts to make it a slam dunk like the website said.

      However, if you want street cred, that’s a great swap. Torque at the nose and in a 1,000 pound ligher sedan, way fast.

  • avatar
    afuller

    78-87 they all used the same stuff.

    I had a 1981 Buick Regal that I bought with a blown 3.8 V6 that was ripe for a V8 conversion.

    I built a 406 small block, backed it up with a TH400 trans and went to town.

    At the time I didn’t live in a jurisdiction that required emission testing and there was nothing even resembling a computer on the car.

    Alas emission testing moved to my county and rather than deal with the hassle I just sold the car.

  • avatar
    relton

    Big difference between 78-81 cars and the 82-87 cars. The former were called A bodies, the latter G bodies. The A bodies were going to be discontinued when the new A body, front wheel drive, came out in 82. But customers really complained, so they changed the letter to G and kept on making the cars.

    Bob

  • avatar
    RedSC94

    I’m a long time reader of TTAC, but I must register, and comment, after seeing the white Monte Carlo SS. My first, and only new car was a white 1988.

    At the time, It seemed like I couldn’t go wrong with this car. Small block Chevy V8, auto, NASCAR styling, last year of production, and I got it at a good price. I traded my 1976 Gran Prix LJ; and wrote a check for the difference. I’d been saving for a long time.

    This car started giving me problems as soon as I got it home. I couldn’t use the air conditioning at highway speeds without overheating. The dealer could find nothing wrong. The trans gradually self-destructed during the first year. It was replaced 4 times under warranty. The first two replacements blew out seals, and sprayed out all the fluid. Both times, I was stranded in the middle of nowhere. The third trans died a slower death. The fourth was doing the same thing. My dealer rebuilt it with aftermarket parts. It shifted so hard, that it was miserable to drive; but this time it stayed together.

    The dealer was able to fix the overheating problem after it finally overheated and left me stranded for a third time. The air conditioner needed to be charged every year; the dealer told me this was normal “like airing up your tires”.

    With a 305, the Monte SS is extremely underpowered. In the Colorado Rockies, I normally had to stay to the right, with my foot to the floor, so 4 banger Hondas and Subarus could pass. This car was the ultimate “sheep in wolf’s clothing”; very frustrating!

    Well, I was a loyal “GM guy”, but I finally got tired of contantly fixing this thing. And, I had figured that if I could buy a new car, and maintain it meticulously, my car problems would be over.

    In 1997, I bought my 1994 Thunderbird SC, with a 5-speed manual trans. I sold the Monte, and got a decent price for it; it still looked very nice. I still have the SC; it’s been very reliable, and a pleasure to own and drive.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      Quote: With a 305, the Monte SS is extremely underpowered. In the Colorado Rockies, I normally had to stay to the right, with my foot to the floor, so 4 banger Hondas and Subarus could pass. This car was the ultimate “sheep in wolf’s clothing”; very frustrating!

      I find this really hard to believe unless your car had something really wrong underhood. I have driven loads of these cars from 1983 to 1988 and know so many folks that still own examples to this day and most have been pretty reliable save old age items like A/C freon etc. Monte SS’s would typically run 0-60 in 7.8 seconds and the quarter in mid to high 15′s which was pretty quick for the day and a pipe dream on any 4 cylinder Honda or dog Subaru from that time period. The only Honda that came close to beating my 88 SS was an early 90′s Prelude stick which was a pretty quick car at the time.

      • 0 avatar
        RedSC94

        I think the altitude really took its toll on the power. I live in the mile high city. The Monte felt pretty quick around town, but it really lost power in the mountains. I think it had around 180 hp, and it’s a fairly heavy car. As I remember, it didn’t have a lot of low end torque.

        I was a very nice handling car; in need of more power, a better trans, and better QC. That was my experience.

      • 0 avatar
        Felis Concolor

        I forget what the actual figure is, but I think the general power loss is around 1.5-2.5% per 1000 ft and it could be even higher, so NA engines are really struggling up here. It’s why turbomotors are popular in the high altitude states, not so much for the gain in horsepower but because the power isn’t lost compared to the sea level rating.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      I am glad you still own the 94 T-Bird SC and have found it to be reliable. Many of these cars had issues with head gaskets and the electronic ride control. I would have bought one but went for the more reliable 4.6 V8.

      • 0 avatar
        RedSC94

        I have read that the head gasket issue was resolved in the later model SCs. I received a recall notice around 1999. My mechanic is very knowledgeable about Fords, and SCs in particular. He said that the 3.8 head gasket problem is fixed by using the same gaskets that the later model SCs have. I decided not to let the dealer mess with my engine; and it’s been fine.

        Also, there is a restricton in the stock exhaust. The rumor is that Ford did this so the SC would not be faster than the Mustang Cobra. This restriction contributes to head gasket problems. There is also a restriction built in to the top of the supercharger.

        Performance and reliability is greatly improved by changing the exhaust and the supercharger top. This causes the boost to drop, but that is fixed by changing pulleys, and driving the supercharger 10% faster. I did this a couple of years ago.

        The automatic ride control is pretty nice, because you can switch it to the “firm” setting on smooth curvy roads. This really stiffens up the handling, but would be pretty brutal for normal driving around town. Mine’s still working. But replacing the shocks is expensive, so it’s common to replace them conventional ones.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    We used to take the Monte SS’s with high mileage or tired 305′s and drop in vortec head 350′s. The SS’s are nice because they already had beefed up suspensions, 15″ tires and 3.73 rear gears connected to stiffer shifting 200R4 transmissions. The problem with the stock setup was the 7.5 rear end on these cars. The Olds Hurst and 442 reportedly used the beefier 8.5 rear end with the same 3.73 gear so that may be a good swap to do. The other issues as mentioned is emission laws that may require the C4 computer system be maintained to pass emission laws. This can be accomplished providing one has a good working knowledge on the electronic Quadrajet. Stick shift G-bodies are out there and searching through the Monte SS or Olds 442/Buick GN sites should reveal plenty of good ideas on how to do them. There are loads of aftermarket upgrades for suspension, tires, exhaust and other bolt on parts. Also as mentioned switching to the larger B-body cars master cylinder helps with braking, Buick GN parts catalogs offer verious forms of body bracing even for the packaging behind the rear seat and body mounts, radiator support etc which makes a hige difference on these cars.

    We took my buddies 1985 Cutlass Salon which had a 231 V6 and turned it from a weak 0-60 in 13 second car to a tire scorching 13 second quarter mile performer with ease thanks to a Vortec head SMC 350 connected to a 350 trans a swap from the std 2.41 rear end to a 8.5 3.23 rear gear, swap over to true dual exhaust which requires the modified transmission crossover, larger tires and some body stiffening. It was a blast to drive for not too much money at the time.

  • avatar
    Moparman426W

    Like someone mentioned a vortec from a boneyard would be the easiest and cheapest way to make power. The vortec heads are the best factory heads ever made for the small block, and can make decent power without port work. And they don’t have thin decks like all other 79-up small block heads, which are prone to cracking.
    A good manifold, cam and carb with a good exhaust system will give 400 plus hp and around 400+lbs. ft.
    The second cheapest way would be to get a 350 with the older style heads, but you won’t make quite as much power without port work,which would put the cost above a good set of the vortecs.
    Summit lists several crate engines that aren’t too expensive. They list a 355 vortec with 385hp and 410 ft.lbs. for $3095.00 They also have a 383 stroker with 405hp and 440ft.lbs. for $3095.00 They also list a 383 stroker with a modest 330hp and 385lbs.ft. for $2595.00.
    They also have a 383 stroker with 430hp and 450ft.lbs. for 3695.00
    When you start approaching 400lbs.ft. the 10 bolt rear end in these cars becomes a weak link. The rear control arms are also a weak link when you start making power with sticky tires and should be upgraded with aftermarket units.
    You want to avoid pre-87 700R4 transmissions as they were made with weaker parts, unless you find one that has been upgraded. Otherwise it’s cheaper and easier to start with the later unit. I read in an article, can’t remember where that the 200R4 is actually stronger than any year 700. I can’t remember if they mentioned whether any certain years of the 200 were better than others.

    • 0 avatar
      texan01

      Probably the 200R4 is stronger due to less gap between 1st and 2nd. That’s the biggest peeve I have with the 700/4l60, that HUGE gap between 1st and 2nd.

  • avatar
    drylbrg

    Definitely stick with a traditional small block. That will prevent a lot of headaches. For that car I’d go with something with a lot of torque like a 383 stroker crate engine like GMs ZZ383. If you stay with smaller tires you won’t have to worry about the differential since the tires will smoke before the diff breaks.

  • avatar
    deliverator

    I need to jump in here. Have had two of these cars. I’m in Canada. The first was an ’80 El Camino, actually with the 4-speed. THat’s why I bought it but it was a wreck and the guy had destroyed the original transmission and put in a (destroyed when I got it) TH350. Had to get rid of the car but I liked it as it had the Royal Knight option. So cool.

    The second was an ’86 Grand Prix. I really loved that car. Almost perfect condition with 99000 km’s on it when I got it. Ran great, no problems. Problem was I drove it as a daily driver for almost 6 years then sold it in 2009, for almost what I paid for it, after 55000 good kilometres. Should have kept that car. Had a lot of options, mostly appearance-related. Great white colour, blue interior, but with the bench seat. Though very comfortable. Powerful, but would have been better had the valves not been crudded up with baked on oil due to leaky valve seals. Didn’t fix that.

    I want it back.

    Also, they are hard to find in junkyards now, but several years ago they were plentiful. I always searched for rare options and did find one car with a three speed manual (early car, base spec).

  • avatar
    redmondjp

    1994-6 LT1 and 4L60E transmission swap. Sprinkle with performance goodies, done.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    I say get a Toyota Camry SE with a flux capacitor.

  • avatar
    Buckwheat

    I’ve done a few G-body engine/trans swaps using early GM engines (Olds diesel to Olds gas, Buick V-6 to Buick V-8, Buick V-6 to Olds gas, Buick V-6 to Pontiac V-8). None were particularly difficult and required little more than finding the correct GM brackets/mounts for a given engine.

    The manual trans. conversion is fairly straightforward with a kit from The Parts Place Inc. that contains duplicates of the GM parts (minus the transmission itself).

    link to kit….
    http://www.thepartsplaceinc.com/ocatalog/part.asp?VID=4&YearList=1983&Search_Keyword=&CatID=13&curpage=2

  • avatar

    RedSC94

    I also have the Red 94 SC with the 5 speed. Just put it on the road last week. I think the MN12 and FN10 are two great overlooked rwd chassis.

    • 0 avatar
      RedSC94

      I agree. For a big high performance two door coupe with a manual trans, the SC was the only game in town. Except for the BMW, which was much more expensive.

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    {pedant}For some reason, the transmission terms are 700-R4 and 200-4R.{/pedant}

    In the performance parts aftermarket, GM’s G-body is the new ’69 Camaro: they’re everywhere, parts are widely available, and you can readily go from mild to wild with them. The only other chassis supported as well by the aftermarket is Ford’s long running Fox-body.

    The 200-4R transmission in Buick GN trim tends to be preferred over the 700-R4 as the former’s shorter first gear ratio provides quicker launches. Beware store-bought rebuilt models and junkyard pulls which feature the “METRIC” word stamped into the transmission pan: those are the sub-200 hp units which will shred the first time you really apply the power. 200s can be built to withstand 1000hp engines in front of them.

    Due to the limited market size, there are very few low- to mid-performance Buick upgrade parts. Most Buick performance engine rebuilds end up in the high horsepower camp as a result. This makes life easier for Buick engine builders as the hard choices have been made for them.

    Per my own experience in selecting a project car engine, avoid the highest performance models in the LSx series as they’re especially pricey, and you must use them as they are out of the box to enjoy the generous warranty provided with them. Yes, the back swept manifold will bolt right up to an LS7, but if you’re not using the provided straight-down pipe – which really only works with the Corvette’s front of block engine mounts – you won’t get any help if something goes wrong early in the engine’s life. LS2 and LS3 crate engines can be used with any series manifold which fits. I’ve got a 30 degree back swept manifold from the catalog and it made life much easier when it came time to fabricate and fit the exhaust system.

    The market for manual transmissions tends to be much more limited but there are still numerous options available. Some of my favorite sites to visit are Tremec, Rockland Gear and Saenz.

    If you decide to use GM’s crate auto transmission packages, the codes are easy to read. The first number indicates how many gear ratios it has, the following letter indicates longitudinal or transverse mounting, the following 2 digit number provides the overdrive ratio, and if a final letter is present, it should be ‘E’ as it will be electronically controlled. I’m using a 5L50E, so my freeway cruise sees the engine just above idling once overdrive kicks in and the convertor locks up.

    Another nice thing to keep in mind regarding crate engines from GM and I’d also guess Ford is how conservative their power ratings are from the factory. In order to ensure the buyer is definitely receiving the advertised torque and horsepower figures, the engines are actually fitted with much more potent gear than is absolutely necessary. Around 10 years ago, one of the aftermarket magazines tested a batch of 10 crate ZZ720 engines with a guarantee of 720 horsepower listed in the catalog. The least powerful was churning out 760 horses at the crank, while the top engine must have been built on a day the assemblers were feeling especially precise, as it provided more than 920(!) horsepower after being set up.

    • 0 avatar
      RedSC94

      I seem to remember the service writer at the Chevy dealer referring to my trans as a “Metric 200″.

      • 0 avatar
        Moparman426W

        They had a TH200 3 speed back in the day that I believe was referred to as the “metric.’ That is ptobably what you had. Those were installed in many mid and fullsized cars and were vastly undersized and had a high failure rate.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Find a Tahoe/Yukon XL or the like hit from the rear in the scrap yard and take the Vortec, computer and trans attached to it. Have fun and your welcome.

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    I remember sitting in a 3 speed on the floor equipped 1978 Buick Century at the Chicago Auto Show, seafoam green and Aeroback. Yes, they existed. Also, someone was trying to sell a 4 speed manual 79 Grand Am on a Pontiac site.

    TTAC is bi-polar on GM. There’s all the ‘Deadly sins/GM is evil’ posts and then this one with all the love.

  • avatar
    mikey

    In 1981 or 82 we built thousands,of what were then called “A” cars with standard shift’s.

    Google Iraqi taxi.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      Didn’t they have hyper-powerful air conditioners also?

      One of my old teachers had one for several years and I seem to remember him mentioning liking it though (he worked for GM in the early 80s).

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    I had a 81 Monte Carlo with the 229 V6 and the 200-4R and never had a problem with both. The earlier versions 78-79 200-4R had their share of problems. I bought the car back in 1990 for a reasonible price from the 2nd owner. Yes, I would have liked the V8 but the 229 which was the Chevy V6 (a 305 with 2 cylinders lopped off) had decent power. I looked into performance parts for it to get a few more HP out of it and made an interesting sleeper. but at the time the only aftermarket items they offered were for the Buick 3.8.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    I assume Joey’s from Ontario? Cars built before ’88 (so, pretty much the entire run of A/G bodies) are exempt, making emissions a non-issue. He could sit in front of Queens Park, idling and dumping barrels of hydrocarbons in the atmosphere if he felt so inclined (at least for three minutes).

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    Funny that this came up, I have been thinking about building up a Monte SS, or maybe a Grand National if I find a steal on one. I love the look of these cars, they are still cheap enough to not break the bank and can be used as daily drivers. I just read that they make upgraded suspension components for them too, similar to the crazy Pro Touring suspension thats been around for a while for the Camaros and stuff, so it could really handle if you dont mind making the investment.

    I would try to go for a budget LSx build over an SBC, there are conversion kits, and the power increase seems worth it. Make mine a black cherry Monte Carlo SS, with T-tops please, no stick, these cars are made for an auto.

    • 0 avatar
      Moparman426W

      If you want to set one up for handling then I certainly wouldn’t go for one with a T top. Even the non T top versions have the structural rigidity of a wet noodle.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        Good point, but the T-tops are just so 80s-tastic. and I wouldnt be autocrossing it, just that I would prefer it to not handle like, well, like the 80s GM boulevard crusier it is.

  • avatar
    derfhwt

    All those options are a bit pricey.
    Budget Version-
    lsx swap kit
    g body swap headers (used)
    Junkyard 5.3
    4.8 pistons (used lightly)
    z06 cam and spring (or aftermarket cam and springs)
    z06 or fast intake (used)
    maybe rework the heads
    carb intake (used)
    msd box
    mild 200r4 out of a gn
    gn 3.42 8.5 rear
    That should cover the big stuff.

    Enjoy destroying tires.


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