Junkyard Find: 1979 Chevrolet Monza Wagon

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1979 chevrolet monza wagon

When I first glimpsed this Malaise Era compact wagon in my local wrecking yard, I thought “Wow, I haven’t seen a Vega in a junkyard for years!” Then I saw the grille and realized that I was looking at an example of the very rare Monza wagon, which was a Monza snout grafted onto the discontinued-after-1977 Vega wagon. At the risk of enraging the small but very devoted Vega Jihad, I’m going to pronounce this thing The Most Terrible Station Wagon Detroit Ever Made.

This one has the 3.2 liter version of the venerable Buick V6 engine, which made a pretty-good-for-1979 105 horsepower. You could also get a ’79 Monza with a 130-horse, 305-cubic-inch V8, and one can only hope that a few of these were made with the V8 and the four-speed manual transmission.

The automatic transmission siphoned off much of that V6 power, unfortunately.

The Monza wagon listed at $3974, only 60 bucks more than the ’79 Chevette four-door. The Pinto Pony wagon could be had for $3,633. Meanwhile, the ’79 Honda Civic wagon was priced at $4,759.

I’m trying to dredge up some sadness that this car, which somehow managed to stay on the street for 32 years, is going to be eaten by The Crusher… but I just can’t do it. Next stop, Chinese steel factory!

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  • CougarXR7 CougarXR7 on Jun 25, 2011

    I chuckled when I saw this. Last summer I scored a rust-free '77 Monza 2+2 hatchback for $500. The young fellow I bought it from works at a nursing home and bought it from the family of an elderly female resident who owned it and passed away. He drove it for a couple years and then parked it. Being a lifelong gearhead and professional mechanic, and growing up in the 70's and 80's I'm well aware of these cars' many shortcomings. Nevertheless, I always liked their styling and their handling capabilities. Mine is a factory 305 / TH350 car. I intend to make it a street legal psudo-drag car with an all-aluminum small block or LS1 conversion, fiberglass front clip, Wilwood or Brembo brakes up front, and the S-10 five-lug axle / brake conversion in the rear. Due to So. Cal's draconian smog laws the factory 2-barrel carb must remain, but K&N makes a breathe-through air filter top that should feed it extra air just fine.

  • MrIcky I would like to compare the answers here against the answers in the recent civil forfeiture article- but I won't because research is hard. It's true though that currently a ticket has no punitive value on those with means and maybe an outsized punitive value on those without. That's not communism, that's just the way it is. Speeding tickets are too arbitrary anyway though: officer discretion, speed trap towns, excessively low speed zones in areas to increase ticket revenue instead of safety, etc. I could clearly see a case where expensive cars are selectively enforced over cheap cars because you only have so much time in a day to up the revenue. It's a gray rainy crap morning and I'm sure the government will do it wrong.
  • 28-Cars-Later Feels a bit high but then again... forget it Jake, its Clown World.In 2021 someone in Sewickley had an MY01 soft top in a manual with 54K otc which I am fairly certain was a 996 and not a Boxster - $20K. I already had my C70 at the shop being reborn and could have done the $20K but it would have been tight and just didn't make sense. Still...
  • SCE to AUX Q: Should Speeding Fines Be Based on Income?A: Yes. Rich people (the guy with $1 more than you) should pay less, because giving his income to the government means he has to lay off a worker at his business.Laws are for poor people./s
  • SCE to AUX "Volvo has suggested it’s capable of yielding 275 miles of range"Every non-US car's range estimate is based on WLTP - worth mentioning.EPA range never 'backs up' WLTP; it's always about 15% lower - so figure maybe 234 miles. Not great, except as a commuter.As for the interior - it's obviously a Model 3 clone, but the screen is substantially smaller. Incidentally, I suspect Tesla made the Model 3/Y interior so minimalist to save money - not just to be different. When you're trying to become profitable on EVs, every dollar counts.
  • Dukeisduke I know it really isn't, but the central display looks like it's being held by one of those cheap spring-loaded mobile phone mounts. Poor interior design.