By on April 9, 2015

08 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinExamples of the rear-wheel-drive Chevy Monte Carlo have held their value pretty well, especially the A-body-based 1970-1977 ones. Even a fairly rough one can be worth restoring, particularly in Southern California, and so I don’t see many of these cars during my travels to the wrecking yards of the Golden State. Here’s a very rough ’76 that I spotted in Los Angeles while visiting Cheech & Chong movie locations in a ’15 Ford Transit van.
12 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinGood things never happen when you scrape off a vinyl top and then drive the car that way.
09 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinThese cars make excellent lowriders, but to get this car into proper condition for nice paint and interior would have cost about three times the value of the finished result.
04 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinI’m not sure what the junkyard symbolism of the ace of clubs could be.


Endorsed by this Canadian yacht designer.

Yes, Canadians were crazy about the Malaise Monte.

Makes you look rich!

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45 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo...”


  • avatar
    Maintainer

    Ugh.. Stacked rectangular headlights. They’re fine for trucks but they destroyed the look of every car they were used on.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    When I was young mom and dad bought a brand new 1976 in copper with the swivel front buckets. The last I remember about it was riding in it to different dealerships to find its replacement. We/they had it narrowed down to a new 1978 Trans Am in bright red or a new 1978 Dodge Magnum in bright red. I was disappointed when they bought the Magnum but later came to really like the car and later yet driving the car. I even bought a heavily used one when I got out of high school. Though with T-Tops and in not red.

    • 0 avatar
      Firestorm 500

      They only kept it two years? Seems strange nowadays when the average American car is twelve years old.

      • 0 avatar
        Roberto Esponja

        “They only kept it two years? Seems strange nowadays when the average American car is twelve years old.”

        Back then that wasn’t the norm, but it wasn’t an unusual thing either. I knew people who traded in their car every single year!

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        Trading in cars every 2-3 years wasn’t unusual back then. Material and assembly quality for the domestics was at its nadir in the mid-70s, and a lot of people just dumped a car when it started get ratty.

    • 0 avatar
      Roberto Esponja

      A red 1978 Magnum would have been a sharp car. I also liked the black ones, always thought they would have been the perfect car for Darth Vader.

  • avatar
    paxman356

    I had a ’78 Monte. Bought it for $800 in ’87. I delivered pizza in it, and I did some fooling around in it. Ah, the joys of high school. It had a 305 and never let me down.

    Of the cars I’ve had, it is right up there with the Plymouth Sapporo as the one I miss the most, both because I sold them to get something else, and that something else wound up not being as good, except in the fuel mileage department (I’m talking to you ’83 Civic HF!)

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    Indian summer for the General…

    These, and Cutlass Supremes, were really popular in the mid-late 70s. I’d watch them from the back seat of our relatively plebeian Pontiac Ventura on weekends, as they sailed along the Long Island Expressway, with legions of GMs redone big cars–quite a few 77-79 DeVilles.

    I always thought the Monte and Grand Prix were overdone–I like the Cutlass Supreme and Coupe De Villes more.

    • 0 avatar

      To be a Colonnade was to be overdone.

      The 73-77 Montes were my faves of that era and at least the ride and handling were head and shoulders above the competition of the time.

      The first-year 70’s still my all-time favorite Monte Carlo.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    I think of these (and all the other GM clones) as the archetypal donkmobile: $500 car on $1500 rimz. They’ve all long since been used up, though, so donks are mostly ’90s Town Cars and such these days.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Which Monte Carlo had the swivel bucket seats?

    • 0 avatar
      Roberto Esponja

      I believe all 1973-1977 could be ordered with said option. I had an uncle whose Monte had that and honestly, I thought it was a stupid feature. Always had this mental image of Frank Cannon being the only one who’d need it.

      • 0 avatar
        Willyam

        My grandfathers did. (A 76-ish in yellow). He was a small town lawyer, in a town so small it really didn’t rack up any miles (the office was blocks away). I remember he’d swivel to get out of it. I was like 7, so I thought it was pretty cool.

        He would later retire to AZ and buy Cadillacs, but while still working this was the best midwest “everyman” car without looking too flashy.

        They always drove Chevys. My grandmother told stories about her 55 upon which my dad installed exhaust cutouts without their knowledge or permission, until accidentally left open.

    • 0 avatar
      Maintainer

      73-77 Chevelle/Malibu, Monte and Cutlass offered the Swivel Buckets.
      I don’t know if any of the other A bodies used them though.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Thx, all.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I want the designer of my yacht to drive something much more expensive than a Monte Carlo.

    He needs to at LEAST have an Eldorado.

  • avatar
    AmcEthan

    here in iowa a body restoration isnt that expensive. this car probably could have had the body work done and repainted a nice color for around $4500. average price around here for these when done is around $15,000-$20,000. still worth restoring but i assume they arnt as rare down in the warmer states.

  • avatar
    ClutchCarGo

    Monte Carlo, the ultimate cool uncle’s car. At least he seemed cool when you were twelve.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Yeah, the polyester shirt, gold chain, cocaine-and-key-party lifestyle seems awesome at that age from a comfortable distance. The reality was rather less glamorous.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        It makes for great movies though!

      • 0 avatar
        ClutchCarGo

        More like the devil-may-care attitude of a twenty-something unmarried male with just enough disposable income to seemingly have anything his heart desires, with no concerns over career or family holding him down. Looks very cool to a kid who doesn’t know how empty and dead-end that kind of existence can be.

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        Mom?

        Actually this was during my beginning college years and MCs were the shit. As were the chains and open shirt.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Murilee–This is a 77 and not a 76. The tail lights on the 76 did not have bars across the lights. Also the 77 had the Monte Carlo shield as a hood ornament but the 76 had no hood ornament but the Monte Carlo shield was in the middle of the grill (look close at the pictures and you will see where the hood ornament is missing). I had a 77 with swivel buckets and rally wheels in Buckskin. Bought it new and had it for 18 years and still it was like new when I sold it–I regret selling it. I had power windows, power locks, cruise control, tilt wheel, rear defroster, light under the hood and in the trunk, and even GM floor mats. One of my all time favorites and was a great highway car. 77 was the last of the big Montes.

    • 0 avatar
      bickel84

      Agreed, this is a ’77 and not a ’76…the bars on the tail lights are a dead giveaway. I own a ’76 Monte as my toy and I’ll admit I kind of like some of the details on the ’77s a little bit better. Also, I’m partial of the rectangular tail lights instead of the round ones…but I’m blatantly biased.

  • avatar
    BobinPgh

    I actually liked the first Monte Carlo like the one the chef had the best. How long was that version made? I think maybe only for about a year, then they got bloated.

    And really, couldn’t the yacht designer have a little more enthusiasm? I lived in the 70s and all of life wasn’t That Bad

  • avatar
    1st_one

    This generation was actually my favorite Monte Carlo but I do prefer the headlights on the 75 model year. My aunt had a 1975 money green Monte Carlo that I can recall my mother borrowing when I was small child in the late 80’s. I was always fascinated with the rear tail lights and the honey comb like covers. If I can find one in decent condition, I would purchase it in a heartbeat.

  • avatar
    agroal

    I had a ’77. The last year before they downsized them. Swivel bucket seats were a neat trick back then. The first time I ever made love was in the back seat. I was all alone at the time.

  • avatar
    skor

    Very popular car back in the day. Yes, the round headlight versions were nicer looking. My own personal memory of this gen Monte Carlo involves a friend. My friend’s parents bought a new Monte Carlo back in 1973. Soon after my buddy’s dad disappeared with the car…..and his mom’s best friend….yes, a female.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Awaiting Krab to chime in here…..

    I rather enjoyed the 1970’s life was good (I’m not a dopehead) , rent was cheap , my G.F. had big , er . heart . yeah that’s it .

    I didn’t even realize there was a recession until decades later .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    Ah, the Monte Carlo. Because not better vehicle represents drug dealers, pedophiles and creepy gym-teachers. Well, maybe the C4 Corvette.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @BobinPgh– the first generation on Monte Carlo was 70-72 and 73-77 was the second generation. I had a 77 Monte for 18 years.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @Murilee–Am I the only one that has noticed this is a 77 Monte Carlo and not a 76? I had a 77 Monte Carlo for 18 years and it is different in that it has a hood ornament and the tail lights have chrome bars across them whereas the 76’s tail lights have no bars. As for some of the other readers saying these represent drug dealers, pedophiles and creepy gym-teachers that is no more true than any other car. GM two door coupes were the cars to have in the 70’s and for the time they were decent cars that gave good service. With a V-8 engine and turbo hydromatic transmission they were mechanically the same as the Impala, Caprice, Delta 88 and the Lesabre and they were priced within most people’s reach. It is very easy to criticize a vehicle from a prior generation but having had a 73 Chevelle 4 door and a 77 Monte Carlo they were much better cars at the time than some of the competition–they were not perfect but they were better than most. Personal luxury cars were the rage in the 70s and the intermediate GMs represented an affordable alternative. At least these cars were not as boring as many of today’s cars.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    @jeff,
    Yes the personal luxury car! It’s heyday was the early and mid 70’s. They were the C-Class/3 Series of their day.

    I believe that at one point the Olds Cutlass was one of, if not the top selling car in Canada.

    Personal income in North America peaked at that time. Boomers were still young and spending on things other than housing.

    During that period I owned, leased or was provided with company vehicles that included a Grand Prix SJ (the big engine), a Gran Torino Elite, Thunderbird and Cordoba. Each was ‘fully dressed’ with all the options. Also an L-82 C-3 Corvette.

    Personally I thought that the Fords had the best interiors, the GM’s the best engines and the Cordoba the nicest looks.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Arthur–Many of the young professionals I worked with in the late 70’s had Thunderbirds, Grand Torino Elites, Cordobas, Grand Prixs, Monte Carlos, Cutlass Supreme coupes, and Regal Coupes. The GMs were the most popular and in the US the Cutlass was one of the top selling cars and the most stolen. I was one of those young professionals as well in my mid twenties and single aspiring to climb the ladder of the corporate World. I had my 77 Monte Carlo with the swivel buckets, rally wheels, landau top, and power everything in buckskin with tan interior and tan landau. I loved my Monte Carlo and kept it all clean and shined up in A-1 condition. My Monte Carlo was my first new car.


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