The 1970 Chevrolet Monte Carlo was aimed at Ford’s “Personal Coupe,” the Thunderbird. And it defeated its target handily. The “Monte” outsold the T-bird three-to-one in its first year, with 145,975 units delivered, against 50,314 Thunderbirds.
With a launch like that, you’d expect the first generation Monte Carlo to be a prime collectible. But examples are rare today and less valuable than similar Chevelles, despite sharing the same mechanicals in a more elegant body.
Part of the problem can be blamed on their original images. The Monte Carlo wasn’t aimed at muscle car buyers, it implied exclusivity. That wasn’t what the average street-racer or poseur was looking for: They wanted cheap speed. At $3,543, the 1970 Monte Carlo SS cost about $500 more than the Chevelle SS 396; and worse, it was heavier (but only by a couple hundred pounds).
Dan Stafford has run Dan’s Garage, in Kennewick, Wash., since 1975. It’s a muscle car wrecking yard that specializes in GM products. He’s also owned a 1971 Monte Carlo SS 454 survivor for more than 30 years, and gave up trying to sell it ages ago. “All anybody wants to do is yank the motor and put it in a Chevelle,” he said. “They don’t realize how rare it is.”