Sunday, November 6, 2011
Race Car Of The Day: November 6, 2011
Today's car of the day is Winner's Circle's 1975 Chevrolet Monte Carlo NASCAR stock car.
The Chevrolet Monte Carlo was an American-made two-door coupe introduced for model year 1970, and manufactured over five generations through model year 2007. It was marketed as a personal-luxury coupe through most of its history, with the last model version being classified as a full-sized coupe. When it was discontinued in 2007, it had outlived many competitors that were either discontinued many years earlier or changed in concept to either a four-door sedan or small sport coupe.
The Monte Carlo endured five design generations. The first three (1970–72, 1973–77, 1978–80 and 1981–88) were of a rear-wheel-drive, V8-powered (V6 available beginning in 1978) coupe style, utilizing separate body-on-frame construction. The later rear-wheel-drive generations bucked the trend of unit-body construction, along with smaller engines, that became more prevalent in the early 1980s as automakers downsized their vehicle lines to meet increasing stringent fuel-economy regulations in the aftermath of two energy crises that led to gasoline shortages and skyrocketing pump prices in 1973-74 and 1979-80. Despite those trends, the Monte Carlo remained a popular seller and even regained the SS version (initially offered for 1970-71 with 454 cubic-inch V8) from mid-1983 to 1988 with a high-performance 305 cubic inch V8.
Following a several year hiatus following the discontinuation of the rear-drive Monte Carlo after 1988, the nameplate was revived for 1995 on a front-drive, V6-powered coupe based on the Chevrolet Lumina sedan. It was succeeded by the sixth and final-generation Monte Carlo in 2000 that was built along-side of the Chevrolet Impala, which succeeded the Lumina as Chevy's mid-sized sedan. The Monte Carlo SS was revived from 2000 to 2007, initially powered by 3.8-liter V6 (supercharged in 2004-2005), which was replaced by a 5.3-liter V8 for 2006-2007.
For more information and pictures of the real car please visit: Chevrolet Monte Carlo
In the early 1990s Hasbro purchased rival toy company Kenner (maker of the short-lived Fast 111's among many other toys). In the late '90s they used the Kenner name on the packaging of their Winner's Circle line. So I really don't whether to call this one Winner's Circle, Hasbro, or Kenner. The real car was driven by the Intimidator, Dale Earnhardt.
The 1975 Monte Carlo received only minor styling changes from the 1974 model, including a new grille with the Monte Carlo emblem moved to the center section and new vertically shaped taillights with horizontal louvers.
All models received catalytic converters to meet the latest federal and California emission requirements that included bonuses such as improved fuel economy and drivability, along with longer spark plug and muffler life, but required more expensive and lower-octane unleaded gasoline.
Engines were carryover from 1974 except for the addition of GM's High Energy electronic ignition being made standard equipment. However, power ratings for all engines were decreased due to the addition of the catalytic converter. The 454 CID V8 no longer offered on California cars, leaving the 400 CID four-barrel the top engine in the Golden State. The base 350 CID two-barrel was rated at 145 hp (108 kW) (standard in 49 states), the 350 CID 4-barrel was rated at 155 hp (116 kW) (available only in California), the 400 CID 4-barrel 175 hp (130 kW), and the 454 CID 4-barrel 215 hp (160 kW) (now equipped with single exhaust with dual exhaust as an option). A three-speed manual transmission was standard equipment with the base 350 CID V8 used in 49 states and California-only 350 four-barrel V8. The Turbo Hydra-Matic optional and a required option for the 400 and 454 V8s. Chevrolet sources, however, report that virtually all 1975 Monte Carlos were equipped with the Turbo Hydra-Matic transmission, which became standard equipment for 1976.
New for 1975 was a Custom interior option that included a plusher cloth 50/50 bench seat with recliner on passenger side and lower door panel carpeting. The standard interior still consisted of a bench seat with knit-cloth and vinyl or all-vinyl upholstery. The swiveling Strato bucket seats plus console and floor shifter were still optional with knit cloth or vinyl upholstery. Also, white all-vinyl interiors were available for the first time this year with either bench or bucket seats with contrasting colors for carpeting and instrument panels including black, red, blue and green. A gauge that showed if one was using to much gas, a part of the "Economider" Gauge package, became optional.
Sales dropped off a bit from 1974's record-setting pace due to higher prices resulting from the addition of the catalytic converter, double-digit inflation and new competition from Chrysler's Cordoba and Dodge's Charger SE. Monte Carlo production ended up at around 250,000 units but would rebound to set a new record in 1976.
A 1975 Monte Carlo was featured that year in a Chevrolet TV ad with the patriotic theme of America's favorites including "Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie and Chevrolet".