How do you take the Chevrolet Vega, a car universally panned for being one of GM’s best ideas, executed so poorly that it almost defies belief, and rebuild from the ashes? The Monza. More or less a re-bodied Vega, the Monza certainly looked nothing like the Vega (Towne Coupe notwithstanding) but for the most part, acted like one, except in a couple of notable regards. First, a V8 option was available throughout the 1975-80 run. And second, the Monza had racing pedigree via the IMSA GT series and the Australian GT Championship, plus racers like Bill Jenkins and the Reher-Morrison team that ran Monzas in Pro Stock racing.
But here is a strange thing: over the course of five years, almost three-quarters of a million Monzas were produced. When was the last time you saw proof with your own eyes on the streets? You don’t. Monzas of any kind are borderline extinct on the street…unless they are a beloved show car, most we see are cut-up race cars, weekend warriors. Finding one that is still street-capable is borderline miraculous. And here we are, with a myth before your very eyes: a 1978 Monza Spyder, packing an asthmatic 305ci V8 and looking passable, if not pretty. There is a lot of work to be done here, from getting some V8 grunt out of the 305 to cleaning up the interior to a useable standard to the five-lug swap, but putting a Monza back on the street with a bit of fire in it’s engine bay is surely a way to go. $3,500 buys the car…the rest is up to you!