Chevrolet Monte Carlo - Second Generation - 1973

1973

A redesigned Monte Carlo was introduced alongside other GM intermediates. Like other GM mid-size cars, the 1973 Monte Carlo was no longer a hardtop, but a pillared coupe with rear side opera windows and frameless door glass. Prominent styling features included dual headlights flanking an egg-crate grille with a Monte Carlo emblem in front and vertical taillights above the bumper. The front bumper was a large federally mandated 5 mph (8.0 km/h) bumper that was among the required 1973 federal safety standards for all passenger cars sold in the U.S. with the 5 mph (8.0 km/h) requirement extended to rear bumpers on 1974 models. Also new was a double-shell roof for improved noise reduction and rollover protection along with the flush-mounted pull-up exterior door handles first introduced on the 1970 1⁄2 Camaro and 1971 full-sized Chevrolets and Vegas.

The separate body-on-frame construction carried over for 1973, as was the basic all-coil suspension.

For improved ride and handling, the 1973 Monte Carlo featured a number of innovations (for a large American car) such as standard radial-ply tires, Pliacell shock absorbers, high-caster steering, and front and rear anti-roll bars (previously offered only with the SS package). The standard Monte Carlo with manual transmission, retained "traditional" steering and bias-ply tires, but the radial-tuned system was included when the automatic transmission was ordered, earning the Monte Carlo S label.

A new model for 1973 was the Monte Carlo Landau, which was basically an "S" with a rear quarter Landau vinyl roof, Turbine II wheels and driver and passenger-side sport mirrors.

The interior of the 1973 Monte Carlo featured an all-new, wraparound cockpit-style instrument panel, similar to that found in some contemporary Pontiacs, Oldsmobiles and Buicks, in which gauges and various instruments were centered within easy reach of the driver. The simulated burl elm trim was retained. A split bench seat was standard, but "Strato Bucket" seats of a new design were optional, along with a floor console featuring an equally new shifter with knob and button similar to Pontiac's Rally Sports Shifter replacing the Buick-like horseshoe shifter of previous years, and storage compartment. The bucket seats were of a one-piece high-back design with built-in headrests, and could swivel some 90 degrees to permit the driver and front passenger easier entry and exit. Cloth and vinyl trims were offered with both the bench and bucket seats.

The standard engine was a 145 (net) hp (108 kW) 350 CID (5.7 L) Turbo-Fire V8. Optional engines included a 175 (net) hp (30 kW) 350 CID V8 with a four-barrel carburetor and a four-barrel carbureted 454 CID Turbo-Jet V8 rated at 245 (net) hp (183 kW).

The 1973 Monte Carlo was named Motor Trend's "Car of the Year", due to its new styling and emphasis on Euro-style ride and handling. The 1973 Monte Carlo set a new sales record for Chevrolet, with nearly 250,000 sold for the model year.

The success of the Monte Carlo and Pontiac's similar Grand Prix led to several new personal luxury cars from competitors, including subsequent Mercury Cougar, the Ford Torino Elite, the Chrysler Cordoba and restyled Dodge Charger, and even high-line versions of the AMC Matador, which got a swoopy new coupe design for 1974.

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