The Chevrolet Monza may not be at the top of everyone’s list, but if you’re a Chevy guy, you might be familiar with it. Based on the Vega, the Monza first joined the scene in 1975 as a 2+2 and was supposed to be equipped with the Wankel rotary engine. However, due to circumstances beyond Chevrolet’s control, that didn’t happen. Instead, the Monza ended up being the “little Vega that could.”
Standard motivation for the Monza was the Vega’s inline-four, but a 4.3 and 5.7L V8 were also available. With its swoopy hatchback design that mimicked a fastback quite well, the Monza 2+2 became a favorite of hot rodders due to its light weight and the fact that the factory already had made provisions for a small-block V8. Mid-year, a notchback Towne Coupe was introduced with different styling. With its combination of sportiness and cool looks, the Monza 2+2 became Motor Trend‘s Car of the Year.
In 1977, Chevrolet offered the Mirage package, which was produced by Michigan Auto Techniques but contracted by General Motors. All were white with red and blue striping, fender flares, and spoilers front and rear, just like the IMSA racers of the time. Recommended motor was the 305 V8 but it wasn’t necessary. Just over 4,000 were built in total.
This 1977 Monza Mirage on eBay recently went unsold for $9,750, which isn’t a lot for a car that’s more special than most from the era. It’s an “original untouched example” with 17,292 miles that has never been restored or resprayed. As far as options, it’s equipped with the 305 V8, TH350 automatic, air conditioning, AM/FM 8-track, gauges, tilt steering, and the usual power accessories. The Monza Mirage may not be terribly fast, even with the V8, but it’s a great example how there are neat cars out there that don’t require you to mortgage your house.