Remember when they used to make beautiful cars? Those were the head-turning muscle cars with long lines and contours that we have to drive to a car show to drool over these days. Among the throngs of "antique" automobiles, you’re likely to find several second generation Chevy Monte Carlos. The first generation car was only a glimpse of how absolutely sleek and shapely the second generation would be.
The 1973 model was redesigned to comply with new federal regulations, namely the front 5 mph bumper that could withstand an impact of, yes, 5 miles per hour. No longer a "hard top"" coupe per se, the Monte Carlo’s roof was now a double shell which helped to deaden exterior noise. The rear window of the car was now a square-ish 'opera' window, about the size of a porthole on a ship with nearly as much visibility, while the door glass was frame-free. Under the hood on the standard model was a 350 CID (cubic inch displacement) V8 Turbo-Fire V8 engine rated at 145 horsepower. However, one could upgrade to an optional 350 CID V8 with a 4-barrel carb and 175 horsepower or a 454 CID Turbo-Jet V8 with a 4-barrel carb rated at 245 horsepower. Accolades for the '73 Monte Carlo model included Motor Trend’s "Car of the Year," which doubtless helped Chevy set a record for sales.
Few changes to body styling were made to the second generation Monte Carlo. The quarter-padded roof known as the "landau" came into being; the 5 mph bumper was added to the rear in 1974; the trunk hood shrunk although trunk space did not; and the addition of the new catalytic converter to help eliminate smog reduced engine power. Available engine sizes and horsepower ratings fluctuated but none were rated any higher than 175 horsepower. 1976 was the last year for the optional 454 CID big block V8 engine, the same year Chevy sold over 350,000 Monte Carlo's.
1977 was the last year of this second generation classic. Americans must have known that a drastic change was coming as sales for the '77 Monte Carlo were still rather high. Due to the foreign oil embargo of 1973, cars manufactured for 1978 and subsequent years became smaller, lighter, and more fuel efficient. 1977 and second generation automobiles marked the conclusion of America’s original muscle car era.