The very conspicuously claimed Monte Carlo seen displayed on this August issue cover of LOWRIDER is represented by the Together Car Club. This very popular style of Chevrolet was the king of the boulevards in the days when disco and Donna Summers were symbolic of the late ’70s. The second generation of Monte Carlo was designed not just to be a hardtop, but a pillared coupe with rear side opera windows and frameless door glass.
Back in 1973 it was also named Motor Trend’s “Car of the Year” due to its new styling and emphasis on a Euro-style ride and handling. The second-generation Chevrolet Monte Carlo won management approval even though there were daring concept design changes made to the body. Designer Irv Rybicki displayed the beautifully finished black-and-silver concept model with a great flourish to Mr. John DeLorean and a group of onlookers as they toured the styling studios one afternoon. DeLorean’s guests applauded wildly and DeLorean gave Rybicki his immediate approval, urging him not to tamper a bit with the final design.
DeLorean didn’t tinker with the new Monte Carlo’s exterior design, but he called for a complete overhaul of its suspension. He was enamored of European luxury cars like Mercedes, with their firmer damping and sharper steering response. Detroit had always resisted the Mercedes approach out of a near-religious conviction that a cloud-like ride and effortless steering would sell more cars than confident and stiffer handling, but John DeLorean was determined to give the new Monte better road manners. Today this popular style of Monte Carlo is still iconic as well as classic, and that’s because we overhauled that suspension too! Hydraulics added to that European-styled suspension also enhances the Monte Carlo’s design. Take a look at this cover feature, I’m sure those onlookers who toured the General Motors plant that day would also agree.
While we are discussing suspension and handling technology, let’s also make the comparisons of the automobile then and now. As mentioned before, gone are the days of the “ride on a cloud” comfort suspensions. Today we feel everything on the road and that’s because there is more hands-on control at the wheel that sits right behind the best and most innovative brake systems allowed. When it comes to performance, you get better fuel efficiency without sacrificing power and we haven’t even brought up reliability and safety features yet.
We have all seen the “retro-future” muscle cars out there like the Camaro, Challenger, and Mustang. The thing that’s cool about them is that they still have that classic look and era style, but the mechanics on these latest rides are incomparable to what was offered back then. Let’s take the 1964 Chevrolet Impala for instance. This LOWRIDER favorite is now 50 years old, but it still separates itself in looks from the Impala at the dealerships today. What if your six-four had the latest reliable suspension and performance technology offered today? Even though Chevrolet won’t come out with a “retro Impala,” that doesn’t mean we can’t adapt and build one of our own.
Today there are plenty of aftermarket products to help update or upgrade just about any classic out there. From frame-off bushing replacements on up to the LS engine drivetrains, we at LOWRIDER present and demonstrate any and all products for your special build! The LOWRIDER Garage/tech department, features restoration, performance, and suspension articles that include “building on a budget,” step-by-step installations. If you think our tech department can use a tune up though, and you would like to see other tech articles that can help cover rebuilding concerns on your project, well then please constructively and respectably let us know about it. All weekend garage mechanics are welcomed to help turn a wrench inside this magazine too, and we would appreciate your support. Oh yeah, have you thanked a soldier lately?
Until the next cruise by.