1980 Chevrolet Monte Carlo

1980 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Sport Coupe
A subtle facelift freshened up the
1980 Chevrolet Monte Carlo's front end.

The 1980 Chevrolet Monte Carlo received its first facelift since being "downsized" for 1977. The car got a new "eggcrate" grille between rectangular side-by-side headlights, but was little changed otherwise, at least on the outside.

Under the hood, it was a different story. Compared to 1979, there was a slight shuffling of engine displacements and horsepower ratings, with V-6s of 229 or 231 cubic inches, and V-8s of 267 or 305 cubic inches. Horsepower ranged from 110 to 155. But added for 1980 was a turbocharged version of Buick's 231-cubic-inch V-6 rated at 170 horsepower.

Unfortunately for performance buffs, the four-speed manual transmission offered (but rarely ordered) for 1979 was dropped, making a three-speed automatic the standard -- and only -- transmission.

Turbocharged engines typically don't make much power at low speeds, so the automatic transmission coupled with a tall 2.29:1 rear axle ratio meant that off-the-line punch wasn't a Turbo Monte's strong suit. Indeed, its 13.0-second 0-60 time was little if any better than with the 5.0-liter V-8 -- which cost $200 less.

Like any good personal-luxury coupe, the Monte Carlo offered a host of "personalizing" options: Custom Cloth or Vinyl upholstery, a bevy of sound systems (some with built-in CB radios), power windows/locks/seats, power trunk opener, power sunroof, and "Removable Glass Roof Panels," more commonly known as T-tops.

Along with most other Chevys, Monte Carlo prices were up sharply. In 1979, a base V-6 coupe retailed for $5,333; for 1980, it was up to $6,524. A Landau edition was also offered, which added a vinyl top, pin striping, deluxe wheel covers, and visor vanity mirrors. At $250 more than a base Monte, the Landau didn't sell as well.

But then Monte Carlos as a whole didn't sell very well. From 282,000 in 1979, sales dropped to only 126,000 for 1980. Increased prices were partly to blame, but so was the gas crisis that labeled most traditional large American cars as "guzzlers."

1980 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Sport Coupe rear
The 1980 Monte Carlo Sport Coupe
came standard with a 3.8-liter V-6.

1980 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Facts

Model
Weight range (lbs.)
Price range (new)
Number built
Monte Carlo
3,104-3,219
$6,524-$6,852
148,842

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