The Chevrolet Monza was a rear wheel drive hatchback, coupe and wagon sold from 1975 through 1980. It replaced the Chevrolet Vega, with three years of overlap, and was based on the same GM H platform. Other 1975-1980 H-bodies are twins of the Monza: the Oldsmobile Starfire, Buick SkyHawk, and (in 1976) Pontiac Sunbird.
The Monza was not designed to replace the Vega. Rather, it was to be the platform for General Motors Wankel engine. However, that project never went into production, so a traditional I4 and V8 was offered instead. Buick and Olds also got a V6. The Monza 2+2 won Motor Trend’s Car of the Year award for 1975.
Initial engines for 1975 were the 2300 I4 and 262 V8 on the Monza and the 3800 V6 for the SkyHawk and Starfire. 1976 Sunbirds got just the 4 or 6. A special California/High Altitude-only edition used the 350 V8 tuned for just 125hp (93kW). 1976 saw the introduction of GM's new 305 V8, available to 49-state customers, but California/high altitude customers were limited to the I4 and 262 V8 until the following year, when the 262 was discontinued. From 1977 thru 79, the whole country got just one V8 Monza, the 305 V8. Oldsmobile started offering the 2300 in 1977, and Pontiac launched the 305 in 1979. 1980 saw the complete removal of the V8 powerplant in the GM H-Body platform.
The 2300 was replaced across the line in 1978 with the Pontiac 2500 "Iron Duke" I4. Buick versions got the 3200 V6 except for California which stuck with the 3800.
There were several trim levels of the Monzas, and Special edition vehicles were released also.
Monza Spyders were produced from 1976-1980 and could be ordered as a performance package alone (including a tuned suspension, and other goodies), or a performance and styling package (including Spyder decals).
The Monza Mirage was produced in 1977 only, by Mighigan Auto Techniques, an aftermarket company contracted by GM. The Mirage was cameo white, with red and blue racing stripes along the length of the car. It also featured flared body panels, and a special airdam & spoiler. The vehicles were built in GM's St. Therese plant, and sent to MAT for modification, after which they would ship to the dealer. There were approx 4097 Mirages made from MAT, but there were also Mirages created by dealerships, which were un-traceable. There is only an estimated 25-30 Mirages left in running order.
The H-body Monza, Starfire, SkyHawk, and Sunbird were replaced for 1981 with the new front wheel drive J-body cars, the Chevrolet Cavalier, Oldsmobile Firenza, Buick Skyhawk, and Pontiac J2000 (which became the Sunbird again in 1983).
In Brazil, the J-body version was called the Chevrolet Monza and was available as a two-door or a three-door fastback. This was produced from 1982 to 1989.
In 1999, Chevrolet of Mexico used the Monza name on a version of the Geo Metro.