Back Then. . . .1981 Chevy Monte Carlo

Back Then. . . .1981 Chevy Monte Carlo

1981 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. (Bud Wells/1980)

1981 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. (Bud Wells/1980)

Thirty-five years ago, I reviewed in The Denver Post the 1981Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Excerpts:

How do you continue improvements on a car as perennially popular as the Monte Carlo?

For 1981, Chevrolet has raised the rear deck lid which improves its appearance and creates a more aerodynamic model, added electronic controls for fewer emissions and limited powerplant selection to smaller displacements which assures higher fuel-mileage averages.

A test of an ’81 model showed it to be the same standout handler as the Monte Carlos of recent years. The 3,200-pound car is on a wheelbase of 108 inches.

The optional 267-cubic-inch V-8 engine averaged 16.5 miles  per gallon driving about Denver, then jumped to 24.3 mpg on a highway run. With automatic transmission, the Monte isn’t fast but is smooth in acceleration. Standard engine is a V-6, with a turbocharged V-6 also available.

Fuel efficiency has been increased and exhaust emissions reduced through use of a Computer Command Control system. A solid-state electronic control module monitors oxygen in the exhaust, engine speed and engine coolant temperature through specialized sensors. The control system analyzes the information and adjusts the fuel metering and spark timing.

Front-seat-passenger legroom is so much that the rider would have room to set a TV tray in front. Rear-seat legroom and headroom are adequate.

High-pressure (35 pounds) easy-roll radial tires are standard on the Monte Carlo, which uses coil springs at all fur wheels.

The Chevy two-door is long and relatively narrow. It is 200 inches in length and 71.8 inches wide, with front tread of 58.5 inches and rear 57.8. Luggage capacity is 16.8 cubic feet, and the tank will hold 18 gallons of unleaded fuel.

Base price of the Monte Carlo Landau Coupe is $7,799. Optional equipment set the window-sticker price for the test model at $9,578. The optional V-8 engine added $75 and the air-conditioning cost was $557. Special custom-cloth interior, power door locks and rear-window defroster were other major add-ons.

The vehicle was provided for testing by Stevinson Chevrolet.