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1971 Chevrolet Monte Carlo - Faster than the Law Allows

Mike Roy’s 7-second Monte Carlo blasts out from under the radar with a vengeance

Rod Short Dec 1, 2014
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When you look at all the Camaros, Chevelles, Chevy IIs, Tri-Fives, Impalas, Biscaynes, and all the other classics that crowd each and every Super Chevy Show, it could be easy to get lost in the shuffle. First-gen Monte Carlo fans might feel that way. While admittedly attractive and noteworthy cars, Monte Carlos are hardly ever on the tip of people’s tongues when discussing drag racing. Mike Roy of Indiana might just have changed that forever with this nearly 2,000-horsepower, 7-second True Street ’71 Monte.

“I purchased the car in 1994 and my wife thought I had lost my mind,” Mike said with a smile. “It had been in a fire. The interior was destroyed and the roof had caved in. I paid $800 for it. I bought a second car for the interior parts and glass, and then cut the roof off of it and put it on this one. It took about a year to get it roadworthy.”

1971 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Front Passenger Side View 2/11
1971 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Rear Side View 3/11

Produced from 1970 to 2008 with six different generations, Chevrolet’s first G-body would prove itself to be a winner—both off and on the track. As a mid-sized hardtop coupe, the first-gen Monte Carlos were essentially a Chevelle underneath but geared more towards the personal luxury market with nicer appointments. With design cues borrowed from both Cadillac and Pontiac, which included a long hood and short rear deck, the styling of the first-gen Monte Carlo was well received and has stood the test of time.

Just under 146,000 were produced in 1970 with another 128,600 sold the following year. Most of these came with the Turbo Fire 350 V-8 with a TH350 automatic, but the hot option in 1971 was the SS454 package. With a rated 365 hp, the ’71 Monte Carlo wasn’t exceptionally quick at 3,600 pounds, with quarter-mile elapsed times of around 16-seconds, but it could easily outrun similarly equipped Thunderbirds and Grand Prixs.

Of course, Roy had bigger things in mind when it came to running the quarter-mile. The car’s original 402 soon gave way to a 454 with some healthy doses of nitrous that brought the e.t.’s down to a best of 11.88 seconds. A 502 followed after that, along with fuel injection, and then a ProCharger F2 centrifugal blower, which resulted in timeslips in the 9.40s.

1971 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Engine 4/11
1971 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Trunk 5/11

With Larson Race Cars from Oak Grove, Missouri, performing their back-half suspension magic, Roy was eventually able to go as quick as an 8.26 utilizing a larger ProCharger F3R. In 2011, Larson Race Cars updated the ’cage to SFI 25.5 specs for advanced e.t. cars while Roy went the turbo route with a pair of 88mm large-frame turbos. With some fine-tuning, he has since gone an amazing 7.64 elapsed time at 187-plus mph at nearly 4,000 pounds—thanks to a whopping 1,967 rear-wheel horsepower.

As it sits today, the Monte rides on TRZ A-arms and double-adjustable QA1 front shocks under the lowered front end. Strange dual-piston calipers grip oversized 11-inch rotors for stopping power. Afco “Big Gun” twin-tube coilover shocks are used on the rear to provide the hit to the rear tire when Roy launches this heavyweight. An LRC 9-inch rear differential with 3.70 gears and a spool work to transfer torque to the rear Mickey Thompson ET Street DOT tires, which measure 26x15 in size.

With a 4.500-inch bore and a 4.250 stroke, Roy’s engine displaces 540 cubic inches. Roy assembled the short-block with a Callies crank, Diamond 9.0:1 pistons, and Trend 3/8-inch diameter pushrods. Curtis Boggs at RFD ported the Edelbrock aluminum heads, which are run by a custom ground cam from Mike Moran Racing Engines. Atop that is a cast single-plane Sniper intake manifold from Profiler (New Carlisle, Ohio) which mounts a throttle body. From that company, a programmable BigStuff3 SEFI ECU meters the fuel from the Weldon electric pump to the fuel injectors while also managing the spark events. Roy uses three injectors per port to feed gasoline through each intake runner.

1971 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Engine View 6/11

Twin Garrett GT4718R ball bearing turbochargers with a compressor wheel featuring a 118mm exducer and 88mm inducer are used on Roy’s engine combination. Roy runs these turbos at about 30 psi of boost. A PT-2400 liquid-to-air intercooler from Precision Turbo of Hebron, Indiana, keeps the air inlet temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit regardless of what the ambient air temperature is outside.

Backing up this potent engine combination is a TH400 automatic with a Coan 4,500-stall converter. Since this Monte racks up thousands of street miles each year, Roy runs equipment that can be found on many parking lot cars, such as a Be Cool two-row radiator, Powermaster 140-amp alternator, MSD ignition box, and Borla mufflers.

Other than a fiberglass Glasstek cowl-induction hood and front bumper, the car’s steel body remains stock. The car was sprayed with a Sikkens Garnet Red basecoat/clearcoat system and remains fresh looking despite having been painted nearly 20 years ago.

1971 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Interior 10/11

Roy finished the car’s cockpit with Kirkey race seats, an Auto Custom Carpeting (ACC) rug, a custom console from Jim Wise, Momo steering wheel, Precision Performance shifter, and a mix of stock and Auto Meter instruments.

When it’s all said and done, Mike Roy’s Monte Carlo is mixture of a classic Chevy body style with modern muscle and racecar technology combined to provide simply stunning results. With success in running Super Chevy True Street as well as the Hot Rod Power Tour, Roy’s heavy Chevy proves one can run reliably and fast as well. It’s a coming out party not only for Monte Carlo enthusiasts who can now claim one of the quickest street cars in the world, but also the technology that makes it go.

It may all be faster than the law allows, but it makes getting there even more fun!

1971 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Passenger Side View 11/11

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