When was the last time Super Chevy magazine ran some first-generation Monte Carlo tech stories? Come to think of it, when was the last time Super Chevy ran any type of Monte Carlo tech stories? There was an exhaust system install in the January 2007 issue, but it's been awhile since there was a more substantial piece.
Harrison Ortis, proprietor of Harrison's Restorations, purchased an $800 running '71 Monte Carlo at a recent vehicle auction. This bone stock Monte must have been a Grandma's grocery getter, because, minus the body dings and ragged vinyl top, it's in decent enough shape. We sat around the shop bench racing one night about what to do with this groundbreaking personal luxury car, and as one idea evolved into another we think we came up with a solution. Most of the Monte Carlos we see around the country are stock-looking resto rods or low riders. Not that there is anything wrong with either, but we wanted to do something a bit different.
We have also seen a few drag racing Monte Carlos and that was where this project was headed until we decided to turn it into an action touring car. How about something that can be run in one of the over-the-public road races that take place in Nevada, such as the Silver State or Nevada Open Road Challenge, and then take it to a local cruise night on a regular basis?
We are still tossing around other ideas and trying to talk Harrison into forgetting about a big-block and to go with a modern LS engine, but that's a story for another day. We still have more plans to iron out, but the one thing we agreed to is that the OE suspension has to go. In order to do it right, the body and frame had to be separated and the frame completely rebuilt.
Part of "doing it right" was to turn to Hotchkis Sport Suspension for help in improving the handling of the Monte. Hotchkis is not just a manufacturer of suspension components. The Hotchkis guys are also racers who have proven themselves on the track. Who better to design and build suspension components than experienced racers? It was suggested to us that we use their Total Vehicle System (TVS) for the Monte Carlo. The great thing about GM vehicles is that so many of them are almost identical on the underside. The Hotchkis TVS application part #80008 fits GM '69-72 A-body applications. The TVS kit comes complete with:
" 1-inch sport lowering springs front and rear.
" Double adjustable upper trailing arms (for easy pinion angle adjustment) with can bushings.
" One-piece lower trailing arms with polyurethane bushings and trailing arm mount braces.
" Performance sway bars (1 3/8-inch hollow front and 1-inch rear), complete with polyurethane bushings, axle mounts, bolt kits, grease pack, etc.
" Upper and lower tubular A-arms with ball joints, polyurethane bushings and bolt kit.
All pieces in the TVS kit come with hardware and are powdercoated for looks and durability. Besides the TVS kit, we ordered a few extra components from Hotchkis for the Monte Carlo-Bilstein shocks tuned by Hotchkis and a set of late-model B-body spindles with OE-style brakes and a front-end rebuild kit. Along with the suspension, we ordered a high-perfoormance Remy Racing steering box to complete the suspension build.