1 General Information

1.1 What is the GM H-body, basically?

The H-body was GM's subcompact car for the seventies, sold in six different models: Chevrolet Vega and Monza, Pontiac Astre and Sunbird, Buick Skyhawk, and Oldsmobile Starfire.

Each model has a 4, 6, or 8-cylinder engine in the front and a solid rear axle to move the car. All bodies are of unit-body construction (no separate frame). All styles have four seats, two doors, and are available in notchback, hatchback, or wagon forms (depending on brand). There are economy- and performace-tuned models.

The line was replaced in the early eighties by the transverse front-engined front wheel drive GM J-Body (Chevrolet Cavalier, Pontiac Sunbird, etc.).

??? The H-Bodies were developed by GM Lead Engineer Ed Cole, who also developed the Corvair and Fiero. The Vega was designed with a Chevy Small Block V8 in mind, but the Corvette group protested enough to kill that option.

H is the internal code GM used to identify the car platform. For example, some other codes are F for the Camaro and Firebird, P for the Fiero, Y for the Corvette, G for the RWD Monte Carlo and Grand Prix, and so on. Letter codes change and get reused. Most recently, H was used for the large FWD platform used by the Pontiac Bonneville and Buick LeSabre.

1.2 What are the different H-body models?

There are two major variations of the H-body, one based on the Chevrolet Vega and one based on the Chevrolet Monza.

Vega sales began in 1971. The Pontiac Astre, almost a clone of the Vega except for minor cosmetic changes, was sold in Canada, then introduced to the US in 1975. The Vega was sold in hatchback, notchback, wagon, and panel wagon versions. All Vegas were sold with 1bbl or 2bbl 2.3L four cylinder aluminum-block OHC engines, except the DOHC Cosworth Vega sold in 1975 and 1976. The Vega 2300 won Motor Trend's "Car of the Year" for 1971. Vega sales ended with the 1977 model year.

The Monza was introduced in 1975. GM's other brands also introduced their versions of the Monza: the Oldsmobile Starfire, the Buick Skyhawk, and the Pontiac Sunbird. The Monza, based on concept cars designed by Pininfarina (1971/1972 Ferrari GTC+4), was designed to use a two rotor Wankel engine, but that engine never reached production. Instead, the Monza appeared with either the Vega's 4-cylinder or a 262ci small block V8 (350ci in California). Later engines include the Pontiac Iron Duke 2.5l inline four, a 3.2l V6, the Buick 3.8l V6, and the Chevy 305 V8. The Monza 2+2 hatch won Motor Trend's "Car of the Year" for 1975. All H-body production ended for the 1980 model year.

1.3 What are the special or rare factory H-bodies? 1.4 What are some aftermarket H-bodies? 1.5 What changes were made to the Chevrolet Vega for each model year?

NOTE: Questions 1.5-1.10 aren't meant to be complete lists of changes, but enough to help you spot different models. Complete details are in the book "Standard Catalog of American Cars" (see Sources).

1.6 What changes were made to the Pontiac Astre for each model year?

Most changes shadow the Vega, but here are some Astre-specific notes:

1.7 What changes were made to the Chevrolet Monza for each model year? 1.8 What changes were made to the Buick Skyhawk for each model year? 1.9 What changes were made to the Oldsmobile Starfire for each model year? 1.10 What changes were made to the Pontiac Sunbird for each model year? 1.11 How many of each model was produced?

Note: Around 4 million H-bodies were produced!

1.12 What's this I hear about a rotary engine in the Monza?

The Monza was intended to showcase GM's new 206ci 2-rotor Wankel engine. For example, the transmission tunnel was made larger to house the engine and its transmission. However, the engine never reached production. In 1976, the transmission tunnel was reduced in size to make more interior room.

Ken (mahoy78spyder) expands on this:
"A rotary in an Hbody is a 25-year-old idea, and to some extent, I'm sorry it didn't come to fruition. After researching the Wankel some time ago, I discovered some real advantages it had over the other engine choices offered in '73-'74. Here are some stats on the 206-cu.in. Wankel as compared to the 307-cu.in. V8 engine offered those same years:

Weight: only 255lbs, compared to 465lbs for the V8
Number of parts: 698 in Wankel; 1,103 in V8
Moving parts: 154 in Wankel; 388 in V8
Space requirement (cubic feet): 5.5 Wankel; 23 V8!
Net HP @ rpm: 150 @ 6,000 for Wankel; 130 @ 4,000 307 V8 (NOTE: 145hp was the highest factory Hbody HP
attained, in the '78 305-cu.in. V8!)
Net torque @ rpm: 125 @ 4,000 for Wankel; 230 @ 2,400 307 V8
Hp per lb.: 0.59 for Wankel; 0.28 for V8
Cost per hp: $1.80-$2.20 Wankel; $3.00 for V8

With that said, the Wankel beat the V8 on size and weight, and it was also cheaper than the V8 to manufacturer and assemble. It also had 100,000-mile-plus seal life, 24,000 miles or more between oil changes, and only needed cheaper low-grade motor oil. It was also vibrationless when running, had very low noise levels, a wide speed range, and a high RPM range (up to 8,000 rpm!).

It was supposed to be introduced in October of '73 as an option in the '74 Vega. GM President, Ed Cole, was so confident of his rotary project that even though GM had plopped down $50,000,000 to obtain rights to the Wankel only 3 years earlier in November of 1970, he projected the October 1973 release. I'm not sure how long you've been an employee of GM, Paul, but you may know the name of Bob Templin. Bob was the chief executive officer in charge of all rotary-engine research at GM. Ed Cole was so involved in this project that he would leave from his office in Detroit twice a week for the Tech Center in Warren MI where Templin was. Once there it was said he would personally take charge of the program.

What killed the Wankel project? You're right in saying gas mileage, reliability, and meeting emissions did it in, however, that's only partly true.

The "emissions" problem was mentioned in a few articles I have on the engine, however, no specific cause was mentioned. Conversely, other data I have shows that GM planned on introducing the Electronic-ignition system in the 74 Rotary Vega so that they could have a cleaner burning system and also meet the 50,000 mile emissions compliance. The Wankel was indeed an internal combustion engine, and could be cleaned up just like a V8, but the Wankel was "easier" to purify.

As for "reliability", the Wankel had so far proven much more reliable than any of the 4,6, or 8cyl engines offered for that time period. GM had tested some rotary engines that lasted 400,000 to 500,000 miles with minimal wear. Also, the rotary had a much fewer number of parts, and even fewer "moving" parts, so the chances of something breaking were reduced.

The "mileage" problem was what really killed the Wankel in my humble opinion. The ill-timed Arab oil embargo is what I think took the wind out of the Wankel project. No one seemed to care anymore if the exhaust could be easily cleaned, but rather, they wanted to know how the car was for fuel economy. GM admitted fuel economy for the rotary was sub-standard and postponed production in favor of "further development". Another little-known fact that hurt the GM Wankel rotary was the EPA's misleading fuel economy data that crucified Mazda's rotary for that year. So a rotary engine in general was not looked upon favorably. When did GM finally call it quits? I don't know... maybe it was when Ed Cole retired as you mentioned Paul. What an expensive loss!

I don't have any photos of the Wankel installed in an Hbody, but I do however have a very interesting drawing (illustration) of the Wankel installed in the '74 Vega. Items of interest in the picture are a completely different grille; a lower, more sloped hood line; a center hood "hump" shaped like a "V" (straight lines, not curved like a normal Vega); and the "GM Rotary" badge on the rear quarter panel with also what appears to be the Wankel "crest" following the text. I would be extremely interested in seeing any pics of your friend's rotary Vega body. It was published that the GM Rotary Vega would have its own grille, and would be sold as a package with performance items, such as mag wheels, radial tires, and rally stripes. Also, you might want to check for these other unique identifying items on his Vega. The taller trans tunnel is an obvious difference, which you already mentioned, because of the Wankel's output shaft position. But it should also should have a softer suspension, which included redesigned front control arms to accept longer coil springs (same as CV and Monza maybe?); a torque-arm suspension (yep, no kidding); and for some reason, GM was to add plenty of sound isolation. Not sure why this was offered, except to maybe squelch the critics of the noisy 71-73 Vega, because the rotary was already extremely quiet.

1.13 What's up with the 1999 Chevrolet Monza and other reincarnations?

The 1999 Chevrolet Monza is sold in Mexico. It looks a lot like a Chevy (Geo) Metro sedan but it's not the same car. It has a 1.6l 4 cylinder TBI engine putting out 78 hp and 91 lb*ft of torque. Don't expect to see it in the U.S. See http://www.chevrolet.com.mx/genuino/monza/monza.html

The 1984 Opel (a GM make) Monza was only sold overseas and looks a lot like the 1984 Chevy Cavalier with a longer hood. However it has a 180hp 3.0l SOHC I6 engine, rear wheel drive, and independent rear suspension. It was built to compete with the BMW 5-series and mid-sized Mercedes. A 3.9l engine with 210hp and much more torque was optional in the Bitter SC, a tuner-version of the car by Erich Bitter.

In 1984, GM planned to introduce a new H-body in 1988. It was meant to be a FWD replacement for the B-body (Chevrolet Caprice and clones). It came out as the 1986 Buick LeSabre, 1986 Oldsmobile Delta 88, and 1987 Pontiac Bonneville. Note that it did not replace the B-body and has nothing to do with the original H-body.

And, finally, many older people who hear "Monza" think of the Corvair Monza, 1961-1969. The Monza Sport Coupe version of the Corvair was the best-selling model, so many people think of the Corvair when they hear "Monza."

So, there was no H-body like "ours" before or since the real thing!

1.14 How do I decode the VIN on my H-body?

For 1971 Cars:

  1 4 1 1 1 1 U 1 0 0 0 0 1
  | \_/ \_/ | | \_________/
  |  |   |  | |      |
  |  |   |  | |      +-------- Production Sequence
  |  |   |  | |
  |  |   |  | +--------------- Assembly Plant
  |  |   |  |                    U = Lordstown, Ohio, USA
  |  |   |  |                    2 = St Therese, Quebec, Canada
  |  |   |  | 
  |  |   |  +----------------- Model Year
  |  |   |                       1 = 1971
  |  |   |
  |  |   +-------------------- Body Style
  |  |                           11 = 2D Sedan
  |  |                           77 = 2D Coupe
  |  |                           15 = 2D Station Wagon
  |  |
  |  +------------------------ Carline Series
  |                              41 = Vega
  |                              ??? = Astre
  +--------------------------- Make
                                 1 = Chevrolet
                                 2 = Pontiac

For 1972-1980 Cars:

  1 M 2 7 V A 7 1 0 0 0 0 1
  | | \_/ | | | \_________/
  | |  |  | | |      |
  | |  |  | | |      +------ Production Sequence
  | |  |  | | |
  | |  |  | | +------------- Assembly Plant
  | |  |  | |                  N = Norwood, Ohio, USA 
  | |  |  | |                  U = Lordstown, Ohio, USA 
  | |  |  | |                  1 = Oshhawa, Ontario, Canada
  | |  |  | |                  2 = St Therese, Quebec, Canada
  | |  |  | |                  4 = Scarborough, Ontario, Canada
  | |  |  | |                  7 = Lordstown, Ohio, USA ???
  | |  |  | |
  | |  |  | +--------------- Model Year
  | |  |  |                    2 = 1972
  | |  |  |                    3 = 1973
  | |  |  |                    4 = 1974
  | |  |  |                    5 = 1975
  | |  |  |                    6 = 1976
  | |  |  |                    7 = 1977
  | |  |  |                    8 = 1978
  | |  |  |                    9 = 1979
  | |  |  |                    A = 1980
  | |  |  |
  | |  |  +----------------- Engine Code
  | |  |                       A = 140ci (2.3l) Chevrolet L4 1bbl (1971-1976)
  | |  |                       A = 231ci (3.8l) Buick V6 2bbl (1978-1980)
  | |  |                       B = 140ci (2.3l) Chevrolet L4 2bbl 
  | |  |                       C = 231ci (3.8l) Buick V6 2bbl (1975-1977)
  | |  |                       C = 196ci (3.2l) Buick V6 2bbl (1978-1980)
  | |  |                       F = 260ci (4.3l) Oldsmobile V8 2bbl
  | |  |                       G = 262ci (4.3l) Chevrolet V8 2bbl (1975-1976)
  | |  |                       G = 305ci (5.0l) Chevrolet V8 2bbl (1979)
  | |  |                       H = 350ci (5.7l) Chevrolet V8 2bbl (1975/California)
  | |  |                       I = 151ci (2.5l) Pontiac L4 2bbl 
  | |  |                       K = 350ci (5.7l) Chevrolet V8 4bbl
  | |  |                       O = 122ci (2.0l) Cosworth/Chevrolet L4 EFI 
  | |  |                       Q = 305ci (5.0l) Chevrolet V8 2bbl 
  | |  |                       U = 305ci (5.0l) Chevrolet V8 2bbl 
  | |  |                       V = 151ci (2.5l) Pontiac L4 2bbl 
  | |  |
  | |  +-------------------- Body Type
  | |                          11 = 2D Sedan/Notchback (Vega & Astre)
  | |                          77 = 2D Coupe/Hatchback (Vega & Astre)
  | |                          15 = 2D Station Wagon (Vega, Astre, & Monza)
  | |                          V5 = 2D Panel Wagon (Vega & Astre)
  | |                          07 = 2D 2+2 Hatchback (Monza etc.)
  | |                          27 = 2D Coupe/Notchback (Monza etc.)
  | |
  | +----------------------- Carline Series
  |                            C = Astre
  |                            D = Starfire SX
  |                            H = Vega Panel Wagon \
  |                            H = Astre            |---- Depends on make
  |                            H = Skyhawk          /
  |                            M = Monza 'S' Coupe or Hatch (round lights)
  |                            M = Sunbird 
  |                            R = Monza 2+2 Hatchback (quad lights)
  |                            T = Starfire 
  |                            V = Vega
  +------------------------- Make
                               1 = Chevrolet
                               2 = Pontiac
                               3 = Oldsmobile 
                               4 = Buick
1.15 How do I decode the trim tag on my H-body?

There are two styles based on the plant. However, Brian Melka (Bacchus_101573) notes that his '75 Canadian-built car has a tag like that shown below for the Ohio cars. So, check both...

1.16 What are some Vega/Astre option codes?

Many are the same as Monza codes (below), but these are probably unique to Vegas:

    BX3 Woodgrain
    D88 GT Stripes
    Y10 Door and Quarter Custom Buildup
    Z10 Spirit of America appearance package
    Z29 GT package ?

1.17 What are some Monza/Sunbird/Starfire/Skyhawk option codes?
    11L White paint (lower body)
    11U White paint (upper body)
    11V Black Vinyl interior
    15L Silver Metallic paint (lower body)
    15U Silver Metallic paint (upper body)
    16L Medium Gray Metallic paint (lower body)
    16U Medium Gray Metallic paint (upper body)
    19X Black carpet floor
    19V Black Vinyl interior
    21L Silver Blue Metallic paint (lower body)
    21U Silver Blue Metallic paint (upper body)
    24L Medium Blue Metallic paint (lower body)
    24U Medium Blue Metallic paint (upper body)
    26L Bright Blue Metallic paint (lower body)
    26U Bright Blue Metallic paint (upper body)
    44L Medium Green Metallic paint (lower body)
    44U Medium Green Metallic paint (upper body)
    49L Dark Green Metallic paint (lower body)
    49U Dark Green Metallic paint (upper body)
    50L Yellow paint (lower body)
    50U Yellow paint (upper body)
    51L Bright Yellow paint (lower body)
    51U Bright Yellow paint (upper body)
    59L Beige paint (lower body)
    59U Beige paint (upper body)
    61L Light Buckskin paint (lower body)
    61U Light Buckskin paint (upper body)
    62C Tan Cloth interior
    62N Tan Vinyl interior
    63L Tan paint (lower body)
    63U Tan paint (upper body)
    64W Buckskin Vinyl Interior ???
    65L Buckskin paint (lower body)
    65U Buckskin paint (upper body)
    69L Dark Brown Metallic paint (lower body)
    69U Dark Brown Metallic paint (upper body)
    71V Firethorn Vinyl interior
    72L Medium Red paint (lower body)
    72U Medium Red paint (upper body)
    74J Red Durham Cloth interior
    75L Light Red paint (lower body)
    75U Light Red paint (upper body)
    77L Carmine Metallic paint (lower body)
    77U Carmine Metallic paint (upper body)
    78L Medium Orange paint (lower body)
    78U Medium Orange paint (upper body)
    79L Dark Carmine paint (lower body)
    79U Dark Carmine paint (upper body)
    80L Orange Metallic paint (lower body)
    80U Orange Metallic paint (upper body)
    85L Gray paint (lower body)
    85U Gray paint (upper body)
    A01 Glass, Soft-Ray Tinted
    A44 Adj pass seat
    A51 St supp ctr bkt
    AB8 RR quarter window
    AD1 Tinted Glass
    AD3 Vista-Vent sunroof with removable top
    AK1 Deluxe Seat Belts
    AN6 Adjustable Seat Back

    B37 Mat, Front and Rear Floor
    B80 Roof Drip Molding 
    B84 Body Side Molding
    B85 Moulding, Belt Reveal
    B90 Side Window Reveal Molding
    B93 Moulding, Door Edge
    B94 Body Emblem
    B96 Wheel Opening Molding
    BS1 Acoustical Insulation Package
    BS2 Acoustical Insulation Package
    BY1 Body Emblem

    C06 Astroroof (Skyhawk only; like a fixed glass Targa top)
    C09 S/T Toof Padded
    C18 Black Windshield Wiper
    C60 Air Conditioning
    C80 Front Door Jam Switch
    C49 Rear Window Defroster
    CD4 Intermittent Wipers
    CF4 Sky Roof with sliding glass panel

    D31 Mirror, Inside Day/Night Rear View
    D35 Sport Mirrors
    D55 Sport Console
    D80 Front and rear spoilers, body color
    D92 f dh tp decor
    E1Y Adaptor
    E6F Sleeve

    F41 Heavy duty suspension
    F59 Front stabilizer bar, 1.25" diameter

    G80 Positraction rear axle
    GH2 Axle, 2.29 Ratio
    GM8 Axle, 2.56 Ratio
    GU2 Axle, 2.73 Ratio
    GU4 Axle, 3.08 Ratio
    GW9 Axle, 2.93 Ratio
    GX9 Axle, 2.92 Ratio
    J50 Power Brakes
    JL2 Power Brakes

    K19 Air Injection Reactor
    K81 Generator, 63 Amp
    L11 2.3l 4-cyl engine, 2 BBL
    L65 350ci (5.7l) V8 engine 
    LC9 3.2l V6 engine
    LD5 3.8l evenfire V6 engine
    LD7 3.8l oddfire V6 engine
    LG3 305ci (5.0l) V8 engine
    LX8 2.5l Iron Duke L4 engine
    LV1 262ci (4.3l) V8 engine
    M16 TH200 automatic transmission
    M20 4 speed manual transmission
    M29 TH200 automatic transmission
    M38 THM 350 automatic transmission
    M40 THM 350 automatic transmission
    M75 Borg-Warner T-50 5-speed manual transmission

    N31 Sport steering wheel
    N33 Tilt steering wheel
    N41 Power Steering
    N65 Wheel, Space Saver Spare
    N66 Wheel, rally (Starfire GT only - chrome) 
    N73 Wheel, cast aluminum (Sunbird, Skyhawk)
    N77 Wheel, forged aluminum (Monza, Skyhawk)
    N98 Rally II wheels with trim rings
    NB2 California Emissions Systems
    NK3 Sport steering wheel

    P06 Wheel Trim Ring
    PA3 Cover, Deluxe Wheel Trim

    QAG A78 whitewall tires
    QKX BR70-13" blackwall radials
    QRA Wide oval radial tires with raised white letters

    R07 Sport hatchback

    T63 Buzzer, Headlamp On

    U14 Tachometer and gauge package
    U26 Lamp, Engine Compartment
    U35 Clock, Electric (non-digital - in guage cluster)
    U58 Radio, AM/FM Stereo
    U63 AM Radio
    U69 Radio, AM/FM
    U76 Antenna, Windshield
    U80 Speaker, Rear Seat
    UA1 Heavy Duty Battery
    UE8 Clock, Electric Digital (above glove box)
    UM1 Radio, AM w/Stereo Tape
    UM2 Radio, AM/FM Stereo w/Tape

    V01 HD Radiator
    V19 Calif. Emissions Compliance
    V30 Bumper guards
    V55 Rooftop Luggage Carrier
    VE5 Bumper pad
    VK3 Front license plate
    VK5 Vert-a-pact

    W66 Sunbird Formula package
    W84 Additional ga ???
    WJ3 Leather interior, Starfire 

    Y02 Front Custom Seat
    Y03 Rear Custom Seat
    Y64 Starfire GT option package (LD5, N66, QRA, U14, U35)
    Y65 Starfire Firenza option package (D35, QKX)
    Y92 Lamp Group
    YA7 Calif. Asm. Emissions
    YC6 Estate Wagon
    YF5 Calif. Emissions Certification
    YJ8 Wheels, Cast Aluminum (Sunbird)
    YR2 Deluxe Front Seat
    YS1 Custom Rear Seat

    Z01 Monza Spyder equipment package (D55, F41, N31)
    Z02 Monza Spyder appearance package (D35, D80, N98)
    Z05 Leather interior, Monza 
    Z29 Monza Spyder option package (D35, D80, F41, F59, N98)
    Z49 Canadian preparation
    Z60 Sport Equipment option
    Z87 Facia, flexible front end (quad headlamp)
    Z87 Sport Cabriolet option ???
    ZJ9 Lighting Group, Auxiliary
    ZM5 Exterior Decor
    ZX1 Monza Mirage package (IMSA AAGT-like body panels)
1.18 What's a restoration pack?

It's a stack of information GM may send you about your car. Call GM at (800) 222-1020 and give them your make and model (some people were asked for a VIN).

[Author's note: I called once and got someone who didn't know what I was talking about and said to call Chevrolet's restoration department at (517) 485-6229. I called back later and got someone who knew what I was talking about.]

About two weeks later you should get two booklets: One is a generic list of car clubs, parts suppliers, etc., for all Chevrolets. The second is specific to your make and model and gives information about the body, options, etc. It was sent at no charge.

Some alternate info from Denis (calgary_spyder): If you're in Canada, try (888) 467-6853.

Some of the information included: when and where you car was built, where it was sold, production numbers, decoding of information on the build sheet, a 16-page booklet on the car for that year, and how to paint the car. The package came from GM but was billed by Vintage Vehicle Services of Oshawa, Ontario. This may not be the "official restoration pack."

1.19 Where can I find magazine articles about the H-bodies?

Most of this information was contributed by Al Howe (alfred_howe).

  All Chevy:
    01/92 ???
    04/92 ???
    10/92 ???
    12/92 ???

  Automotive News:
    03/02/81 "Vega, Pinto called 'damn jokes' (no answer to Japanese imports)" 
    08/74 ???

  Car Craft:
    01/71 Dick Harrel V8 Vega
    04/72 Grumpy's Pro Stock Vega beats Hemi
    11/72 Blown 72 Panel Wagon
    06/73 Scuncio Vega (from Scuncio Chevrolet in Rhode Island)
    01/74 Road test of 454 V8 4-speed Motion Performance Vega, IECO 190 HP 4 cylinder vega
    02/74 Radici & Wise Vega Funny Car story. Story about David Cowan and his Pro Stock vega
    03/74 Marshall Gardner's Motion 350 Vega (p.100)
    04/74 Cosworth Vega road test, U.S.A.F. sponsored Vega Funny Car
    06/74 74 Vega GT ad. Vega Funny car photo shoot. Story about 
          Steve Norris and his 74 V8 Vega.
    09/74 "Chevy V8 Monza" (Factory info and Pro Stock buildup) pg. 44 
    03/75 Mini Car shoppers guide including all H-Bodies, Bud Shelton and 
          his street/strip Astre, Starfire ad
    06/75 Jerry Gwynn's Monza Funny Car, Motion ad
    08/75 Gary Wilson and his Pro Street Vega, Ted Dzus and his 71 Street/Strip Vega Panel Wagon
    12/75 ???
    02/76 Gary Bryson, build up of Buick Skyhawk V6
    03/76 Bill Shanks Vega panel funny car, Don Prudhomme's Monza Funny Car
    05/76 Starfire ad, Motion ad, Vega GT ad, Mark & Bill Yuill and their Pro Stock Monza
    07/76 Vega ad
    10/76 Monza Spyder and Pontiac Sunburd road test, H-Bodies at drag strip
    11/76 Monza Spyder ad, Bob Mann's 402 V8 Vega
    04/77 Bill Meyer and his Vega funny car, Sunbird ad, Dick Callagy
          and his Monza funny car, John Lingenfelter and his Pro Stock Monza
    05/77 Pro Stock Monza crash photos
    07/77 Albert Clark and his Pro Stock Monza, several Pro Stock H-bodies
    08/77 V8 Monza road test, Warren Johnson and his big block pro stock Vega 
          match race car, John carpenters V8 vega gt street car, 
          Green elephant funny car vega story 
    09/77 Hooker V8 Vega build up
    07/78 Monza Spyder V8 road test; Ray Lockes and Rick Delis
          and their Pro Stock V8 Monzas
    12/78 "Vega Invasion" Sam Gianino's Pro Stock Monza, Starfire Ad,
          Grumpy Jenkins, Jack Trost's modified production Vega, 
          Yenko turbo Vega, seven street Vegas.
    08/79 Budget Vega build up
    03/80 Don Hardy V8 Vega build up part one
    07/80 Story about Ernie Lamoureuz and his black v8 Vega.
    02/82 77 big block V8 Vega street driven 9.32 at 152 mph.
          How to on opening up the wheel wells on a Vega for bigger tires.
    07/82 "Image Maker" Leatherwork's '75 Pro Street Monza pg. 72
    12/82 Ron Didonato and his 72 V8 Vega. IMSA inspired V8 Monza by Bob Boen.
    1982 Street Freaks special edition; 2 Vegas + rear-engined big block Vega
    08/83 How to build a V6 Vega
    09/84 Don Hardy 12-bolt on Vega, curing wheel hop
    03/85 "Deliverance" Bobby Bowman's '75 Pro Street Monza pg. 52
    08/86 Photo gallery blurb about Greg Tolman's 72 Vega
    05/98 Engine swaps (general, not specific to H-body)
    09/99 Photo gallery blurb about 454 Vega "EEK ARAT"
    10/99 1975 Monza 262 is one of the 10 worst V8s
    01/00 Photo gallery blurb on an '71 Vega
    02/00 H Body in Readers' Rides section
    05/00 Monzabudd's and Bob Gumm's websites in Readers section
    06/00 Kyle Howe's 73 Vega pg. 13
  Car and Driver: 
    09/70 Vega and Pinto road test
    01/71 Small car comparison
    10/72 72 Astre in a Quaker State ad
    09/74 ???
    02/75 ???
    03/75 ???
    09/76 Yellow Spyder
    11/77 ???
    02/78 ???
    04/78 ???
    07/78 ???

    01/75 ???
    12/75 First test of Vega/Monza 5-speed OD transmission
    07/76 ???
    05/77 Andy White's Monza Pro Stock crash
    07/77 Monza Spyder vs. Mustang II
    08/78 ???
    1984 Chevy Yearbook: Mike Reidys and his 73 V8 Vega

  Chevy High Performance:
    05/99 Useful transmission swap info
    03/01 Club member Larry (vega_man_larry) gets into article "Forgotten Vegas"

  Chevy Power:
    11/74 1975 Monza introduction
  Chevroland Nues:
    10/77 Experimental Aluminum 350 V8 Monza with Mirage Panels
  Collectable Automobile:
    02/90 "Likeable Look-Alikes," "Cheap Wheels"
    04/00 Large Vega article

  Consumer Guide Magazine:
    01/80 "General Motors Corporation" Monza and clones evaluation/description
    03/80 "Chevrolet Monza" evaluation (p.30)
    03/80 "Oldsmobile Starfire" evaluation (p.174)
    04/80 "New cars" Monza and clones
    05/80 "Buick Skyhawk: it files into the sunset next year" (p.196)
    05/80 "Chevrolet Monza: space takes a back seat to styling" (p.202)
    05/80 "Oldsmobile Starfire: mostly unchanged, and that's the trouble" (p.174)
    05/80 "Pontiac Sunbird: on the way out--and none too soon" (p.161)
    07/80 "Used cars: Rating the best 100" Monza 
    08/80 "Oldsmobile" comparison p.53
    07/81 "Used car rating the price guide, 1971-1981" (p.64)
    05/83 "Used cars: rating guide" 
  Consumer Reports:
    Annual Auto issue (77, 78, or 79 ???): Application of decals
      to H-bodies during manufacturing
    04/80 "Which cars are safest?" Monza (p.221)
    04/82 "Good bets in used cars (1976-80 models)" Vega (p.208)
    04/83 "Good bets in used cars (1977-82 models)" Monza (p.209)

  Custom Rodder:
    05/82 Monza Mirage build up

  Consumers Digest:
    01/80 "American Automobiles" Monza and clones

  Drag Racing USA:
    06/71 First look at a Vega funny car
  Grassroots Motorsports:
    05/97 "Monzter - Ken Mersereau's ITA Chevy Monza"

  High Performance Cars
    08/72 Turbo 4-cyl Vega show car, story on Grumpy Jenkins
    11/72 Don Hardy's first V8 Vega, how to build a Vega funny car
          fiberglass body, several Vega funny cars, Briggs Chevrolet's
          (Amboy NJ) Vega 4-cyl project
    12/72 Hiner/Miller Pro Stock Vega
    01/73 Motion Performance 350 V8 Vega
    05/73 Atco Dragway Nationals with Jungle Jim and several other Vegas,
          Wonder Bread-sponsored Vega wagon funny car
    08/73 Grumpy Jenkins and his shop in PA
    01/74 Motion Performance 454 V8 Vega
    03/74 Briggs' finished project car (see 11/72) Vega SS
    10/74 Road tests of 1975 Monza 2+2, Olds Starfire, Buick Skyhawk,
          1974 summer nationals with several Vegas

  Hot Cars:
    10/73 Story about Hory's Chevrolet and their v8 vega wagon.
          AD: Scuncio Chevrolet V8 vega conversion cars--starting price $3995.00

  Hot Rod:
    11/70 Vega road test, muscle parts review
    03/71 Vega and Pinto Funny Car review
    07/72 GM prototype all-aluminum 302 V8 in Vega road test, buyers guide
    10/73 Grumpy Jenkins Vega at NHRA Nationals
    04/??? Funny car pictorial, first look at 16 valve Cosworth head
    06/76 "Monza Fever"--how the IMSA body panels are added to a Monza
    12/76 Monza Mirage "The Great Escape" pg. 44
    07/79 ???
    03/80 "Parts Car" Camaro engine in Vega. (p.119)
    05/80 "The Ultimate Street Machine" V8 Vega: Don Hardy 74 Vega, 
          V8 Vega Swap buyers guide (p.28, 47)
    08/80 "Go four it." Modified Vega (p.52)
    09/80 "Backfire!" Chevrolet Vega (p.64)
    ???/81 Story about Phil Ferrari and his bright yellow V8 Vega.
    02/81 "Randy's Dandy" Monza (p.81)
    08/81 "Volksvega" VW engine in a Vega body (p.88)
    09/81 "Chevys!" (p.51)
    02/82 "Outlaw Vega: One of the most wanted Chevys in the West" (p.60)
    02/83 "Northern Light" (p.32) Chris Fletcher's yellow Big-Block Vega
    05/83 "Road Warriors" (p.69)
    07/83 "Subtle Shuttle" 1976 Monza (p.62)
    05/85 Buick 215 V8 into Vega
    02/87 "Nitrous Bandit" 1977 Olds Starfire (p.110)
    08/87 "This Pro Style '78 is One Mighty Monza" (p.97)
    08/87 "Slyhawk: a 12-second Buick-powered Skyhawk" (p.73)
    01/88 Chevrolet prototype Z-29 V8 Vega (picture and subprint) pg. 52,
          Monza Mirage (pic and subprint) pg. 55, Gary Kimball's Pro Stock 
          NHRA Vega pg. 51
    04/88 "Scared Straight" Vega hot rod (p.54)
    11/99 "Popular Swapular," little info about H-bodies
    01/00 Vega GT Wagon powered by a supercharged Buick 215 (4 pages)
    ????? Hot Rod special edition/Chevrolet No 4: Complete story The Ultimate Street 
          Machine Don Hardy V8 Vega. Story about Larry Bradshaw and his Super Pro 71 
          Vega Panel van 454 V8 9.70 at over 140 MPH in the Quarter.
          Story on where to locate all V8 vega vendors.Story on how to build a 190HP 
          4 cylinder vega, built by IECO. Story about Wayne Overbeck and his rear 
          engine V8 vega.
  Motor Trend:
    08/70 Road test of Vega Sedan, Wagon, and GT Coupe, interview with
          John Delorean
    01/71 Road test of Vega and Pinto
    02/71 Car of the Year (Vega) road test, comparison, engineering study
    12/74 1975 Vega ad
    03/75 ???
    06/75 California 350 Monza
    10/75 ???
    09/76 Monza Spyder Coupe
    12/76 "Monza Mirage"?
    01/77 Monza Super Spyder II pg.64, Racemark Monza (Road Racing Monza 
          designed by Mark Donohue & Bob Baily) pg. 73
    08/79 '79 Monza Spyder V6 review  pg. 74 
    07/80 "Econo coupes under $4500" Monza (p.65)
    11/84 "Bitter perspectives" foreign-market Opel Monza (p.46)
    09/99 "Cars of the Year (cars of the past)" Brief writeup about
          1971 COTY Vega--doesn't mention 1975 COTY Monza (p.79)

  Popular Hot Rodding:
    02/73 Vega funny car review
    04/73 Jungle Jim Pro Stock 72 Vega Wagon
    04/74 Joel Rosen's 1974 Motion Station Wagon Super Vega (w/Turbo),
          Jim Nichol's Speed Equipment World Revell Vega, Warren Johnson's Big
          Block 1973 vega hatchback Pro Stock car. 
    ??/74 Motion performance ads; Grumpy's Toy (Vega) center pull-out
    02/77 ???
    01/78 Monza Project Car part 1/4
    02/78 Monza Project Car part 2/4
    03/78 Axle and gear change for Vega and Monza, V8 Monza in Centerline ad,
          Monza Project Car part 3/4
    04/78 Send drag Vega funny cars, Monza Project Car part 4/4
    06/78 Bryan Thatcher and his 77 Vega Wagon
    08/78 Pro gas drag racing H-Body style, Randy Diephuis and his Pontiac V8 powered 
          Astre drag car
    10/78 Bob Stanek and his Vega drag car
    12/78 Bob Zooks and his C-Gas Monza Drag Car
    01/79 How to Install a Don Hardy 12-bolt into an H-Body, Motion ad
    02/79 402 BB in a street/strip Vega, Skyhawk drag race car
    03/79 Complete install of Don Hardy V8 kit, Hooker Headers V6 Vega 
          with body kit
    04/79 Reggie Jackson (of baseball fame) and his BBVega, Ronnie Reed and 
          his Pro Gas Vega, Al Garcia nad his Vega drag car, Doug Nash 5 speed 
          in a V8 Monza
    05/79 Hooker-built V6 Vega story. Oakland roadster show with Randy Brockman 
          and his D/gas Vega on the show floor. Ed Figgins and his radical custom 
          Vega wagon. How to on tuning a tunnel ram with an automatic tranny 74 Vega.
    07/79 Greg Cragg and his 71 Vega show and drag car
    08/79 How to install a turbo charger in a stock 4 cylinder 72 vega, Bernie Agaman's 
          Pro Stock Monza
    10/80 Story about Robert Myers and his vega drag racing wagon.
          Motion Performance ad: 74 small block blown wagon
    02/81 ???
    12/84 Story about Mark Runges and his blown small block Vega.
    01/85 Curtis Hull's 71 Pro Street V8 Vega
    06/88 Story about Mike Herbert's 74 Vega V8.
    10/89 Pro Street Spyder "Monza Mania"
    10/99 "Tech Letters" contains a basic rundown of how to put a V8 into a Vega
    12/99 Nice picture of Scott Shafiroff's 74 Pro-Stock Vega at 
          1974 Winternationals (2nd to last page)
    09/00 Hometown Hot Rodding: 1971 Vega V8 belonging to Mike Smith in SC
  Popular Mechanics:
    09/70 Test of 3 pre-production Vegas (GT, sedan, wagon), info on 
          Lordstown plant and its robotics.
    09/79 Pontiac Sunbird V8 Owners Report
  Popular Science:
    ??/77 Mini Muscle Cars Test (Monza Spyder V8, Cobra II V8, AMX Hornet V8,
          Plymouth Volare Road Runner V8)
  Road & Track:
    09/74 ???
    01/75 ???
    06/75 ???
    08/76 ???
    04/94 "Us vs. Them," B. Levy.
  Road Test:
    11/74 Monza vs. Mustang II
    04/75 Pontiac Astre
    01/77 Monza Mirage and Mustang II 
    04/77 Monza Spyder Road Test (4 pages)

  Rod Action:
    Summer 1976 Special issue (street machines) David Schopp and his 
                clean V8 Vega panel wagon.

  Speed and Supercar Magazine:
    08/73 Motion Super Vega (4 pages, 12 photos)	  

  Street Freaks:
    Summer 82 Dave Russell and his V8 Vega story

  Street Machine:
    11/75 Article on The Vegabonds (the very first H Body car club)in California
    03/76 Cosworth Vega hop-up parts wiht part numbers
    05/77 Story about Dave Volk and his V8 Vega
    Summer 78 How to build a 9-second street/strip Vega with a big block,
              how to clean up looks of IMSA body panels for Monza

  Street Racer:
    03/78 How to build a big block Vega.
    11/78 Story about how to build a big block Vega the right way.
          Story about Chuck Reeves and his 1972 Vega wagon that he transformed 
          into a V8 powered Vega pickup(looks like a mini El Camino).

  Super Chevy: 
    04/74 Project Vega build-up
    06/74 More project Vegas
    08/74 Emissions-legal hop-ups
    10/74 How to replace air cleaner with replaceable paper element
    12/74 1975 Monza road test
    02/75 Factory-built V8 Vega road test
    04/75 Interview with Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins
    10/75 V8 Monza road test
    12/75 Motion ads
    04/77 ???
    08/77 ???
    10/78 ???
    12/78 ???
    02/79 ???
    10/98 Chris Wheaton's '75 Cosworth, page 149
    01/99 Motion Vega; "Bow Tie Keepers" section shows Alfred and Kyle Howe's 
          three cars
    04/99 Motion Performance cars, includes 350 LT1 Vega
    12/99 "Cosworths A Plenty" (brief writeup) in Bow-Tie Briefs section   
          "Top 10 Chevys of All Time" mentions Cosworth Vega   
    01/00 seven Vegas at Super Chevy Show (p.115)
    11/00 History of Chevy part 11, story of Grumpy Jenkins and his Vega.
          V8 Vega on p.73. Page 10 Bowtie Keeper section they have a photo and 
          story about Ernie and Dianna Nunes V8 Vega.

  Super Stock:
    07/73 Small car comparison (9 cars), Vega funny car on fire on track
    03/74 Speed Specialties of Woodbridge Va builds a 10 sec 130 
          mph street driveable V8 Vega. NHRA Supernationals Ontario Motor Speedway. 
          Grumpy's Toy was runner up to a Mopar. Scott Shafiroff and his Pro stock 
          Vega. Gainsville Nationals Wonder Wagon Vega funny car driven by Raymond 
          Beadle won.

  Super Street Cars:
    01/81 Marshall Gardner and his V8 Vega

1.20 What are some H-body books? 1.21 What are some H-body models?
    2214    Monza SS (IMSA) 
    T488    Monza 2+2 

    ???     Promotional Monza hatchbacks 76-79

  Johnny Lightning:
    ???	    1:25 scale Jungle Jim Vega die-cast 
    ???     1:25 scale Barry Setzer Vega
    ???     1:64 scale 1977 Jungle Jim Monza funny car

    ???     1974 Vega Bomb (if light green instead of orange, worth $800-$2000!)
    7571    Vega Funny Car 1974

    1-0711  Long Shot Monza 
    1-0722  Street Spyder IMSA 
    1-0757  Monza Pro Street IMSA 
    1-0810  Twister Vega 
    1-7616  1976 3-in-1 Monza
    1-7716  1977 Monza 2+2
    1-7827  1978 Chevy Sportback (Vega coupe w/Monza front end)
    ???     1971 Vega Mild & Wild 
    ???     1972 Chevy Vega
    ???     1974 Chevy Vega
    ???     1975 Monza 
    PR212   1978 Monza (promotional) 1/25
    H-1346  Super Spyder Chevy Monza 
    H-1469  Jungle Jim Monza Funny Car 
    7356    Jungle Jim Vega 
    ????    Don Prudhomme Army Monza Funny Car
1.22 What movies have H-bodies in them?

For more info, look them up on the Internet Movie Databse (www.imdb.com):

1.23 What TV shows have H-bodies in them? 1.24 How fast are stock H-bodies?

Top speed: 119mph, V8 Monza Spyder

1.25 Where can I buy H-body stuff? 1.26 Are there 1974 or 1981 Monzas?

In short, no.

Kevin (SoloII_74) elaborates:
"You can have a '74 production date on a '75 vehicle. My '69 GP was built in August of 1968. I have seen several cars mis-titled as the previous years model, when they were not from that previous year. If a production date is after July (from late July to late November), it will be the next years model.

In some cases significant model changes occurred half way through the model year. The '70 1/2 F bodies are an excellent example of this. These cars were produced for only half of the model year, from December 1969 to June 1970. There were minor changes which occurred in 1971, but overall the '71's were very similar to the '70 1/2's, but very different from the '69 model year cars.

So if '74 Monzas exist, they were manufactured during the '75 model production year (from late July 1974 to June of '75), and mis-titled as a '74 by the dealer. They would STILL be a '75 model year car. The same would be true for any so called '81 H bodies. They were '80 production cars not titled by the dealer until 1981, and given an incorrect model year on the title. The only way to correctly tell the model year is with the production sticker on the door (if it has not been changed), or the vin. The title is not always an accurate way to determine the year of the car. Title clerks and dealerships frequently make mistakes (big revelation there! :) ), but the factory documentation on the vehicle is the only really reliable source for model year info. My '74 was manufactured in 5/74, so it is without a doubt a '74 model year car.

Some factory oddities were produced during the '50's and '60's, and something like an air conditioned ZL1 Corvette may have been produced, or a 421 HO tri-power Pontiac Star Chief (That engine was not supposed to be available in that base level car), but the production monitoring in the factories at that time was quite limited.

By the '70's factory oddities were not happening by accident any more. Computers generated the build sheets, and the cars were built following those build sheets. They were either ordered as an oddity, or were built according to the manufacturing plan that way. Any Olds Starfires with the 260 V8 were either an engine swap, or by using factory order codes, ordered with that engine. If that engine were not available as an option, none would even exist in that manufacturing facility to allow the production of that car (with that engine). As long as the factory could create a certain combination, AND it was available in the dealers' available option listing (which indicates availability, from the logistics, accounting and engineering standpoints), they could build that car; otherwise, you would not end up with combinations that were not available to be produced in that production facility. Different noses on cars, which would not normally have that nose, would not be out of the question, since those noses would already be available in the production facility. The same would be true for interior and trim options."

1.27 How can I insure my restored H-Body?

Clyde (CJBIAGI) suggests:
"It is important to have proper insurance on these old cars. Especially if it is in the type of condition that you are talking about. Book value is going to be of very little help in a situation like this. It's also going to be tough to have the car "appraised" after an accident. It is also amazing to me that even people who like these cars never seem to think that they are worth much money. If we don't think they are worth much, how are we going to convince others that they are worth decent money? I have my 75 monza insured for $10,000 (State Farm) and I am seriously considering having it profesionally appraised. When I purchased the antique/collector insurance I could have it insured for this amount without having it appraised but I am beginning to think that I low-balled it when I talk to others and find out how much their cars are insured for. Granted, this is for a show-worthy modified car but think about how many "drivers" are out there insured for more than $10,000. You don't get much of a used car for $10,000 any more."

Bill (bhrinc) says:
"What you need to MAKE SURE your car is covered is a competent agent to sell you what is called in the business as stated amount insurance..you give a value that can be substantiated by receipts or an appraisal and that is how much your policy pays in a loss. My 77, which isnt even done, is covered for 3500, even if it is my fault. I pay 135 a half... great value if you ever need it... as good as full coverage. I even have roadside service and towing for that low price. It is through American Family by the way. So everybody, please insure your h-body so no one loses out... with regular insurance your gonna be lucky to get 500 bucks out of most h-bodies in an accident."

Ken (mahoy78spyder) adds:
"I knew someone who had a completely original, low mile 71 Vega that was totaled and I spent lots of time researching and providing the owner with my proof that these cars are worth more than the $300 the insurance wanted to pay this person! Unfortunately it didn't work. Clyde has the best answer of all.... get it insured for the value you think it's worth and/or the value you have in it, taking into account any modifications. I also like the idea of getting a professional appraisor to come and document it. That's the only way we're going to get the insurance companies to take us seriously."

Dave (vegatex) had this experience:
"I was hit in my recently-restored '76 Vega wagon. I showed the adjuster every receipt I had from everything I had purchased in the past year -- paint shop, weatherstripping, parts and labor, etc. I showed him before and after pictures. I showed him all the old parts I has removed and still had-- all to substantiate the restoration. Next, I got multiple sources for value-- NADA.com, and an Oct, 2000 Old Cars Pricing Guide (any decent book store will have one in the periodical section.) I faxed these to the claim agent at the insurance company. The NADA site has three levels of vehicle quality and the Old Cars Guide uses a typical 5-1 scale. Five is a dog, One is a near-perfect show car that isn't driven. There are definitions in the front to describe specific things to look for to rate your car. In my case, I knew my car was better than a 3, but not quite a 2, so I took the average value between the two- it worked out to $2800.00 on the Old Cars scale, and that was also the average of the middle and top value on the NADA.com site. They only wanted to total the car at 1900.00 until I sent them this stuff, then they agreed to value the car at $2800.00. I settled with them for $2226.00 cash and I keep the car and original title-- $2800 plus TTL, minus 200.00 deductible, minus $560.00 salvage value (I thought that was too high, but decided to quit while I was ahead!). I found good junkyard parts to fix the car for $242.00 and the frame shop is straightening it and fixing dings in the body panels for $1200.00. Bottom line-- NEGOTIATE!! Don't let them tell you what your vehicle is worth if you can substantiate its quality and find numbers to back you up!"

Ken (kckken) writes:
"I can relate to your dilemma -- I went through the same things when my 1980 Starfire GT was hit by some little puke who decided red lights didn't apply to him. Oddly enough, the other 1980 Starfire I now own _is_ red:-) But anyway, here's what I did to get my settlement ($3300.00 and keep the car):

1) Get any info you can about the car. The H-Body FAQ is extremely valuable when it comes to production numbers, and you'll find the Starfires are much rarer than a comparable Monza. I found out that there were more Monzas made in 1980 than the total 1975 - 1980 Starfire production run!

2) Look for _any_ H-Bodies for sale. Get as many as you can, in as close to the same condition as your car was or better. If you can find Starfires, even better. I believe that if I could have found Wade's Starfire (the one I now own) before I settled for the car I could have had them buy it and ship it to me. But if I would have done that I would have missed the fun of traveling back to South Carolina, meeting Wade and his family, picking up the car, traveling back up to Charlotte and seeing all we saw there, then driving back to Kansas.

3) Compose a letter that includes the exhibits listed above. In this you'll want to show what comparable H-Bodies are going for and just how much rarer your car is, er, was. Insist that you want to be restored to the place you were (with another Starfire if possible) prior to the accident. After all, isn't that what we carry insurance for? Besides, it was _his_ fault, not yours.

Farmers Insurance actually told me when they asked about a settlement they "didn't know what the car was worth", and I reiterated this to them in the letter as well, thus my belief that I could have had them ship Wade's car to me.

My car is repairable, and will be eventually. If you have the room and time to deal with it you still might be able to salvage some parts off of it to make it worth your time to keep it and get a settlement like I did. Here's a page that I made dedicated to my Starfires: http://members.aol.com/ks7racing/bullets.htm"

1.28 What Monzas came with white letter tires?

Ken (mahoy78spyder) explains:
... On that 79 "Take It To The Limit" Monza Spyder ad, you can clearly see that the tires say "Firestone - Steel Belted Radial". You can also see these same white letter tires used in another ad, the 1980 "The Anatomy of a Spyder" Monza Spyder ad. Here's the rundown on what I've seen in the "majority" of Monza publications (whether it be dealer brochures, magazine ads, or articles)

1975 - dealer brochures (two different ones offered that year) did not show any white letter tires. This was a wierd year for the white letter tire. Looking back through probably 30-40 magazine articles I found only a handful of examples of 1975 Hbodies with white-letter tires. Road & Track featured a "General Steel Radial", another article featured a "Goodyear", while the June '76 issue of Hot Rod clearly shows a California 350 Monza with "Firestone Steel Belted Radial" tires. *shrug* That blew my theory that those Firestone's didn't appear on the Hbody until '77.

1976 - Another iffy year. A '76 Monza 2+2 "A small car and then some" ad I have shows a "General" tire on the action shot of the Monza that's kicking up dust, but on the same ad, there is a closeup of a Monza tire w/ aluminum wheel that clearly shows a "Goodyear Belted Radial" (different tires on the same ad) In a 1976 "Street Machine" magazine article it featured a '76 Skyhawk with "Uniroyal Steel Belted Radial" tires. The Motor Trend Sep '76 article on the notchback Spyder shows the "Firestone Steel Belted 500." And finally, the dealer brochure for this year did not even show a white letter tire. What a weird year for tire selection.

1977 - This year things started to standardize for the Firestone tire. In the dealer brochure it shows a car fitted with the "Firestone Steel Radial 500" Other magazine articles also show the same tire. Also this is evidenced by Bob's (blbeck's) pristine original 77 Spyder. http://albums.photopoint.com/j/ViewPhoto?u=1254274&a=9476680&p=31101077

1978 - Same for this year - the dealer brochure shows the "Firestone Steel Radial 500" (to include the 2-page spread of the red '78 Spyder - yea!) and other articles from 78 too, such as the 1978 Car Craft "The Meeting of the Monzas" article.

1979 - This year we're on to the "Firestone Steel Belted Radial" white letter tires. (dropping the 500's) But oddly enough, in the dealer brochure the black Spyder has purposely "disguised" white letter text on it. (this is probably the one you were talking about Marco)

1980 - "Firestone Steel Belted Radial" tires in every ad and even on the cover car (white Monza Spyder) of the 1980 dealer brochure.

To be honest, it really depended on the availability of the tire when the car was produced. If you read the fine print of the dealer brochures, it states: "...white-lettered tires which are supplied by various manufacturers."

Another interesting note about the reputation of those Firestone tires in those days. The Sep '76 issue of Car and Driver tested the best 13" tires they could find using a 76 Olds Starfire (yea!). Of the eight different brand tires tested, Firestone was not one of them. C&D said, "We did not waste time on pretenders. Only a very small group of tires made the cut. We chose those that had reasonable credentials." Guess the Firestone was a "cost-effective" tire for GM to use but not the most favored one in the auto world. Oh well.

1.29 What is the "Vert-a-pact" option (VK5)?

In short, it added parts to the cars so they could be shipped, by rail, packed vertically, to save space.

Ken (mahoy78spyder) researched this too: "...now that you know what "Vert-a-pac" is, I'll bet you're wondering why you would have an RPO for that if it only meant that it would be shipped differently. Well, the vert-a-pac rail cars required that the cars be able to be driven on and driven off with no mechanical work needed. This drive-on/drive-off requirement was difficult to meet because all liquids had to be aboard, so the VK5 RPO was created. Modifications included:

- a baffle in the oil pan to prevent flooding the forward cylinders with oil. - off-center filler caps on the battery. - a plug in the fuel-tank vent line. - an overflow hose from the float bowl to the charcoal canister. - tilting the windshield-washer bottle 45 degrees. - plastic spacers between the splash pans and the engine to reinforce the motor mounts.

Also, since you're from Oregon, your VK5 RPO would make sense as this option was only for "west coast-bound" cars in an effort to reduce shipping costs. A conventional rack rail car would hold only 18 cars (in the open), but a Vert-a-pac would hold 30 (under roof)."