I lived through the 1970s, in fact my first car was an early ‘70s Plymouth, but I can tell you that good-looking and quality cars of that era were few and far between.
But for Chevy, the 1971 Monte Carlo was a big seller, a full-size luxury coupe that was introduced a year earlier. This was before the oil crisis and all the downsizing of models that followed a couple years later.
Auto World now fills the Monte Carlo void for 1/18 scale model lovers and does it with a fine looking SS model in Rosewood Metallic, a dark, nearly maroon, red.
The Monte Carlo SS454 is a short-lived muscle car as Chevy decided its powerful engine and the sporty SS designation was sending mixed signals to the masses. And make no mistake, Chevy intended this to sell in quantity, even as a luxury model.
Chevy was successful too, moving 128,600 Monte Carlos in 1971 despite a factory strike, but the SS was not such a hit, with just 1,919 being ordered. While the car’s new styling with single headlight and square surround and long chiseled profile made it popular, the SS package didn’t fit the larger public’s vision of what the car was.
The giant LS5 V8 with its 4-barrel carbs didn’t say luxury, it screamed Speed! In fact, this model would do a quarter mile in 15.05 seconds with a top speed of 91.5 mph, not shabby in 1971.
Auto World continues to create high-quality 1/18 scale cars for its American Muscle lineup and going for unique versions like this SS keeps these offerings interesting. The SS is a rare model that had a heavy-duty suspension and wider tires, plus that 365-horse V8.
Detailing and value are good and as with other cars in the series, the hood, doors and trunk open, and the wheels are steerable.
This being the SS, the V8 is of special interest and Auto World continues to provide a sharp engine bay with 454 emblazoned on the air filter cover, accurate wiring and hosing, plus the power steering unit are visible. Hood hinges also are strong.
Body trim is plentiful too with a chrome accent piece that runs from front to rear bumpers up and over the wheel wells. Windows have a chrome-look border and the black flat black roof that simulates the vinyl of the day is trimmed in flat silver paint.
Auto World also nicely details the car’s undercarriage and places treated Goodyear labeled tires on shiny chrome GM Rallye wheels.
Inside is a two-spoke, black steering wheel and cream-colored seats and dash. The front bucket seat backs fold forward and carpet is flocked too. The highlight is an accurate fake wood dash pod that surrounds the main gauges and similar finish by the big handle grip shifter on the console. This trim was fake elm in the full-size car and it adds some color and distinction to this interior.
In 1971 a Monte Carlo started at $3,123, about $215 more than a Chevelle Malibu. With options and the SS package the car could easily hit $5,000 and now these are going for more than $30 grand at car auctions.
This rare model is an attractive addition to Auto World’s muscle car lineup and being metal, feels muscular.
1971 Chevy Monte Carlo SS 454
Mfg: Auto World
Stock No: AMM 1055/06