We recently added a new race car to the stable here at Rutherford Motorsports. The car is a 1975 Chevy Monza, it comes to us with a full 2×3 mild steel frame equipped with a stock style A-arm front suspension. In the rear is a 12 bolt GM piece hung to the chassis with ladder bars and single adjustable coil-over shocks. The powertrain consists of a mid 70’s Chevy 350 block with later model Vortec heads and a reworked Powerglide transmission backs that up.
As we were anxious to get it to the track and find out what we had, I had delayed posting any new information about it. The car was picked up in North Carolina, brought home and taken to the track. Like any car of this sort when you are trying to figure out what someone else has done, it takes a bit of time and research. Switches were marked incorrectly, there were questions about where to limit the rpm, how to set the burnout and more. But after a decent day with the car, we were within a tenth of what the previous owner had claimed and felt there wasn’t a lot more left in the current combination.
That, per usual it seems brings us to another project. This time we get to rework a former race car into our own. If any of you have ever done this, it can be a trying experience but at the same time rather rewarding if your hard work pays off. Overall we were okay with the car, the paint, tires, wheels, engine/trans/rear combo was okay for now. The interior and underside were filthy, the wiring and some of the cage welding is downright scary. A couple of things looked like they started out as a good intention only to run into some issues with execution. So, we made a list of things that we wanted to update and correct on the car to get started.
The office as you can see from the pictures leaves a bit to be desired. Most of the wiring in the car resembles what you see here. Connections are made with electrical wiring caps, or electrical tape. Grounds are holes drilled in the rollcage with either a Phillips or straight head sheetmetal screw. Most of the gauges in the picture weren’t connected to anything. The steering was not centered in the driver’s area of the car but off to the passenger side by a good 2-3 inches. The throttle was a mess with two drivers both complaining about it and the brakes – well the car was good for a 100 mph in the 1/8th mile but took forever to get stopped.
The switch box was entertaining, however once you figured out that Start was the front lights and Lights was the starter you were good to go. There was no neutral safety switch on the shifter so it would start in any gear, the rear tail lights seemed to be hit or miss, safety belts were 10 years out of date, the catch can leaked but the roll control worked great. A few other areas of the car were just as messy, a lot of silicone was used to try and seal off panels in the car, a combination of rivets were either holding something together or falling out, there was a lot of rubber fuel line and the topper was the copper fuel line running from the back of the car to the front!
A question could be brought forth here – so why purchase the car? Well, it actually has a lot going for it. All of the glass has been replaced, the front end, hood and deck lid are all fiberglass, the tires are reasonably fresh. The rear and trans have had recent service and there is an aftermarket bellhousing in place on the transmission. The shifter is serviceable, it just needs cleaning and lubrication. The tachometer is a nice piece, we have a tube frame car that is light, a lot of the work on the car was performed professionally, the engine is a decent 6 second piece and the rear tin work for the most part is good. But like anything like this, we want to make it ours, so we are going to clean it up, replace the front tin work, install proper seating and belts, rewire the car correctly, get the steering straight, fix the fuel system issues and upgrade the brakes. Later we will make some improvements in performance but we have to have a safe, solid platform to build on first.
Below in chronological order are the additional posts made on the car as it goes from what it came to us as and what we will enter the 2017 drag racing season with – a drag racing bracket car that is getting close 5.50 runs at 125+ mph.
- Monza – Newest Addition
- Long Week – Interesting Past
- Fuel Cell – ReDo
- Let the Work Continue
- As the Monza Spins
- Bad Little Monza
- Little Monza Wins Round One
- Fire the Torch!
- Getting Closer – Little Monza
- Little Monza – A Few More Pieces
- Plumbing Your Ride
- Little Monza – Almost Done
- Monza Video
- Little Monza – Quick Update
- Long Rides, Racing and Tough Days
- Quick Performance – Too Many Issues
- End in Sight?
- Where Race Cars Go to Die