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1972 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, Out with Muscle, In with Luxury

Initially conceived as Chevrolet’s answer to the Pontiac Grand Prix, the Monte Carlo brought affordable personal luxury to the masses. With its muscularly sculpted flanks, fashionably wide C-pillars and a whole host of luxury touches, the Monte Carlo went on to impress buyers and create a nameplate that would last for decades.

1972 Chevrolet Monte Carlo – Incorporating the Luxury

1972 Chevrolet Monte CarloWith the Monte Carlo, the name of the game was “personal luxury.” By the early 1970s, increasing insurance rates on muscle cars and a general sea-change in buyer tastes made the ideal of a quiet, comfortable yet boldly styled personal luxury coupe an attractive option for many.

As a result, the 1972 Monte Carlo offered plenty of luxury cues to keep buyers satisfied, starting with a sophisticated egg-crate grille based on the Caprice and metal rear trim molding. Other available features included a choice between cloth and all-vinyl upholstery and the inclusion of optional Strato bucket seats. The 1972 Monte Carlo also received variable-ratio power steering.

Under the Hood

Although the Monte Carlo was big on luxury, that didn’t mean that it lacked for anything under the hood. For 1972, the Monte Carlo offered a two-barrel and four-barrel variant of the 350 cubic-inch V8, along with a 402 cubic-inch V8 rated at 240 SAE horsepower and the almighty 454 cubic-inch V8, rated at 270 SAE horsepower.

The SS package might have exited stage right for 1972, but that didn’t mean buyers couldn’t get similar by ticking the right boxes. By choosing the Monte Carlo Custom package, buyers could spec suspension components and other add-ons formerly offered on the SS.

The one thing buyers couldn’t get regardless of the option boxes was a floor-mounted four-speed manual transmission. From here on out, the three-speed Turbo Hydramatic was the only choice for the optional engines. The base 350 cubic-inch V8 could be had with a column-mounted three-speed manual or the two-speed Powerglide transmission.

Sign of the Times

The Monte Carlo was a harbinger for the events to come for muscle cars everywhere, presaging the rise of affordable personal luxury at the expense of sheer muscle. To add insult to injury, the fire-breathing SS 454 package only accounted for a piddling 3 percent of 1970 sales.

The year 1972 also represented the last year of the first generation Monte Carlo. For 1973, Chevrolet’s premiere affordable luxury offering would undergo a drastic redesign, further playing up its mission as a stylish yet laid-back cruiser with absolute comfort in mind.

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