The Burnt Orange Monte Carlo consisted of a good body shell when Gentry began rebuilding it. Of the two cars, it definitely has more of the hot rod feel, with the big block applying generous amounts of torque through all four speeds available at the driver's right hand.
The Monte Carlo was the essence of the performance luxury car, a full-framed vehicle that could be had with a big-block V-8, highlighted by crisp, understated styling with its single headlights and low-key horizontal grille.
Somehow, the deep Cranberry Red paint on the SS car gives it a noticeably different vibe than the 4-speed car. You can almost picture this car pulling up in front of the opera, while the orange Monte might look more at home on the starting line at the drag strip.
The 454 cubic inch V-8 in the red Monte Carlo was rated at 365 factory horsepower; it is linked to a 400 Turbo automatic transmission. Means Motors rebuilt the engine, while John Newman at the Tranny Shop refreshed the transmission.
Vertical tail lights look like they could have been sourced from an Olds or even a Cadillac, but are Monte Carlo-specific pieces. Also hard to believe is the fact the rear deck lid is the same basic unit used on standard Chevelles, according to the owner.
The red Monte Carlo is a bench-seat car, again with cloth factory-style upholstery fitted by Stardust Upholstery. These cars were built in the era when lap and shoulder belts were separate units, with the shoulder belts being stored against the headliner in metal clips.
Dan Gentry wanted to experience both sides of the Monte Carlo coin, so he has restored a pair of them. The red car is a 1971 454 SS with automatic transmission, while the orange one is a regular '71 Monte powered by a 402 V-8 backed up by a 4-speed transmission.
More commonly known as a 396, the orange car's engine is actually a 402 cubic inch power plant; Chevy's marketing department fudged a bit for insurance rating purposes, Gentry explained. Rick Bell of Sedgwick rebuilt this one and installed a mild cam in it; it most likely puts out considerably more than the factory-advertised 300 horsepower.