MONTE CARLO How is a 4th Gen a 4th Gen?

pagrunt

pagrunt

Geezer
Sep 14, 2014
5,262
113
Elderton, Pa
This has been something that has been a pet peeve of mine for years so I'll bring it out for all to comment on. How is it that the '81-'88 Monte's are called a 4th Gen as the only major difference is the exterior sheet metal than what the '78-'80 Monte's have? Now being a 4th Gen A body (regardless of the G change in '82 the platform is the mid size 4th Gen) is the only real (in my opinion) way to call the '81-'88 one. But then the '78-'80's fall into that same status. Now think about it, both year groups share a lot of parts interchanges (frames, suspension, floor pans, inner sheet metal srtucture, heater & A/C systems, all glass except quarter windows, rad support, seats & interior parts except quarter window trim) much like like other models of this platform generation so how could there be two model generations with one platform generation. Think back when model year changes did include new exterior sheet metal & look at the Chevelle as an example. I'll use the 2nd Gen to show my point. Look at the '68-'69 cars, then look at the '70-'72 cars. They are all 2nd Gen but '70 had a more in depth refresh that even than the '81 A-Special's had. The '70 interiors were even more so changed that the '81had. But for some reason with the Monte for '81 they became a 4th Gen unlike the '70 Chevelle becomeing the 3rd Gen. Even the 1st Gen Chevelles between the '65 & '66 models had a simular refresh & didn't have an addition generation added. Then it seems like the other 3 A-Specials don't even have the '81 models listed as a new generation from the refresh. When I first got my car in '90 & started to learn the details on the cars I have always associated the '78-'88 as one generation as everything was the same for services & repairs other than the production changes made to freshen up or improve the platform. But in the past 20 years it seems like they somehow split into two seperate generations dispite being basicly they same car. To me my '81 is a 3rd Gen regardless of what anyone will say since no one can really prove the '81 was a new "new" car instead of a refresh like the '70 Chevelle.
 
D

Doug Chahoy

Royal Smart Person
Nov 21, 2016
1,825
113
GM started really confusing the issue in the mid 70s when they had 2 totally different body styles of the Regal/Century and Cutlass. In 81 all the A/G coupes except Malibu/El Camino got entirely new bodies Other than header panels and trim, the 4 doors pretty much stayed the same. Gotta love the Detroit bean counters. The good thing about America, your free to believe whatever you want
 
79 USA 1

79 USA 1

G-Body Guru
Sep 2, 2011
589
93
Cheektowaga, New York
Maybe one reason on the generation split for the 78-80 and 81-88 is a change in the frame for the 78-80 A specials. The front frame horns from the bumper mount to the core support mount is longer on the 78-80 AZ frame compared to the A body frame. In 81 GM went to a standard length frame and used the 5 mph impact shocks on the front bumpers rather then the plastic square impact absorber used in the 78-80's. They use different length impact shocks to suit the body style. Having both a Gen 3 (79) and Gen 4 (88) they are outwardly different to me to justify the body generation difference. Just my $.02

P1011459.JPG Gen 2 (74) Gen 3 (79) Gen 4 (85) Each so different. P1012182.JPG
 
Last edited:
pagrunt

pagrunt

Geezer
Sep 14, 2014
5,262
113
Elderton, Pa
Maybe one reason on the generation split for the 78-80 and 81-88 is a change in the frame for the 78-80 A specials. The front frame horns from the bumper mount to the core support mount is longer on the 78-80 AZ frame compared to the A body frame. In 81 GM went to a standard length frame and used the 5 mph impact shocks on the front bumpers rather then the plastic square impact absorber used in the 78-80's. They use different length impact shocks to suit the body style. Having both a Gen 3 (79) and Gen 4 (88) they are outwardly different to me to justify the body generation difference. Just my $.02

View attachment 139900 Gen 2 (74) Gen 3 (79) Gen 4 (85) Each so different. View attachment 139901
This is from my reply in "Chassis Swap what fits ????"

Nov 8, 2017
This is what I found using my Chevy parts books.
Monte Carlo frame p/n: '78 470211, '79 14017671 (must use engine mount 14005699 on '78 models) (used on '78-'81 Buick 09, 69, 87), '80-'81 14013462 (superseded '78 & '79 p/n's) (used on '81 Regal), '82-'88 14103516 (use on '83 Olds W40 Hurst/Olds, '78-87 Pontiac except 35.)
Malibu (19, 27, 69) p/n: '78 461808, '79 14005602 (same note as Monte Carlo), '80 14017667 (must use '80 front park brake cable on earlier models, superseded '79 p/n) (Used on Buick 09, 69, 87), '81 14032514 (superseded '78-'80 p/n's.)
Note body codes:
2 door body: 27, 37, 47, 87
4 door body: 09, 19, 69
station wagon: 35
Looks like the Monte frame would be the one to work on a LeMans. Keep in mind that this is incomplete as I have not cross checked all GM catalogs for our cars.

So the '81 frame is the same as '80 which supersedes the '78 & '79 frame p/n's. For '82-'88 the frame was the same as '78-'87 Pontiacs excluding wagons. This would not support the reason for being a 4th Gen.
Also keep in mind the A-pillars/windshield/trim, cowl, firewall area, body to frame mounts are the same for all '78-'88 cars too.
 
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Reactions: 79 USA 1
79 USA 1

79 USA 1

G-Body Guru
Sep 2, 2011
589
93
Cheektowaga, New York
Does the front bumper on your 81 attach to the shock style impact absorbers or is it direct to the frame end and a impact absorber behind the cover?
I understand your reasoning but again it may come down to the complete body restyle that does not allow any large outside stamped panel to interchange with the 81 and up model.
 
pagrunt

pagrunt

Geezer
Sep 14, 2014
5,262
113
Elderton, Pa
Does the front bumper on your 81 attach to the shock style impact absorbers or is it direct to the frame end and a impact absorber behind the cover?
I understand your reasoning but again it may come down to the complete body restyle that does not allow any large outside stamped panel to interchange with the 81 and up model.
My bumpers do attach with the shocks unlike your '79 which is directly to your frame. I did notice this difference when I had my '79 in '93. But I can take my '86 SS frame I got to replace the original '81 & put it under your '79 with the bumpers mounting the same as on your frame. With the body restyle, look at my Chevelle reference with the restyle for '70. Total restyle with a little more than the '81 but yet it is still a 2nd Gen. My old '72 Monte had more in common with sheet metal with a '70 did with the '69 but '69-'72 is still 2nd Gen. Even look at the way the cars of the '60's were restyled in each generation every year but no changes in it's production generation. Even look at the '61-'64 & '65-'70 B-bodies, big difference between the start & end of each generation. The '80 to '81 change is the only model generation change I've seen within the same platform generation & it only pertains to the Monte Carlo.
 
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Reactions: 79 USA 1
79 USA 1

79 USA 1

G-Body Guru
Sep 2, 2011
589
93
Cheektowaga, New York
My bumpers do attach with the shocks unlike your '79 which is directly to your frame. I did notice this difference when I had my '79 in '93. But I can take my '86 SS frame I got to replace the original '81 & put it under your '79 with the bumpers mounting the same as on your frame. With the body restyle, look at my Chevelle reference with the restyle for '70. Total restyle with a little more than the '81 but yet it is still a 2nd Gen. My old '72 Monte had more in common with sheet metal with a '70 did with the '69 but '69-'72 is still 2nd Gen. Even look at the way the cars of the '60's were restyled in each generation every year but no changes in it's production generation. Even look at the '61-'64 & '65-'70 B-bodies, big difference between the start & end of each generation. The '80 to '81 change is the only model generation change I've seen within the same platform generation & it only pertains to the Monte Carlo.

The bumpers on my 79 would come up short with the 86 frame. Before I picked up my blue 79 I was looking for a frame for my black 79 which had suffered the swiss cheese lightning through New York State and their use of salt. I had a line on a 88 Super Sport that was a theft recovery leaving just the front suspension, firewall, cowl, part of the windshield and 3 inches of the "A" pillars. The bone yard I was looking to get this frame from brought up the difference and recommended I cut about 4 inches from the bumper mounts back to graph onto the 88 frame. I ditched the whole idea when I found rot in the "A" pillars and in the structure of the roof.
I agree with the B bodies from 61-64. I had a 61 Olds that was similar in body lines to the 62 but 63 & 64 were completely different.

I would love to pose this question to someone who was in the design studio during the late 70's and early 80's just for their reason why.
 

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