1975 Chevrolet Monza Coupe
“Louie The Lizard”
1977 Ford Mustang II Cobra II
Head to Head
About “Louie The Lizard”
My kids named this car Louie The Lizard and it has stuck since. The reason is that when I was racing it a few years back I had an issue with keeping it straight. I still ran low 11's looking at the wall several times during the first half the track. Bad steering box. THe kids originally called it a frog but they had seen a Budwiser commercial and liked the name of Louie The Lizard that was in one of the commercials.
I orginally bought the car because it I knew the owner and it was pretty fast but always seemed to break at the race track. I actually hated the body style but it was already tubbed. MY FIRST TUBBED CAR!! Anyway, I found out after the many years of trying to get it to where it ran best at, that it would not handle much more that a low 10 second pass. I was still learning suspensions and realized this car was actually set up wrong. No adjustments for the ladder bars.
Once our local race track closed a couple of years ago I decided to slowly transform it back into a Pro Street car. I have taken it to a few car shows and have won a few first and second place trophies within these last couple of years. Although it is not a major show car it turns the heads as it is different and it just looks and sounds mean. I have a best time of 10.224 @ 130.81 MPH at Nebraska Motorplex (Scribner, NE) on a very cold September night in 2003. Traction became an issue as the temp was in the mid 40 degree area. I have ran many mid 10 second passes with this car and it was still getting faster but eventually could not handle all the power the motor in it at the time had. So now I drive it on the street with a smaller HP 355 and it still runs low 10's in the quarter. This is what makes it a fun toy.
My first car was a Monza hatchback and I have owned many since. I now currently own three tubbed Monzas along with my 1992 Geo Storm I am tubbing, a 1970 & 1/2 Camaro Z-28, 1969 Chevelle SS, 1968 Mustang, 2005 Mustang, 2005 Malibu, and a 1977 4 wheel drive P/U. Most are projects in work. I bought the 68 mustang for my wife and the 69 Chevelle for my son who is now 9 years old and wanting to get started on it. My youngest daughter wants the Camaro if I don't give it to my brother for his expert body work on one of my Monzas.
I have had this car for about 15 years now. It has been totally torn down and re-assembled. I still need to get the interior done, but I am having too much fun driving it.
Specs for “Louie The Lizard”
Engine: 355 SB Chevy with 461 HP @ 5500 RPM and 485 TQ @ 5000 RPM to the flywheel. No real fancy racing parts and still has cast heads and a dual plane intake. Even the rods are factory units and it has a stock oil pan on it.
Trans: Turbo 350 with Full competition manual valve body and 4000 Stall Convertor
Rearend: 12-Bolt Chevy with Spool and 33 spline axles
Wheels: 15" x 12" Convo Pro's on the rear
15" x 4" Convo Pro's on the front
Tires: 15" x 18.5" x 32" Hoosiers on the rear -- Street
15" x 14.5" x 33" Goodyears on the rear -- Drag Strip
15" x 4" x 24" Goodyears on the front
Body: All steel with a lift off front clip and deck lid. All windows except for the rear glass are Lexan. The paint is 1999 Chrysler Pearl Alpine Green Metallic.
Interior: All race with the exception for the Thinsulate matting and carpet.
Specs for “LILCBRA”
1968 302 shortblock with flat tops. Trick Flow Twisted Wedge heads. Melling 290/300 duration, 214/224 @ .050, with .507/.533 lift with the 1.7 roller rockers. Offy 360 intake, metallic ceramic coated headers, and a holley 650 double pump carb. I recently replaced the 4 speed with a T5 from a 95 Mustang GT and it has an 8" 3:55 rear. Built using Desktop Dyno, the program says the engine has 370 HP @6000 and 355 ftlb @4500.
Factory Options for “Louie The Lizard”
These Monzas were nothing much to talk about. They had either a 2.8 or 3.8 V6 or a 262 or 305 V8 in them. The transmissions were either metric Turbo 250's or a Saginaw 4-speed. They were pretty quick and fun to drive either way as it did not take much to get these little cars moving. They all had single exhaust 13" wheels and tires which made for easy burnouts without trying too hard. They are considered one of the top 10 most overlooked street machines of their era. The shifters were all on the floor and the interior was not very roomy unless you had the hatchback models which seemed to have a little more room in them. The Monza Spiders were considered the performance models with factory suspension upgrades. They also usually were the V8 cars. There some models that had a body kit used for SCCA road racing which included flared out ffront and rear fenders, air dam, and special rear spoiler. These little cars do not have many parts out there from the aftermarket world and and wheels were really hard to find if you wanted a 15" wheel. These cars had factory 4 on 4 bolt patterns and until recent years you had to find a machine shop to redrill the axles and rotors to fit nice 5 lug wheels onto them. The rearends were not very strong as they were only 7.5" diameter ring geared with puny 26 spline axles. They would break with any real power if they hooked up and did not spin at all. With the correct knowledge these cars could be made into quite fast little rides and it did not take much to put a little hopped up 350 and turbo 350 trans into one and run 12 or 13 second quarter mile passes. I have owned many of these cars and always love the looks I get with them when I come rumbling up to a street light and somebody is expecting a Camaro, Nova, Chevelle, Mustang, etc... You get the picture.
Factory Options for “LILCBRA”
Originally a 302 4 speed car with air and power steering, both of which have been removed, and rear window defog.
Mods for “Louie The Lizard”
12-Bolt Chevelle rearend narrowed to 35" with 4.10 gears, 33 Spline Moser spool, Moser Axles, 9" Ford big bearing axle ends, ladder bars, QA1 coil over shocks, and an aluminum rearend cover that has cap supports. I use 15" x 12" and 15" x 4" Centerline Convo Pro wheels mounted on 15" x 14" x 32" slicks or 15" x 18.5" x 31.5" Hoosier Quick Time tires on the rear and 15" x 4.5" x 26" front Goodyears.
Turbo 350 Trans with a full manual valve body and a 4000 Redneck convertor.
Custom made interior pieces - door panels, dash, floors, and tunnel are made of .032 thru .080 aluminum. RCI racing seats with custom made seat covers. RCI 5pt harnesses. Cheetah command center shifter cover houses all the switches, covering the Hurst Q-Stick. Autometer gauges and Monster 5" tach with memory and a shift light. Has Thinsulate heat barrier under the custom made carpeting. Has a 14 PT Chris Alston roll cage. There is a SFI approved window net for 10.99 and faster cars too. Custom quick release steering wheel.
Motor is a 355 4-bolt main SB Chevy. Has polished rods with ARP wave loc bolts. Forged steel GM crankshaft turned .010/.010. SFI approved balancer and flexplate. 10.75 to 1 compression hypertuectic pistons with Moly rings. ARP bolts and studs are throughout the motor. Pete Jackson Gear drive, .447/.447 original L79 Hydraulic flat tappet camshaft with lots of duration (284 at .050). It was designed for Super Stock drag racing. The heads are 2.02/1.6 cast units that have been ported polished, and flowed along with the Power Plus Crosswind intake manifold. I use a Pro Comp rocker shaft system. All oiling is handles using a Melling 55HV oil pump and a Milodon windage tray, baffle, and crank scraper hidden under a modified stock oil pan. The lifter vallet has breather tubes for crankcase ventilation and I use a crankcase evacuation system. The carb is a Mighty Demon 850 CFM carb with annular discharge nozzles. I use a K&N 6" tall element with the X-treme top. The alternator is on the passenger bottom side of the motor run using a lawn mower v-belt. All pulleys, timing cover, and valve covers are aluminum. The waterpump is a Proform electric unit. I use an MSD billet distributor, MSD Digital 6 Box, and HVC Coil. The spark plugs are AC Delco and I use Taylor Lime Green 8mm spark plug wires. The exhaust is a set of Hedman Hustler Hedders (no longer made by them) with 1 3/4" primaries and 3" collectors that are designed to be cut to length for tuning. I run them into Warlock (Flowtech) mufflers that have the removeable plug to open up the exhaust for racing, car shows, or just to make a lot of noise. The starter is a Speedway Motors mini starter linked to a Ford solenoid.
The main fuel system is all Magna Fuel using AN12 hose from the 5 gallon RCI fuel cell to the Barry Grant fuel filter mated right to the Quickstar 275 pump into AN10 hose to the Magna Fuel 2 port regulator into AN8 hose into the carb. There is another fuel system for the NOS (once hooked up) from Aeromotive. I have AN8 hose going into the filter then to the pump, then into AN6 to the regulator, and into AN4 to the NOS Cheater solenoids.
The body is all steel. I have all but the back window made out of Lexan. The front clip is made to be removed like a pro stock unit one piece lift off. The front bumper is removeable by pulling two quick release pins. Rear quarter panels have been stretched to accomodate the big tires. The radiator is a Griffin aluminum and it is mated to an electric dual fan set up out of a Suburu. The firewall is made out of .032 aluminum and is split about 2/3rds of the way up to allow access to the wiring, ignition box, gauges, etc... NO need to bend under the dash to get to anything. There is a box mounted on the inside of the drivers compartment (passenger side firewall) that houses all the relays and custom made fuse box. The steering column is a custom made drag racing unit with street rod and aircraft type joints. I use a Vega manual steering box. All suspension has been updated using PST polygraphite bushings, Moog ball joints and tie rods, and a PST centerlink. The battery has been relocated to the trunk and is an Optima. The braking is handled using an Aerospace Components brake kit along with dual Harwood master cylinders and Harwood brake pedal.
Mods for “LILCBRA”
Besides the other mods listed under specs, I have installed Southside Machine lift bars and one of this winters projects is to install the Southside Machine subframe connectors. I have also cut about 1 1/4 coils from each of the front springs to lower it a bit and swapped a manual rack and pinion for the power steering rack.
*Update 6/18/10*: Just bought 15's for front and rear, new rear tires (265/50-15's), new Detroit Locker and new 4.62's. Should be even more fun!!! :-)
*Update 7/21/10* Everything is installed and working great!!
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