Chevrolet Monza Mirage
Chevrolet introduced the Monza in 1975 as the newest GM compact model with a modern design. It also came with updated equipment and a wide arrange of versions and trim levels. The Monza succeeded the Chevrolet Vega and it sold well on the U.S. market, but also abroad. However, the lack of a performance version was evident since the compact and relatively light platform would benefit from a powerful engine. Chevrolet didn’t think a performance model or a muscle car version would have a big market, so they didn’t bother developing it.
However, Chevy contracted an outside company, Michigan Auto Techniques, to make a muscle car Monza for 1977. Called the Monza Mirage, they produced this one-year model in 4,000 examples. It featured a 305 V8 with just 145 HP. The design was quite striking with a white body, front and rear spoilers, and special wheels.
The paint scheme was patriotic with red, blue and white stripes all over the body. Chevrolet realized there was a market for sporty variants. They decided to introduce the Monza Spyder for 1978, leaving Michigan Auto Techniques without a contract for 1978 and sending the Monza Mirage to the history books.