"Who Makes That?"
What is my favorite car to see at a car show? The one you don’t see at every car show. You’re guaranteed to see Corvettes, Mustangs, Chargers, Chevelles, T-Birds, Trans AMs, Novas, Bel Airs and Model A hot rods, but there’s always that one car surprises you. That car that may have been everywhere in its day but was rarely prized enough to keep in good condition. For me those are the Mavericks, Pacers, Vegas, Chevettes, Gremlins, Pintos and this little hatch back I found at a show in the summer of 2022, a 1980 Monza Spyder!
The Monza was introduced in 1975 on the Vega platform as a rival to the Mustang II from Ford. This 1980 version features the Spyder equipment package which initially included a two-barrel carbureted, Dura-Built 2.3 liter, center console, large front and rear stabilizer bars, special shocks, steel-belted radial ply black-wall tires, chrome wheel opening trim, day-night rearview mirror, a sporty two-spoke steering wheel, special instrumentation and "stitched" instrument panel pad with added wood-grain vinyl accents, plus the distinctive "Spyder" identification inside and out.
Tim Rabenstein of Callery, PA had one in high school. When he set out to try to find one as an adult, most he found were rusted out or turned in to tubbed drag cars. This example was found in Cumberland, MD on barnfinds.com. Originally a WV car it was intact as delivered from the factory with a V6 and automatic transmission.
When Tim got it, he upgraded it to a 350 backed by a 4-speed and a factory posi rear with 2.56 gears. He was going to paint it but was convinced to keep the exterior original.
The most common comments he receives are either “I haven’t seen one of those in years” or the other extreme, “Who makes that?”