Cohort Classic: Fashion Tone 1977 Monte Carlo – Let’s Add Another Layer to Our Brougham Cake

A while back, Richard Bennett shared a 1976 Malibu Classic with us. The subject of metallic brown as the ne plus ultra ’70s car color was discussed briefly. This put me in mind of a brown-and-tan Monte Carlo I spotted on the Cohort (and photographed by ’76 Monte owner Chris Green) not too long ago. Let’s relive the ’70s color palette–albeit briefly!

In a nutshell, the 1973-77 Chevy Monte Carlo was one of the most baroque – and successful – personal luxury cars of the 1970s. In 1976, it received a mild restyling that included stacked rectangular headlights, as well as a new two-tone paint option probably intended to recall classic cars of the ’30s. It was called Fashion Tone, and featured a complementary accent color on the front fenders and doors, as seen above. It continued for 1977, as on our featured Monte Carlo.

My Dad had a 1977 Monte Carlo, which is shown above. It was not very Broughamed-out, with Rally wheels, subtle silver-blue metallic paint and no vinyl roof. It was a company car that he got after buying his old company car, a ’77 Volvo 245DL, for my mother.

A few styling changes differentiated 1977 Monte Carlos from the previous year’s models. The grille-mounted Monte Carlo crest was removed and placed into a stand-up hood ornament, while the taillights were now a bit shorter with three horizontal chrome bars. The new wheel covers were shared with the redesigned 1977 Caprice Classic.

In the ’77 brochure there is a Monte Carlo that looks just like Dad’s. I also really like that Firethorn Red coupe, complete with a white vinyl top. In 1979, Dad’s Monte Carlo was replaced by a beige-over-brown 1979 Bonneville sedan, which should be familiar to you frequent readers here at CC.

Anyway, back to Fashion Tone. It was not for everybody, and I have no idea how popular or unpopular it was. There’s no way Dad would have gone for it, company car or not. I also tend to prefer solid tones–with the exception of a contrasting vinyl roof, of course! After all, we are talking about 1970s personal luxury cars.

This rare ’77 Fashion Tone Monte Carlo Landau was spotted and posted to the Cohort by none other than Chris Green, owner of what is perhaps the sharpest 1976 Monte Carlo in existence. This 1977 must have had vinyl top deterioration and rust, judging from the primer on the roof; it looks like a bald spot. This must have been a snazzy looking car before the top fell apart, with those Turbine II wheels and sport mirrors. I wonder how many of these Fashion Tone Montes were made? I’ve never seen one in the metal. Have you?