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  • Is it a Real SS?

    This page is to provide information about the 1970 and 1971 Monte Carlo SS454.

    The 1970 Monte Carlo brochure reads as follows for the SS454 model:
    Monte Carlo SS454 includes a 360-hp Turbo-Jet 454 V8, Automatic Level Control, G70 x 15 wide-oval white stripe tires with 7”-wide rim wheels, heavy duty chassis components and SS exterior identification.

    1970 SS454

    IMG_2480 (2).JPG
    1971 SS454

    Exterior Identification

    The Monte Carlo SS454 was only made in 1970 and 1971.  The SS454 could be distinguished from a non-SS Monte Carlo by the emblems on the lower fenders of each side. For 1971 there were additional items on the rear of an SS454 which included having the "BY CHEVROLET" tag replaced with "SS", chrome strips added to the top of the rear panel below the trunk, the rear panel painted black and a rubber bumper pad. These emblems are the only way to tell an SS Monte Carlo from the outside. 

    SS454 emblem on front fender

    1971 SS454 rear end


    Build Sheet - U.S. Built Cars
    The most common way to check to see if a car is a real SS is the build sheet.  The build sheet will have the Z20 Monte Carlo SS and LS5 V8 454 option codes listed. Note that there is no guarantee in finding the build sheet in these cars. Cars built in the Flint assembly plant will not have a build sheet for example.

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    Portion of a United States build sheet

    Line Sheet - Canadian Built Cars
    The cars built in Canada did not have full build sheet like the U.S. cars had, they may have a line sheet which is a much smaller paper slip that simply has the 3 digit option codes with no descriptions. Look for the LS5 and Z20 option codes.

    Canadian line sheet

    Vintage Vehicle Services Package
    If the car was built in Canada or originally sold in Canada you can get the information package from Vintage Vehicle Services. This package includes a list of your car's original equipment and therefore can prove it has the SS454 option. This package comes with some other statistics and general information as well.

    Body Tag
    The body tag for Canadian built SS454 Monte Carlos will have the Z20 code stamped on it.

    Canadian built 1971 SS454 body tag

    A Monte Carlo built in Kansas City will have an L below the paint codes on the body tag indicating it is an SS454.

    Kansas City built 1971 SS454 body tag

    In recent research it has been noted that a 1971 Monte Carlo SS454 built in Baltimore has an F in the middle of the third row on the body tag. All Baltimore built Monte Carlos in 1971 have the B in the middle of the third row of the tag but only SS454s seem to display an F directly after the B. This has not been proven yet but we have not found any evidence that disproves this theory.

    Baltimore built 1971 SS454 body tag

    As far as we know all other U.S. built cars do not have anything to indicate an SS454 on the body tag.

    All SS Monte Carlos in 1970 and 1971 were 454s and all 454s in 1970 and 1971 were SS cars.  So if there is a numbers matching 454 in the car, that will confirm it is a real SS.  The VIN should match the serial number on the engine.  The engine serial number is usually found on the machined surface of the block just forward of the right cylinder head.  It may also be found on a pad on the side of the block near the oil filter.  For 454 engines, the serial number will have "CRN" for 1970 and "CPD" for 1971.

    1970 454 engine block stamping

    The tag on a Turbo Hydramatic 400 transmission will have a code that indicates what engine it was coupled with from the factory. If the transmission tag has the code indicating a 454 engine and the transmission case has the 6-digit serial number stamped on it that matches the VIN then it is a real SS.  The transmission tag will have "70R" for 1970 or "71F" for 1971 in the middle of the tag. If that code in the middle is not legible, the larger "C" and "R" on each end of the tag indicates it was for a 1970 454 or "C" and "F" for a 1971 454.

    1970 Transmission tag with 70R code.

    The Protect-O-Plate that is attached to the warranty card will indicate the engine's suffix code. If the engine code includes "CRN" for 1970 or "CPD" for 1971 and the VIN on the plate matches the car's VIN then this indicates the car was built with a 454 and therefore must be an SS454. Note that some protect-o-plates do not have the engine or transmission details but that is uncommon.

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    1970 Protect-O-Plate with CRN engine code (top left)

    Vehicle Identification Number
    There is nothing in the VIN that indicates an SS454.

    All SS454 Monte Carlos Have:

    1. Automatic Level Control

    G67 - Automatic Level Control – compressor under the hood, leveling valve mounted on rear, air shocks and air shock protector plates on rear. The compressor is mounted on the inside of the left inner fender and is either black or cadmium plated. The leveling valve is mounted on the body above the rear differential with an arm that attaches to the left rear upper control arm. The shock protector plates are bolted to the rear end just inboard of the lower shock mounts. Also look for the black plastic air line along the left frame rail held in place with clips on the brake lines.

    compressor.jpg (17108 bytes)

    SS Leveling valve
    Leveling valve

    shock_plates.jpg (15297 bytes)
    Rear air shocks and shock protectors

    2. 15X7 Rims

    In 1970 the PH1 - 15" x 7" rims with wheel covers were standard with the SS454 package. Other wheel covers and rally wheels were optional. In 1971 the ZJ7 - 7" x 15" Rally wheels were part of the SS454 package. 1970 SS454 pictured below with the wheel covers.

    PattonsSS.JPG (16902 bytes)
    1970 SS454 with standard wheel covers

    3. 454 Engine

    LS5 - 454 V8. 360hp in 1970 and 365hp in 1971
    (no proof of the LS-6 450 hp cars – but we’re always hoping a documented one surfaces…)
    1970 LS5 454 engine pictured below

    1970 SS454 engine bay

    1971 SS454 engine bay

    4. Turbo Hydromatic 400 Transmission

    M40 - TH400 automatic transmission

    5. White Stripe Tires

    P90 - G70 x 15 white stripe tires

    6. Heavy Duty Battery

    T60 - HD battery

    7. Front and Rear Sway Bars

    F41 - Front and Rear anti-sway bars - the front sway bar is 1-1/8" diameter (standard is         15/16" diameter). There is also a plate welded to the bottom of the rear control arms ("boxed"  control arms).

    8. Dual Exhaust

    N10 - dual exhaust with chrome tips

    1970 SS454 with chrome exhaust tips

    9. Exterior SS Emblems and Trim

    Emblems and trim as detailed at the top of the page.

    No SS454 Monte Carlos Have:

    1. Fender Skirts

    T58 fender skirts were not available due to the 7 inch wide rims.

    2. Manual Transmission

    M20 4 speed transmission was not available with the 454. There are lots of people with stories of them but none have been proven.

    3. LS6 Engine

    LS6 454 was also not available, only the LS5 454. There is no proof that a Monte Carlo was built with an LS6 engine but there are lots of unsubstantiated stories.

    4. Interior SS emblems

    The interior does not have any indications of it being an SS

    An SS May Have:

    1. Rally Wheels

    ZJ7 - Rally Wheels  - 7” x 15” (standard in '71, optional in '70)

    2. Center Console

    D55 - console is not part of the SS454 package. If the console is present it should have the burlwood top that matches the dash.

    3. Bucket Seats

    A51 - Bucket seats was not part of SS454 package. Many SS454 cars were built with the standard bench seat.

    4. Positraction Rear End

    G80 - 12 bolt posi-traction rear end. 2.56 was the standard ratio for the 70 SS and the 3.31 was the standard ratio for the 71.

    5. Special Gauge Package

    U14 - Gauge package was not part of the SS454 package. Some SS cars may have the standard warning lights instead.

    6. Power Steering

    N40 - Power steering - not all SS cars had it.

    7. Driver's Side Remote Sport Mirror

    This is included on 1971 SS454 Monte Carlos built in Canada. It was optional on all other 1970 and 1971 Monte Carlos.

    This page is maintained by Aaron Dodsworth.
    If you have any information, comments or questions, please contact Aaron at dodsyaaron@gmail.com


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