1977 Chevy Monza Spyder
Jim Mastalerz, Niles, IL
Best E.T.: 12.90/105
The year was 1977, and Jim Mastalerz had just graduated high school and was working in the service department of his local Chevy dealer. He and his brother John had been cruising the used car lots looking for good deals on muscle cars to hot rods. After countless trips, they came to the conclusion that rust, dents, and repairs would be the norm, so they decided to use Jim's job to their advantage to special order new cars. That way there would be no repairs to steal time and money from their speed parts budgets.

While his brother opted for a '77 Camaro LT, Jim optioned out a Monza Spyder with the Z01 Spyder equipment, but without the appearance package. They both bided their time until the warranties ran out, then immediately started ripping off parts to bump up the performance. Intakes, headers, ignition, cam, geardrive-they gathered all the right bolt-ons for muscle car street cred. "The look on our father's face when he saw us taking off brand-new parts and throwing them in the garbage said 'You boys are crazy,' " Jim told us. Sure, the mods seem mild by today's standards, but back then they were hot Chevys, and it wasn't long before Jim and John were terrorizing the streets on the Northwest side of Chicago and hanging out at Great Lakes Dragaway.

In the 32 years since then, Jim's Monza hasn't changed much, and has only covered an amazingly paltry 27K miles. The paint and interior are both original and near showroom fresh. We wouldn't hesitate to say this has to be the most perfectly preserved and optioned Monza out there. "This is my secret for building some budget muscle," Jim says. "Buy a new car 32 years ago, buy speed parts at '70s and '80s prices, and most important of all, never sell your ride!"

'77 Chevy Monza Spyder: $5,510
Nitrous: $250
Electric fuel pump $75
Carb rebuild: $175
Intake manifold: $109
Cam: $55
Valvetrain: $125
Geardrive: $212
Ignition box: $114
Coil, distributor, and wires: $160
Headers: $177
Mufflers $163
Exhaust: $600
Shifter: $32
Trans shift kit: $85
Trans cooler $42
Ring-and-pinion and GM Posi $261
Total: $8,145

Jim Mastalerz, 50 • Niles, IL
Total cost to build: $8,145
Type: Chevy 305ci small-block
Block: stock GM
Oiling: stock pump and pan
Rotating assembly: stock GM cast crank, rods, and pistons
Cylinder heads: stock GM cast iron
Camshaft: GM 327/350 hp
Valvetrain: Crane grooved rocker arm balls,
Pete Jackson gear drive
Induction: Edelbrock Street Master intake manifold,
modified Rochester 4bbl carb
Ignition: MSD 6A box, ACCEL Super Coil, cap, and plug wires
Exhaust: Hooker headers, 2 1/4-inch exhaust with custom X-pipe,
Flowmaster 40-series mufflers
Cooling: stock water pump; Be Cool radiator and dual electric fans
Power adder: NOS 150hp plate system
Output: untested
Built by: owner and brother
Transmission: GM THM-200, Hurst ratchet shifter
Rear axle: GM 7.5-inch 10-bolt rearend, 3.42:1 gears
Front suspension: stock with F41 heavy-duty springs and Gabriel shocks
Rear suspension: stock with F41 heavy-duty springs and Gabriel shocks
Brakes: stock GM power disc, front; stock GM drum, rear
Wheels: GM aluminum, 13x6 front; 13x6, rear
Tires: Pirelli P6 205/60R13, front; 235/60R13, rear