Chevrolet launched a new coupé for the 1970s, bigger than a Chevelle and more luxurious, but still with a useful turn of speed for stock-car racing. The nation's top-selling marque underwent a transitional year in 1970. Long a sore spot for the corporate image, the venerable Corvair was finally laid to rest during the 1969 model year with little public notice. Its replacement, the Vega, would not be available for the public until the 1971 model year.
The replacement for the popular Camaro was not available at the beginning of the model year, so the 1969 version was sold as a 1970 until February, when the "real" 1970 Camaro was unveiled. The Chevelle and full-size Chevrolet models received major facelifts, while the Nova (no longer called the Chevy II) and Corvette soldiered on relatively unchanged. The 1970 Nova was the last to be offered with a 4-cylinder engine, as few were being sold.
There was, however, one totally new car. The affordable personal luxury class was virtually created by the allnew Monte Carlo. Basically the Monte Carlo took the concept of a sporty yet semi-luxurious coupe, like the Pontiac Grand Prix, Buick Riviera or earlier Ford Thunderbirds, and brought it into the low-price field. The Monte Carlo shared its roofline and some other components with the Grand Prix, but was based on the 4-Door Chevelle chassis. Most powertrain options were shared with the Chevelle as well. Sales were quite high for its initial year, and the Monte Carlo would become an icon of the seventies personal luxury car.
The other big news would not arrive until February 1970, when the new GM F-body cars debuted: the Camaro and the Pontiac Firebird. This all-new car was based upon the concepts of the original cars, but was much more modern in appearance and overall attractiveness. Its styling was so good that it would survive virtually unchanged through the 1981 model year. From the front, individual headlights were mounted at each side of the front, flanking a large, Ferrari-like grille opening. Depending on model chosen, there was either a full-width bumper or bumper-ettes that extended outward from the grille opening. Eliminating the rear quarter windows and angling the rear window down into a very short rear deck area created a sleek silhouette.
At the rear were four round taillights and a slender bumper. Interiors made extensive use of plastic materials. Bench or bucket seating was offered up front, with bucket-style seating in the rear. Powertrains for the new Camaro continued to cover the spectrum, from economy sixes to high-performance V8s. The convertible Camaro was dropped, and this would turn out to be the only generation of Camaro not offered in a convertible model.
Full-size Chevrolet models received their fourth restyling in as many years. While they retained many features from the '69 models (doors, roof, glass in particular), the front and rear styling was totally new. The loop-style bumper of previous years was gone in favor of a more traditional full-width grille with headlights mounted at the extreme ends. At the rear, slot-style vertical tail lamps were inset in the bumper. For the first time since 1952, regularline Chevrolet models sold fewer than 1 million units. Chevelle models also received a major facelift, with a new twin-grille appearance and body side highlights featuring slight bulges at the wheel openings.