1971 Chevy Monte Carlo NASCAR Grand National Stock Car

Famous Junior Johnson/Charlie Glotzbach race winner. Important history.



In 1963, Chevrolet pulled out of racing. Various reasons have been given for the pullout, including the increasing dangers posed by manufacturer horsepower wars, the 1955 tragedy at LeMans, the death of Bill Vukovich at Indy, etc. Another reason was concerns that Bobby Kennedy was threatening antitrust action against Chevrolet, who at the time commanded more market share than all of the other U.S. manufacturers combined. Regardless of the reason, in 1963 Chevrolet officially pulled out of racing.

By 1971, however, Chevy wanted back in the game, in particular in NASCAR’s Grand National stock car series. They didn’t just want to return to racing, however. They wanted to return as winners. Enter Charlotte Motor Speedway president/promoter, Richard Howard, and hghly successful retired NASCAR stock car driver and former moonshine runner, wheelman Robert Glenn Johnson, better known as “Junior” Johnson.

They all wanted something. Chevy wanted back in NASCAR’s premier series to promote their car sales (“Win on Sunday – Sell on Monday”) Howard needed to fill the increasingly empty seats at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Getting Chevy fans back in those empty seats was a priority. Junior Johnson had retired from driving after 50 wins, including the Daytona 500, but he was wanting to get back in the game as a car owner/builder this time. The time was right for all three of them to come together. 

Howard reached out to Johnson and asked him to build a “no questions asked” Chevy for his 1971 World 600 race on Memorial Day weekend. Howard even paid for half the cost of building the Chevy to make sure it happened. Chevy was more than pleased with this move.

Junior takes it from there:

“I figured the Monte Carlo was the model best suited for NASCAR but I had no idea what NASCAR would think about that. The Monte Carlo was so wide its wheelbase had to be reduced. I met with NASCAR and asked them to let me use the Monte Carlo front snout, but cut it where it fit the wheelbase rule. They let me do that.

But it didn’t end there. Because it was a Chevrolet, there were no NASCAR rules about motors and other things. I had to get the car approved by showing NASCAR all that was going on with the motors, how it was built and that kind of stuff.

With the help of some good assistants, the Chevy was ready to race just five weeks after I first spoke with Richard. We got Charlie Glotzbach to drive for us. They called him Chargin’ Charlie, so that should tell you he had a driving style I liked.

We were ready for shakedown runs at Charlotte. I had no idea how the car would do. It was all brand new. Everything I had done to it was untried. When we got to Charlotte I was shocked and amazed at how fast the Chevy ran. But I realized that, being a driver in the past, I obviously wanted a fast car. So did the guys who worked for me, Turkey Minton and Herb Nab. We were taking a shot in the dark, so we duplicated the best of everything we knew, and it worked.

Charlie won the World 600 pole with a speed of 157.788 mph. He led the race four times for 87 laps. He even put a lap on the field before the race was halfway over. But then Charlie swerved to miss Speedy Thompson on the frontstretch and darned if Charlie didn’t hit the wall. That was the end for us. Charlie finished 28th.”

You can see a great 16 minute Speed Channel summary video of the race at 1971 World 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Chargin Charlie and the Chevy hit the wall at about the 11 minute mark. 

Fun Fact: Charlie Glotzbach raced in the 1970 Daytona 500 with a bullet lodged in his arm. A disgruntled truck driver, whom Charlie fired, shot Charlie twice; once in the stomach and once in the arm. Charlie survived the shooting and removal of the bullet from his stomach. However, he delayed surgery to remove the bullet from his arm so he could race Ray Nichols’ purple Dodge Daytona Charger in the 500. Charlie was actually leading the race when a mechanic failed to put the gas cap on during a pit stop. Charlie lost a lap with the ensuing penalty, but still finished 4th. Then he had the bullet removed. 

After dominating the World 600 at Charlotte and wrecking, Junior Johnson and his team put the Chevy back together and continued on with their Grand National season for 10 additional races. On July 11, 1971, Glotzbach and the Chevy finally found victory lane, winning the Volunteer 500 at Bristol. This was Chevy’s first NASCAR win after years of self-imposed exile. Notably, Glotzbach and his relief driver, Friday Hassler, dominated the race, beating 2nd place Bobby Allison and 3rd place Richard Petty by three full laps!  This win was to be the first for Chevrolet in what would become a legacy of Chevrolet NASCAR wins and championships, including those of Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon.

Fast forward to 2010. The Glotzbach/Johnson NASCAR Monte Carlo was found in a barn in North Carolina. Fortunately, it still retained many of its original parts including Glotzbach’s steering wheel, original seat, and the Holman-Moody tach that they ran in 1971. The original dash was still intact as well as was the front truck arm suspension still fitted with Johnson’s original drum brakes. 

Randy Peterson, of Peterson Motorsports in Sonoma, California, then made the trek with his hauler all the way to North Carolina to pick up the old Chevy race car. He brought it back to his shop to commence a two year restoration of the car for its new owner, Rick Orme.  Every effort was made to replicate the original car exactly, and as many of the original parts as possible were used, so long as they would not jeopardize the structural integrity of the car. Orme even corresponded with Chargin’ Charlie to make sure he got things right on the car. In fact, after the restoration was completed, the Chevy was recognized by SVRA as a Gold Medallion Certification car, which is for distinguished race cars that are prepared in a manner that accurately represents the time period in which the cars were originally run. Here is the link to SVRA’s Gold Medallion certification recipients. To find the car there, please scroll down as the cars are listed by year with the older year cars at the top.

With restoration complete, in 2012, Orme rolled the Chargin’ Charlie Glotzbach/Junior Johnson/Richard Howard/Chevrolet Monte Carlo back onto the race track. This time it would be at one of NASCAR’s newer tracks, Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma, California. Orme would continue to race his famous Chevy up through 2019, when he retired from the sport for health reasons. 

Today the car remains as it was back in 1971, with the patina of a few races, just like it would have been at the end of the 1971 season.  


The Chevy is in its original 1971 Junior Johnson-built configuration with two exceptions. First, Orme had power steering installed to make the car much easier to maneuver around today’s tight paddocks. Secondly, he had a quick release steering wheel installed to make ingress and egress easier and quicker. The original 1971 Glotzbach steering wheel will come with the car. Other than the foregoing, the Chevy retains its original 1971 configuration as fully rebuilt between 2010 and 2012. Interestingly, this Junior Johnson NASCAR Chevy Monte Carlo has been referred to as “The Most Expensive Chevy” of its time.  

The engine is, of course, the famous “427 CU.IN.” Chevy as painted on the hood of the car. The engine, and the whole rest of the car, have approximately 10-12 events on them over the past 12 years. 

The transmission is a Richmond Super T10 4-speed, which was also fresh at the time of the restoration. There have been zero issues with the drivetrain since restoration. The rear end is a Ford 9.” It likely has 3.89 gears in it as the file contains a 2012 receipt from Roush/Yates Racing for those gears. 

Over $200,000 was spent restoring the Johnson/Glotzbach Monte Carlo, not including the cost of the car itself. At this point the Chevy has not been raced since 2019. The car currently  runs and drives, and gets periodic regular exercise up and down the street. However, we recommend the car getting a full going through of all operational systems. This would include at a minimum, new safety belts, a new fuel cell, a new fire system, a new set of tires, flushing the fluids, a full visual inspection, and a nut and bolt session. Even with that to do, the car should be considered a real bargain at this price. Compare it to the David Pearson Rebel 1968 Ford Torino, with similar Rebel 400 winning history, that sold for $187,000 in 2022. That additional $100,000+ in savings on this Junior Johnson/Glotzbach Monte Carlo would go a long way toward freshening up this car with an awful lot of money/equity left over. 

Chargin’ Charlie Glotzback’s 1971 Chevy Monte Carlo is the car that brought Chevrolet, and its legions of fans, back to NASCAR. It claimed pole positions, set track records, got wrecked and fixed, and won. It was also built by one of NASCAR’s original legends, Junior Johnson, The Last American Hero. All really good stuff.

All vehicle descriptions are accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time of writing. Corrections, and supplemental information, are always welcome. Buyers are responsible for confirming vehicle histories, condition, and authenticity to their own satisfaction prior to purchase. Motorsports Market is not the owner of the vehicle and assumes no liability for errors and omissions.

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