Street-Spotted: Dodge Monaco Station Wagon—without Woody Trim

dodge monaco station wagon on two lane road
Street-Spotted: Dodge Monaco Station WagonAutoweek

There probably aren't a lot of Chevy Monte Carlos in Monte Carlo, complete with Dale stickers. But how many Dodge Monacos do we think have made it to Monaco?

This brief 1977-1978 generation of the Monaco with two-tiered rectangular headlights is perhaps best remembered for being a police sedan, seen in various films and TV shows of the era like Matlock or (more famously) The Dukes of Hazzard, being slid around on its skinny tires by stunt drivers, rarely gaining traction at any point at all.

But the fourth-gen Monaco could also be bought as a two-door hardtop or a four-door wagon.

With a wheelbase of 117.4 inches and an overall length of 225.1 inches, the Monaco wagon served up plenty of space inside—85.5 cubic feet to be exact. This made the Monaco wagon over 10 inches longer than the current three-row Jeep Grand Wagoneer but just an inch shy of the long-wheelbase Grand Wagoneer L.


Burly V8s were underhood in 318-, 360-, and 400-CID flavors, but the base engine was a 225-CID slant-six. A three-speed manual and a three-speed TorqueFlite automatic were the only transmission options.

A reminder of the smog era was also present.

"There's a 360 V8 engine with Electronic Lean Burn System except in high altitude areas and California," the automaker noted in period literature.

a yellow truck parked on the side of the road
This clean Monaco was a welcome sight with its stock appearance.Autoweek

The suspension up front was a torsion bar system with a front anti-sway bar, and leaf springs out back. Disc brakes up front and drums in the back assured instant lockup in TV and film police chases, especially on some worn out tires for extra sliding distance.

If it seems like this particular station wagon is missing something—perhaps an obligatory feature of the era—you are correct.

Dubbed Monaco Crestwood, this trim offered woodgrain trim for the sides and the tailgate. So there was still room to spend more money when buying one of these.

"The Monaco Crestwood reflects even more elegance with a remarkable 'super soft' vinyl split-back bench seat. Or Crestwood buyers can order the luxurious 60/40 all-vinyl split-bench option with center armrest and passenger recliner," ad copy of the time promised.

On the prior-gen Monaco, this option bore the name Royal Monaco Brougham Wagon, obviously designed to sound impressive. A rear-facing bench, serving as a third row, was another feature in the Monaco.

But the Monaco wasn't the lone wagon in Dodge's lineup at the time. There was also the smaller Aspen that could be optioned with faux woodgrain siding.

It's probably fitting to consider this to be the last true generation of the Dodge Monaco, if we use the definition of "a vehicle that was originally designed by Chrysler and not a rebadged Renault."

That's because the fifth-gen Dodge Monaco sedan began life as an AMC-Renault project but was ultimately sold (less than convincingly) as an Eagle Premier and a Dodge Monaco, in that awkward period when Chrysler got the remains of AMC and had to sell some Renault designs for a few years, in addition to rebadged Mitsubishis.

All this talk of royalty, Monaco, and Monaco royal trims distracts us from the main question: Was the Dodge Monaco a popular royal vehicle in Monaco?

All we can say is that a few years ago we actually drove a car that belonged to Prince Rainier of Monaco and Princess Grace. One of their cars, anyway—a large fastback sedan they kept in Paris for when they visited on occasion. That car was a Citroen CX, and not even a lavishly optioned one. But it was sort of wagon-like.

Perhaps there just weren't enough Dodge dealers in Europe for catering to Monaco residents.

Do you know anyone who had one of these Monaco station wagons back in the 1970s? Let us know in the comments below.