Classic Cars

Unearthed: 1985 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS

The Monte Carlo reached its peak in the mid-Eighties with the V8-powered Super Sports model. It was all downhill from there.

The Chevrolet Monte Carlo is one of the more recognizable nameplates the brand has made. True, it’s not quite up there with greats such as the Corvette, Camaro, Impala and even the Malibu, but the Monte Carlo has a nice history all of its own, including its days participating in NASCAR. The Monte Carlo first debuted in 1970 and was powered by a series of V8s, as was common for that era. And almost from the get-go, the car was a sales success.

At the time, GM was getting more and more into badge engineering, which would eventually be partially responsible for the automaker’s downfall. The Monte Carlo shared a rear-wheel-drive platform with the Pontiac Grand Prix and Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme but had different styling inside and out. Chevrolet supposedly took some design cues from the Cadillac Eldorado and many of its structural elements came from the Chevelle. The only body style offered was a two-door hardtop. The second-gen Monte Carlo launched in 1973 with a new body design that featured rear side windows and an egg-crate front grille.

The V8 lineup remained but Chevy gave it a supposed "Euro-like" ride and, along with its new styling, won Motor Trend’s Car of the Year award. All the while, the Monte Carlo remained quite similar to the Grand Prix. Monte Carlo sales, however, were outstanding, totaling around 250,000 units in that model year alone. 1978 saw yet another redesign with the Monte Carlo lose nearly 800 lbs. and 15 inches in body length. This downsizing was a direct result of the oil crisis and even smaller V6 engines were offered alongside the V8s. The fourth generation Monte Carlo hit the market in 1981 and lasted until 1988.

This was the generation that competed in NASCAR. The optional Super Sport package was perhaps the best part of the car, as buyers could get theirs with Euro-style body color-coding, a unique front fascia, rear spoiler and a 5.0-liter small-block V8 which would produce up to 165 hp by 1986. Chevy even had optional T-tops for those who wanted some added style and uniqueness. This generation Monte Carlo lasted until 1988 with no immediate replacement. The nameplate was revived in 1995 for what was essentially a coupe version of the Lumina sedan. But that Monte Carlo had front-wheel-drive and an unexciting V6 engine.

While the Monte Carlo eventually returned to NASCAR in 1995 and spawned a sixth generation, it was never quite as cool as those original RWD models. This 1985 Monte Carlo SS that’s up for sale on eBay will almost certainly become a sought-after classic. For a price of just under $16,000, you get a Monte Carlo SS powered by a small-block V8 that’s 100 percent stock. It has 18 factory options and just 58,000 miles on the odometer. With just two owners over the years, it’s been fully maintained and includes a new factory style dual exhaust system, as well as new front and rear brakes.

The exterior and interior are in incredible shape and it can be used as a daily driver. It’s also a close cousin to the Buick Grand National, which was quite possibly the coolest car GM built during the Eighties. We’re willing to bet that one day a Monte Carlo SS in this condition will be worth even more than it is now.

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