A supercharged V6 coupe on a budget.
The Chevrolet Monte Carlo has been gone for over a decade now and there's zero chance it'll return, at least in the way we last saw it. Bear in mind the sixth-generation Monte Carlo, built from 2000 to 2007, was a product of the "Old GM" before its bankruptcy. Despite designers' best efforts, this final Monte Carlo generation was nothing more than a big coupe built on a platform that dated back to 1987. It served as the basis for a number of old school GM coupes and sedans, among them the Chevy Impala and Lumina, Buick Century, Pontiac Grand Prix, and Oldsmobile Intrigue.
The Monte Carlo was part of an era where GM thought it could get away with quick and easy cheap badge engineering. No one would notice, right? Despite this, the automaker still built excellent engines and had a major role in NASCAR, which hasn't changed.
Chevy product planners at the time very smartly leveraged this NASCAR connection with the sixth-gen Monte Carlo by introducing several special editions. Beginning in 2002, they wore the name of famous Chevy NASCAR drivers from the era: Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Jeff Gordon, and Tony Stewart were rightly chosen to have their names attached to these vehicles, but it was Dale Jr. Edition that first received a supercharged V6.
The 2004 Chevy Monte Carlo came powered by the automaker's L67 supercharged 3.8-liter V6 with a total of 240 horsepower at 5,200 rpm and 280 lb-ft of torque at 3,600 revs. The sole gearbox offered was a four-speed automatic slushbox that sent power to the front wheels.
Aside from the engine, Chevy also lowered the ride height by nearly half an inch, went with stiffer spring rates at all four corners, and added larger front and rear anti-roll bars. Performance was actually fairly respectable for the time, returning a 0-60 mph figure of 6.5 seconds and a quarter-mile sprint of 15.1 seconds at 93 mph.
Combined with wider tires, various suspension tweaks, and the addition of beefier brakes, this Monte Carlo SS was quite fun to drive. Even the fit and finish are somewhat respectable and the rear seat is spacious. The interior had leather upholstery and "Dale Jr." logos are everywhere. When it went on sale in 2004, it was priced at nearly $28,000.
Surviving examples today, quite obviously, cost a lot less, such as this one currently up for sale at Fury Motors of St. Paul, Minnesota.
Painted in Victory Red with a black interior, this three-owner Monte Carlo SS Dale Jr. Edition has a total of 152,570 miles. The alloy wheels and exterior stripes running along each side help make it stand out compared to regular Monte Carlos of the time. Given its age and mileage, the asking price is $4,250, which is actually quite reasonable. For a young gearhead on the hunt for their first car, this supercharged V6 coupe of yesteryear could be the perfect find.