Muscle Cars

The 1980’s Monte Carlo SS

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By Mark Weisseg

Few cars in the eighties set car lovers straight like this one. You could buy a Monte Carlo as a family car and lots of people did. But, you could option up and get a SS and feel like the late Dale Earnhardt. And that was the popular choice.

You could wear the same style sun glasses he wore and tear around town in your V8 automatic transmission with the air conditioning on and still be seen as cool.
Now, the smart guys figured out ways to hype the engines up a bit and use better exhaust systems. Then, the car had some more power under the pedal. However, it was still the 1980’s and it was a low water mark for American cars. They suffered from air pollution controls that choked off all the power. But this car was a bit different. Sure it was not the fastest on the streets but neither was the Corvette in and around 86. It was the Buick Grand National of all things with the turbo 3.8 liter engine that led the pack. A distant cousin of the Monte Carlo.

But, the Carlo stayed popular enough that GM even introduced a Dale Earnhardt edition and a NASCAR edition. You know, fancy paint, some different badging, and also the sticker price went up. Somewhat popular of course but the car did not really change so much in horsepower.
But, it was a rock solid car with golden looks and a heritage worth having. This car pictured here sure is nice. The wheel and tire package is great and I always liked the paint scheme on most of the Monte Carlos.

Unfortunately, time was running out on this car and the shine was wearing off. Finally, GM pulled the plug and it was over. Over for the masses but I still see plenty of these being sold as unmolested or unrestored and they still look nice.

Of course some have been re modified and bigger crate engine installed. The down side is the price point never really budged. You might love your car but the market really has never moved the needle much. Will it ever? I doubt it as so many were made there is nothing rare about them. Even after the death of Dale in February of 2001 at Daytona his estate has not really capitalized on like an Elvis Presley. I guess Dale’s widow does not want a circus environment and that is her choice. But, let’s tip the hat to a very good car at one point that brings back many good memories less one in February of 2001.

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