The Truth About Cars » Monte Carlo The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Tue, 22 Jul 2014 19:45:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Monte Carlo New or Used: Common Sense or Uncommon Downsizing? Tue, 27 Sep 2011 16:45:50 +0000

Dave writes:

Hello Sajeev and Steve,

First time writer, long time reader; I must say, TTAC and Piston Slap rocks.

My wife and I are in a bit of a quandary. We currently own outright a 1997 Chevy Monte Carlo 3.1L LS with 197k miles and counting as well as a 2003 Chevy S-10 Blazer LS with 145k on the clock. Lately, we have been sinking money into the Blazer for everything from brakes, to shift solenoids, thermostat, intake manifold gasket and crankshaft position sensor (soon to be O2 sensor). I have been driving the Monte since senior year in high school (2004) and it has also had its share of problems, namely Dex-Cool and the ensuing broken conn-rod. The engine was replaced with a rebuilt Jasper at 117k. The dash is lit up like a Christmas tree, but I change the oil religiously and watch the other liquids and wear parts.

Our dilemma is such; the Blazer does not get good mileage but we have it for my wife. She grew up in Jersey and the 4×4 is nice for these upstate NY winters. We snowboard so we routinely travel a couple of hours round trip in bad weather; we also make an annual pilgrimage to VT for the slopes. Her family is still in NJ and mine is north of Niagara Falls NY. We travel to each frequently; the Blazer has its needs. The Monte is a great car, still strong, so comfortable, so smooth, so quiet, much better mileage; especially compared to the Blazer. It even handles the snow well; FWD with good tires is all any upstate New Yorker needs. Alas, it is tiring and it is only a matter of time before the transmission goes or some other catastrophic failure.

I live close enough to work to get there in a 25 minute walk; for the summer, I have my motorcycle. Since my wife’s current commute is longer than mine, I would love for my wife to have a good, reliable vehicle which is good on gas; she grew up driving a 1996 BMW M3 sedan around suburban NJ so she would love a manual with similar handling.

Do we drive the Monte until she goes onto greener pastures? Do I inherit the Blazer when this happens and get her something newer and better? Do we sell the Blazer now and cut our losses? Do we sell both and downsize to one vehicle?

Is there anything you, Steve and the B&B would recommend for our situation? I appreciate the help…

Steve answers:

I would not downsize only because you don’t know what the future holds.

What I would do is cut down on your insurance so that your rates are more affordable. A lot of insurance companies provide discounts for limited driving. Some offer it at less than 5,000 miles a year. Others offer it for less than 2,500 miles a year.

I would drive both vehicles until they croak. The key to making GM vehicles last is taking care of their fluids and making sure you keep up with replacing the Dex-cool in particular. Some would say that I may be excessive recommending annual changes for the Dex-cool. But my experience has been that by doing so, your vehicle will last much longer.

Buy a Mityvac. Suck out the old stuff. Put in the new stuff… and repeat once a year. That may seem extreme to a lot of folks here. But its cheap insurance and that should help you guys lower your operating costs to the bare minimum.

Sajeev answers:

Even though my man Lang is, like, 100 billion percent right, agreeing with him is like shooting fish in a barrel. And I can hear TTAC’s own Zackman saying, “W bodies are perfect for your needs, keep on driving the Monte Carlo and get another one…don’t listen to Sajeev because he’ll ruin your life with Panther Love!” And they both give valid points, even if I completely made up that last part. But they are both wrong.

Sell both hoopties and get something smaller. Maybe that E36 M3 you spoke of. Sure, the fuel economy is pretty bad and the maintenance to keep it running will crush your manhood, but I will not agree with Steve Lang this time. No sir, not at all! You could embrace Panther Love and go from downsizing to “awesome sizing” your next ride, but then again, there’s no stick shift option. And that powertrain conversion isn’t for everyone. So what’s a reliable car that’s affordable and comes with a stick?

BAM SON: a Toyota Corolla in XRS trim level. Sure it’s ugly and/or boring with a lousy interior, but the XRS has a meaty engine, real brakes and a stick! Plus, it’s probably just as reliable as any other Corolla, with resale value that makes selling it a breeze.

Who could ask for anything more?

Not me and certainly not you.


Need help with a car buying conundrum? Email your particulars to , and let TTAC’s collective wisdom make the decision easier… or possibly much, much harder.
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Stop Press! Autoblog Embroiled In Sexist Scandal! Bentley Banged! Sat, 30 Jul 2011 11:04:50 +0000

Jeff Glucker, a.k.a. jglucker, had his head handed to him by the Twitter mob. It must have been the little head. The emasculated editor of Autoblog caved in to the rabid rabble and sacrificed a supposedly sexist headline. What happened?

London’s Daily Mail chronicled a pile-up of (interestingly mostly blue) supercars in downtown Monte Carlo under the headline “Oops, it’s a £700,000 prang… Hapless blonde crashes her Bentley into a Merc, Porsche, Ferrari and Aston Martin.”

The British tabloid milked the blonde stereotype for all it’s worth (or not):

“This was the moment when a woman driver caused a £700,000 five-car pile-up as her Bentley  collided with a Mercedes, Ferrari, Porsche and Aston Martin. Disaster struck as the hapless blonde negotiated the traffic around the Place du Casino in her £250,000 Bentley Azure.”

The Daily Mail could not possibly pass-up on the story. After all, according to Wikipedia, the Daily Mail  “was, from the outset, a newspaper for women, being the first to provide features especially for them, and is still the only British newspaper whose readership is more than 50% female.” It even has a column called “Femail today.” The paper demonstrated its sensitivity towards its female readership by regaling it with statistics:

“Scientists at the University of Michihan (sic) looked at 6.5million car crashes and found a higher than expected number of accidents between two female drivers. They also discovered that women have a tough time negotiating crossroads, T-junctions and slip roads.”

Jeff Glucker also could not say no.  At Autoblog, he ran the story under the headline  “Female driver causes supercar catastrophe in Monte Carlo.” The Autoblog associate editor, who according to his Twitter profile loves “cars, dachshunds, good drinks and the Caribbean,” carefully resisted the allure of any alliterations beyond “causes catastrophe.”  Where this reporter would have tinkered with something along the lines of “Blundering buxom blondes brutalize big buck Bentley, smash several supercars ,”  Jeff didn’t even mention “blonde.”

Ever the car guy, he questioned the reported damage estimates “in the neighborhood of $65,000” which according to Jeff’s trained eye (and the opinion of his wiener dog) seem “laughably low.”  That restraint did not spare Jeff the wrath of the PC-armed PC crowd.  The dogloving autoblogger found himself at the receiving end of a twitter riot: “What’s w/ the sexist ‘female driver causes catastrophe’” was tweeted and reteweeted several times, thereby spreading the chauvinistic copy all over the twitterverse.

Then Glucker did something we would never do here at TTAC: He caved in. Changing “Female driver causes supercar catastrophe in Monte Carlo” to an insipid “Driver causes supercar catastrophe in Monte Carlo” did not mollify the masses.

Now he hears from his own readers: “Jeff Glucker, you have no spine.”

PS: We would not have even noticed the story and could have saved our vindictive vitriol for other occasions, would we not have received an email with the subject line “Would change headlines or content to please complainers?”

Our answer: No.

If we make factual mistakes, we fix them. If we hurt feelings – tough.



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Curbside Classic: 1975 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Wed, 19 Jan 2011 14:00:15 +0000
You’d think that all the Malaise Era Montes would have been crushed 15 years ago, but you still see the occasional survivor chugging around these days. I spotted this battered-but-solid example in a Denver park a few months back.

You could get a 235-horse 454 V8 for the Monte Carlo in ’75, but most of them came with a 145-horsepower 350. This in a car that weighed 3,950 pounds. Think about that next time you complain that your rented Cobalt (205 horsepower, 2,783 pounds) lacks power.
DOTSD-WhiteMonte-13 DOTSD-WhiteMonte-01 DOTSD-WhiteMonte-02 DOTSD-WhiteMonte-03 DOTSD-WhiteMonte-04 DOTSD-WhiteMonte-05 DOTSD-WhiteMonte-06 DOTSD-WhiteMonte-07 DOTSD-WhiteMonte-08 DOTSD-WhiteMonte-09 DOTSD-WhiteMonte-10 DOTSD-WhiteMonte-11 DOTSD-WhiteMonte-12 WhiteMonte-thumb Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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