By on February 17, 2010

These are not the kind of cars that normally get me to pull over and shoot, but something about them called to me. I came up with three reasons to justify their occupying memory space in my camera. One: their sloping roofs, clean noses and high tails suggest excellent aerodynamics. Sure enough, with a Cd of .33 for the Monte Carlo and a .30 for the Intrepid, they’re definitely on the slippery side of average. 

Two: It also struck me how dated they look already, despite the Intrepid’s 2004 departure and the Monte’s more recent ’07 exit. The third thing: I’m trying to keep my eyes peeled for younger cars, but I had doubt whether these were worthy. And then it hit me; these guys’ avatars duked it out on the NASCAR ovals for years. Not exactly my thing, but maybe it’s yours.

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25 Comments on “Curbside Classic Outtake: Aerodynamic NASCAR Edition...”


  • avatar
    ajla

    The 1986 Monte Carlo and Grand Prix “Aerocoupes” both laugh at these poseurs.

    I mean those things aren’t even an Intrepid R/T or Supercharged “Intimidator” SS.

  • avatar
    mikeolan

    Called it on the Chrysler. If the Intrepid had been better cared for (without the fogged lights and maybe a car wash) it’d look a lot more contemporary.

  • avatar
    Charles T

    I’ve always liked the styling of all the Chrysler LH cars; Tom Gale’s work on his big sedans has been severely underrated, and the Viper cues actually look good here. Meanwhile, the MC’s headlights live on in the Jaguar XF. Unfortunately.

  • avatar

    I had a Monte Carlo as a rental in Anaheim in 2007.What a POS. IT had the same damn dash and radio as my father’s previous 1985 Olds Ciera Brougham…

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    Despite my somewhat left of center stand and a NE locale, I really like NASCAR. These cars, however, yuk…I kind of chuckle when I see a “NASCAR” street Monte…

  • avatar
    Campisi

    Technically the Monte Carlo received a front-end restyle before its death that makes it look much more contemporary. Like everything Chrysler, though, the Dodge has no excuse.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Nguyen Van Falk

      Putting a new Impala front clip makes it contemporary? I thought it made something all around ugly just bland in front and ugly in back.

      To each their own I suppose.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    I never thought I’d see a 2000-05 Monte Carlo as a CC. It’s one of those cars that’s certainly not good looking, but not quite bad, either. In its mediocrity, it’s one of the worst styled cars, ever.

  • avatar
    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

    I’m sorry, but I’m rather a fan of the Intrepid, and cars with amber taillamps in general (I CAN’T STAND red-only lamps).. The styling I like, not so much the detonating motors, cramped engine bays and cheapo interiors. Was this one of those cars you’d have to like take the wheel off to change the oil filter? Packaging nightmare it looks to me..

    Now a car with Intrepid’s styling, RWD, strong-dollar Japanese quality and a solid interior, now THAT could have helped Chrysler stay out of bankrupcy.

    I mean, that greenhouse, that lack of chrome, the clean A-pillar, that classy rear end.. The only quibble I might have would be the side cladding ridges, but you need _something_ to act as door bumpers I guess..

  • avatar
    Turbo60640

    A friend of mine bought an ’07 Monte Carlo. I took a ride with him, and it literally felt like stepping back in time.

    Chrysler LHS cars? Ugh.

  • avatar
    HankScorpio

    That bodystyle Monte Carlo is second only to the Ford Tempo on my list of cars I cannot stand to look at.

    There are so many things I don’t like I cannot enumerate them.

    My wife had an Intrepid as a company car. It was purple. What was with Chrysler and the purple cars in that era? Besides the color, it was a thoroughly unremarkable car in all aspects.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Chrysler’s LH cars really are pretty nice-looking, if a bit overdone in a French-car sort of way. The problem is that they’re often not well cared-for and they suffer for it. The interior space was actually pretty good as was the ride and handling; I ride in a lot of taxis, and the Intrepid is easily the preferred choice . Mechanically, not so much.

    The Monte is mediocre save for the powertrain and tacky as all-hell**, but at least it was reliable. Between the two of them you’ve got a quality car.

    Still, I’d take the Chrysler, though I’d probably prefer a 300M over the Intrepid.

    ** GM (and Honda) seem terminally unable to make a classy car. Sometimes they manage it by accident, but mostly their stuff is cartoonish

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    My mother had a Dodge Intrepid after a chain link fence totalled out her Caravan. While a pre-owned Lincoln Mark VIII was briefly in the running she decided for the new-old-stock Intrepid instead, much to my dismay, but her car, and I’d already moved out of the house by them.

    She ended up keeping it for about seven years, and it never really gave her any trouble, but never really excelled at anything either. I drove it a few times and I always felt that it was big in a bad way. The cabin was roomy, but putting the seat in a comfortable driving position placed the radio and HVAC controls a little too far for comfort. She finally traded it this past year for a 2010 Fusion, which thus far she has been very happy with.

  • avatar
    musicalmcs8706

    It seems rather odd to see the platform mates of cars I have owned or currently own as a CC outtake, but that’s life. After having a 1996 Concorde LXi and now a 2005 Impala I always have a fondness for these cars. The first generation LH cars were brilliant, even though they didn’t last long. I always liked the looks of my Concorde, even though my sister hated it. For some reason it always worked for me and didn’t always work for her… But the second generation LH I liked the Intrepid or 300M better than the Concorde. The Concorde was just too bloated. And I realize my Impala may be almost as outdated as this Monte Carlo, but I still like it.

  • avatar
    criminalenterprise

    I remember the first time I pulled up behind one of those wavy bumper Monte Carlos in traffic. I thought it had seen some rear-end damage from a very symmetrical accident. To my increasing horror I began to realize this look had been applied on purpose, but held out hope that maybe it had been hit with a forklift after all.

    Why do automakers (not picking only on GM, but someone should have been shot for this acute example) insist on building whatever they kludged together without ever considering if there’s even a market for it?

    To think: the great expense of the NASCAR marketing beast had to tractor this thing out of the showrooms.

  • avatar
    MadHungarian

    In this Monte Carlo we have the difference between NASCAR marketing and NASCAR design. This Monte is at least one design cycle beyond the time when production car design was still influenced by NASCAR homologation requirements. Uhhh, that would be back when NASCAR *had* homologation requirements. I think the aero-back Monte from the 80’s, the one with the huge rear glass, was the last of its kind. For as goofy as that car looked, at least it was a comforting reminder that the “S” in NASCAR still meant something

  • avatar
    Disaster

    I always thought the Intrepid was styled ahead of it’s time. If you squint, you can see the Olds Aurora in it. To help put it in perspective, remember this is the car that replaced the Dodge Dynasty in 1993.

    • 0 avatar
      windswords

      Actually the car pictured above is the 2nd generation, introduced in 1998. The first gen replaced the Dynasty (C body, a stretched K body). I thought the 1st gen sedans were much better looking, and still look good today. The 2nd gen was so areodynamic that if NASCAR still had homologation requirements they would be no changes to the production car to make it run at speed in a NASCAR race. But something about the 2nd gen didn’t look right to me. The 300M (which was to originally to be the next gen Eagle Vision) was a much better design IMO.

  • avatar
    folkdancer

    The overall shape of these cars is identical. Great pictures having them side by side.

    Just a few creases, head & tail light shapes, and bumper treatments to tell them apart. I am impressed with the work of exterior designers who have to make distinctions.

    The good .Cd’s are impressive even though sedans and coupes usually bore me. I like station wagons.

  • avatar
    Maxb49

    Paul,

    You’re right. These cars were dated the minute they left the assembly line. I could never got over how bad the Monte Carlo was. Big on the outside, cramped on the inside, gutless engines (5.3 V8 not withstanding), front wheel drive, crappy plastic interiors, and atrocious ride/handling characteristics. General Motors did themselves a disservice when they got rid of the Chevelle platform in 1988. Those were decent cars.

    • 0 avatar
      educatordan

      Or at least the Chevelle platform was “figured out.” My dad almost bought one of the last rear drive Monte Carlos used for a family car in the early 90s but he thought his teenage son and daughter were too tall for it. I told him if he had bought an SS model he wouldn’t have heard me complain.

  • avatar
    Stingray

    From the front door back the Monte looks acceptable. The front end, not so much.

    Seems like GM people only refreshed the front and back of that car. Looks very similar to the Lumina-based Monte Carlo.

  • avatar
    dolo54

    I think ownership of a 90s Monte Carlo is a sign of mental illness. I don’t know how you could look at that car and not be positively horrified by its melty hideousness.

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