Rare Rides has touched on Monte Carlo once before, in a well-past-its-prime NASCAR / Jeff Gordon edition from 2000. Monte Carlo surfaced again more recently, as its Nineties iteration was effectively a renamed second-generation Lumina coupe. But we’ve never covered the Eighties Monte Carlo, which was a very popular car in the midsize segment at a time when the personal luxury coupe was alive and well.
And someone kept today’s 1987 example in as-new condition.
We’ve all been there. It happens so often we don’t even realize it. Somewhere on the horizon, something appears — a vague shape, some sort of vehicle. Within seconds of said vehicle entering your field of vision, you’ve already made up your mind about its owner.
You’re so judgmental!
We introduced the new Buy/Drive/Burn series back in December via a QOTD post (read that first for the rules). Shortly afterwards, the inaugural post in the series tackled the destruction of one of a trio of new luxury coupes. Those powerful and modern coupes are at the higher end of the market, which is just about the only place one finds luxury coupes today.
It wasn’t always that way — there used to be personal luxury for the masses. Coupes in the finest brougham tradition, exuding class, elegance, and sophistication. One of the [s]best[/s] years for the personal luxury coupe (PLC) was 1980, right at the height of malaise and the downsizing trend. All are superb vehicles, surely. Which one burns, and which goes in your driveway, and which do you simply borrow from a friend?
And no, the Bonneville isn’t in the running. Too easy.
Our last couple of Rare Rides have been special limited edition vehicles. Last week we saw a GMC Spectre which, upon viewing, my friend declared, “That interior looks like an old Taco Bell!” Prior to that, a Nissan Desert Runner made all your Zima-beach-toting dreams come true, even with its sketchy and unclear history.
But today’s limited edition is more rare and more ugly than either of those two prior examples. It’s also newer, which makes its styling all the more egregious and offensive. By the year 2000, we were supposed to be beyond such gaudy nonsense. But the Monte Carlo SS Jeff Gordon Signature Series Commemorative Edition is as ridiculous as its name is long.
Examples of the rear-wheel-drive Chevy Monte Carlo have held their value pretty well, especially the A-body-based 1970-1977 ones. Even a fairly rough one can be worth restoring, particularly in Southern California, and so I don’t see many of these cars during my travels to the wrecking yards of the Golden State. Here’s a very rough ’76 that I spotted in Los Angeles while visiting Cheech & Chong movie locations in a ’15 Ford Transit van.
An impromptu dinner meeting with a friend last night led talk of a possible G-Body project car (and two very bored girlfriends). Joey, who has long wanted a G-Body Monte Carlo, asked what it would take to make a cool street car out of an old G-Body car, like a late 1980’s Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS.” It can’t be that hard,” I said. “Can’t you just drop in a crate motor from GM Performance Parts?”