Pollution controls and low compression ratios are possibly the first things that come to mind when talking GM performance of the 1980s. Truthfully, even Chevy’s V8 lineup produced depressingly-mild performance during the decade, and it was Buick, with their force-fed V6 that was turning out the most impressive track numbers at the time.
It wasn’t to say that the fourth generation of Monte Carlo wasn’t an important, or even an impressive car for Chevrolet; the Monte Carlo family that lasted from ’81-88 was a very close relative to the Regal-based Grand National, and a naturally-aspirated version of Buick’s 3.8-liter V6 was even offered as an engine option for Chevy’s G-body.
The problem was there was really no advantage to ordering a G-body Bowtie with the optional 350 small-block, as Chevy’s highest-output V8 for the 1986 sales year was rated not too much higher than 165 horsepower. With the Super Sport version of the 4th-Gen Monte Carlo, the emphasis instead was on using the Olds’ Cutlass Supreme and Pontiac Grand Prix’s rear-wheel platform to deliver a superior drive dynamic.
Chevy also sought to achieve a “Euro-like” ride with the 4th-Gen SS, coupling it with such styling cues as an egg crate grille and distinct side windows. Though strikingly similar to the turbocharged Grand National in appearance, the Monte Carlo supposedly borrowed styling features from the Cadillac Eldorado, while taking structural features from the Chevelle.
Though identical in platform, the Monte Carlo was totally different in styling from its Cutlass and Grand Prix contemporaries. It wasn’t a lineup for Chevy that was as esteemed as the Impala or Chevelle, but for the automaker, the G-body generation of Monte Carlo became their biggest winner on the NASCAR circuit.
In fact, not only was the Monte Carlo Chevy’s biggest stock car winner of the ’80s, but it would return to NASCAR during the ’90s. Though the Monte Carlo nameplate returned to NASCAR for the 1995 racing season, the production version, with its front-wheel-drive and underpowered V6, was essentially a coupe version of the Lumina that didn’t hold the same prestige.
After the demise of the rear-wheel Monte Carlo that emerged from the 1980s, there was never a G-bodied Monte ever made again that was fortunate enough to enjoy the luxury of a factory small-block motor. Because of this, we believe that our eBay find, brought to us by Car Buzz, will be more than a sought-after classic when the desire arises for late-model, mid-’80s muscle.
This ’85 SS features a nearly showroom-grade interior and finish, and with a completely stock V8 and only 58,000 original miles on the odometer, it’s a clean steal if you’re in the market for a turn-key car for just under $16 grand. The car has seen only two owners since it rolled off the production line and features new front and rear brakes, along with a brand-new dual exhaust system appropriate to this vintage of Chevy G-body.
The G-body of the late ’70s and 1980 production year saw important structural changes, including a weight loss of nearly 800 pounds, along with an overall shortening of the car’s body by some 15 inches. They were changes that were the result of the ’70s oil crisis, along with the introduction of a series of smaller V6s that made their way to the American auto market.
Even though the ’80s was a time of downsizing for GM, the 4th-Gen Monte Carlo SS became one of the decade’s coolest rides. Though Buick’s Grand National continues to stand as the 1980’s most brutish performance piece, the Monte Carlo SS became a styling and handling contemporary for Chevy that was also an equal to the turbo Buick in setting an automotive standard!