In its final years of production, the Chevy Monte Carlo was an interesting car - it wasn't handsome, and it wasn't great, but it has an aura of pride about it.
I mean, the person who bought one could've just bought an Impala. Same platform, not really worse to drive, more practical.
But no, to buy a Monte Carlo was to pay extra for a bit of style. It wasn't to everyone's taste, but it tied up a lot of stock car heritage and muscle car glory days and whatever else helped the owner maybe forget a bit of the American confusion of the Bush years. We were all told how great the country was doing, and how we should stand proud, but everyone else in the world hated us and we could all sort of see that it was all coming down but if we just closed our eyes and dreamed of V8s and mashed the gas in our Monte Carlos even front-drive Monte Carlos it all seemed ok.
The thing is, I think that every car-producing country has a Monte Carlo. Take Italy, for instance. It had a real moment in the sun in the 1960s. The Italian economy surpassed England's. They were the most stylish country in the world, and everyone was making money, and buying cars. What vehicle symbolized this better than anything else? The Alfa Romeo. Daring design, middle class price, great to drive and loved by the world.
The Alfa Romeo Brera seems to have all of those qualities, but it's from Berlusconi's Italy. The chassis wasn't as fun as it should've been. The engines weren't as playful as they should have been. The car still looks gorgeous on tree-lined European streets, but it was crap.
There's no other way to put it — when it was in production, the Brera was Italy's Monte Carlo.
So what's your country's Monte Carlo?
Photo Credit: Alfa Romeo