Chevrolet may have ceased production of the long-running Monte Carlo in 2007, but as today’s Nice Price or No Dice 5.3-liter SS proves, it went out with a bang. Let’s find out if its price is just as explosive.
The $2,000 asking price on yesterday’s 1999 Ford Explorer XLT had many of you approaching the truck the way a little kid approaches an unfamiliar vegetable on their dinner plate — warily.
Some of you wondered what undisclosed evils the truck might eventually manifest. A few others simply felt it was a dog whose hunting days were long over. In the end, none of that seemed to matter a whit as the Ford took home a 90 percent Nice Price win. That was one of the most decisive victories we’ve seen this year.
The Explorer is arguably one of Ford’s most iconic models. Another nameplate that’s held near and dear within the hallowed halls of FoMoCo is Thunderbird. In the 1950s, the T-bird was the car that defined the personal luxury coupe category — and then defined it once again when the car shifted from a pure two-seater to a 2+2.
Chevrolet has long been Ford’s biggest rival in the North American market, and whenever one carmaker hits a particularly rich vein of car model gold, you can be sure that the other will be there in short order to tap that same mine.
In the case of the Thunderbird, it took Chevy a full decade and a half to get its answer on the road. Chevy’s answer was the 1970 Chevy Monte Carlo, a car that was smaller than the contemporary T-bird and featured cleaner, more European lines. This was befitting of the Monte Carlo’s name, the Monégasque city made famous in automotive circles for the Formula 1 race that has so many times roared through its tony streets.
Over the years, Chevrolet had an on-again/off-again love affair with the Monte Carlo. The model’s heyday in the 1970s and early ’80s was a time when it went through both an upsizing and a downsizing. The model skipped the first half of the ’90s and then was resurrected halfway through the decade as little more than a rebadged Lumina coupe. Sheesh!
The Monte Carlo’s final iteration to date arrived in 2000 and attempted to recapture the model’s swinging-singles glory days. Chevy’s primary purpose with the car seemed to be to give the company something to run in NASCAR, but even that wasn’t enough to keep the coupe from becoming a corpse.
Chevy cited slumping sales as the official reason for the model’s exit in 2007. That was likely reason enough, but there was also the company’s foresight that the aging Monte Carlo would fight the soon to be resurrected Camaro for sales and rental car lot space in a just couple of years’ time.
This 2007 Monte Carlo SS is from that final model year and, with its 5.3 liter LS4 V8 engine and spiffy color scheme, it’s one of the most extroverted of the bunch.
That engine sits sideways and puts its 303 horsepower through a four-speed automatic to the car’s front wheels. In this implementation, the V8 features an aluminum block and heads, so while it’s relatively big and powerful, it likely won’t make you feel like the car’s swinging a boat anchor ahead of you at every corner.
There’s a modest 108,000 miles on this Monte’s clock, and the car presents in fabulous shape for its age and that distance. The Laser Blue Metallic over Silverstone paint holds up with an as-new shine and the car carries all its appropriate badging. The simple five-spoke alloy wheels also look free of any marring and wear tires that appear to have plenty of tread left. Aftermarket additions to the car include a massive and likely non-functional hood scoop and Corvette-style flags on the nose.
Inside it’s more of the same. The ad claims the car to be “fully loaded” and aside from missing a large screen infotainment system, it all seems to be relatively modern and comfortable. The underhood presentation is likewise clean, and the aftermarket “SS” oil fill cap is a nice touch.
The Monte Carlo died from lack of interest. The personal coupe market has long been a niche category, and for a volume seller like Chevy, a niche needs to serve a purpose. The Corvette is a niche model, but it also serves as Chevy’s halo car. In Chevy’s lineup, the Monte Carlo was more of a “Hey-you. What was your name again?”
That doesn’t mean such cars lack fans, and there’s likely someone out there for whom this SS would be the perfect ride. Let’s decide if it comes with the perfect price to match. The asking price is $9,800, and that gets you a clean title and a seemingly problem-free car.
Does that seem like an equitable trade? What do you say, is this Monte Carlo worth that $9,800 asking? Or, does that price make this a personal coupe that you’d avoid getting up close and personal with?
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