After years of watching the Pontiac Division rake in money by selling snazzed-up Chevrolet siblings bedecked with affordable opulence and big engines, the low-priced unit of The General's empire had had enough. Not only did Chevrolet glom marketing maestro and talented engineer (in that order) John DeLorean from Pontiac, but Pontiac had overstuffed the cash register again by moving the Grand Prix personal luxury coupe onto the smaller Chevelle's A-Body platform. For the 1970 model year, a new Chevelle-based coupe got a long, long hood plus endless heraldic crests and many square feet of fake wood trim. This was the first Monte Carlo, named after a famous oligarchs' party spot in Europe but priced for the masses. The Monte Carlo name went onto rear-wheel-drive midsize coupes of varying sizes through 1987, then was reborn as a front-drive coupe on the W-Body platform starting in 1995. By 2008, the Monte was gone, but some fairly quick versions hit showrooms during the middle 2000s. Here's one of those cars, a rare Supercharged SS model found in a Northern California self-service yard.
The good old knight's helmet badge used on the very first Monte Carlos still was being deployed a quarter-century later, as we see on the dash of this car. Sadly, no Brougham or Landau version of the Monte could be purchased in 2005.
The 2004-2005 Monte Carlo SS got this 240-horsepower version of the 3.8-liter Buick V6, topped with an Eaton M90 supercharger. While the 1970 Monte Carlo SS 454 boasted 360 horsepower, making it the most powerful stock Monte Carlo ever sold (sorry, we're not going to count special-order cars with dealer-installed LS6 engines, nor how many angels can dance on the head of a pin), the '05 Monte SS was lighter, had better tires, and probably close to the same power at the wheels (thanks to differences in gross-versus-net power ratings) and might be quicker in a real-world drag race. We'll let the readers argue about that question in the comments.
In 2006, the blown V6 in the SS got dumped in favor of the LS4 V8, same as the one in the Monte's Pontiac Grand Prix GXP sibling, and raised horsepower to a mighty 303. I've found a couple of those cars in junkyards recently, but they've been a bit too rough for me to consider worthy as Junkyard Gems.
This car had an MSRP of $28,355, which amounts to something like $40,675 in 2021 dollars. The 2005 BMW 525i and its lowly 215 horses listed at $41,300 ($59,245 now), but I'm pretty sure that BMW didn't consider the Monte Carlo SS to be a 5 Series competitor.
The last year for the Monte Carlo was 2007. Perhaps the name will be revived in the future, though we can assume it would be applied to something truck-shaped.
This commercial is for the pre-supercharger Monte SS, but you get the idea. I'm pretty sure riding in the nonexistent back seat of a NASCAR Monte with an open-face helmet would be frowned upon by the Fun Police.
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