Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Almost the Heartbeat of America

I was walking around some area of Brooklyn that looks like the pics below (Dyker Heights? Bensonhurst? My own beloved Bay Ridge?) when this '80s Bro-mobile presented itself:
Yeah Bro!
This is a 1983-1985 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS in White.
I know this car well because I went to high school in Carmel, New York from the late '80s through the early '90s. The Monte Carlo was ubiquitous with the gold-chain-over-your-black-sweater crowd. 
The Super Sport got this nifty aerodynamic front that incorporated the bumper and grill/headlight surrounds as one piece. The standard Monte had a chrome bumper below a stand-up grill and headlights set flush into the facade as opposed to these inset ones.
This shape is familiar to anyone who drove a Buick Regal, Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, or Monte Carlo from 1978-1988. This is the G-Body platform (though from '78-'82 they referred to it as the A-Body even though it is the same). The G-Body cars were some of the final front engine, rear wheel drive domestic rides produced en masse. Sure the Taxi & Police stalwarts like the Crown Vic, Caprice, and luxury 4 door sleds from Buick & Cadillac continued through the '90s, but the nameplates that used the G-Body all went front wheel drive after '88.
The Chevy Bow Tie emblem sitting above the trunk lock is nicely understated. Our feature Monte was built moments before the Heartbeat of America ad campaign came out (which ran from '86-'93). While I couldn't locate a commercial for this exact car I did find a vintage Motor Trend review that surprisingly extolls the high performance capabilities of the '83 SS! Never mind that a basic Honda can outperform everything but the top speed these days. *Bonus campy faux moonshiner acting really makes it a groaner to watch.
That little spoiler/wing didn't do much but it was standard with the SS. Dual exhaust was also a part of the SS option package, as was a special "race-blue" interior (according to their brochure).
Since I'm featuring a car for sale I figure I ought to include the number in case a Monte Carlo fan is looking for a clean '80s SS. Those 6x9 speakers on the back deck could only be made more period correct if there was a Bazooka tube in the trunk hooked up to an Alpine deck.
For a while in the early '80s you could get bizarre combinations in your Monte Carlo. Diesel engines were available from '78-'84 (there were only 168 diesel Montes built in that final year!). Both 3 and 4 speed manual transmissions were optional from '78-'80. The Buick turbocharged V6 was a rare option in '80 which actually became a 1 year only model in '81 called the Monte Carlo Turbo. The famous Buick Grand National was essentially a G-Body Regal with that turbo motor and it was briefly the fastest American production car available, even beating out the Corvette!
From the side this thing looks capable and mean with its aerodynamic front and rear spoilers. This body style was very effective in Nascar during the late '70s. To try and retake some checkered flags in in 1987 they introducing the Monte Carlo Aerocoupe. The main difference between the regular and the Aerocoupe was that the back window was angled from the roofline to the rear of the trunk for greater aerodynamics. It is rare today (the Pontiac version was called the 2+2 and is even rarer).
Well that's that for this G-Body ride. My very first car was an '83 Cutlass Supreme Brougham that looked just like this (except for my sweet burgundy landau roof). When I was in my teenage years and people around me were getting their licenses these were some of the most common cars around. If I had a parking space I would consider another as a daily driver. If you like to work on your car this is the last gasp for old-school technology so they're easy and simple. If you do pick one up do yourself a favor and acquire some Z Cavaricci gear so you can come correct!  

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