Win On Sunday, Sell On Monday: 1988 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS

By Jeff Bennett

Win on Sunday, sell on Monday.  That has always been the justification for automakers to enter the rough and tumble world of racing.  Everyone loves a winner, and the free advertising generated by a big win almost always paid off the next week when customers came in to at least look at a version of the winning car.  Getting the customers into the showroom is a victory in and of itself.  Of course, all of this worked when race cars had at least a passing resemblance to the cars in the showroom.  NASCAR in the 1980s was probably the last era where the racecars resembled the showroom cars, and no driver sold more cars than Dale Earnhardt.  His #3 Chevrolet Monte Carlo racked up a lot of wins, and Chevy sold a ton of these lookalikes during that era.  This 1988 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS, found on EBay and being sold out of Utica, New York, is pretty typical of these racetrack replicas.  The current bid of $6,433 is likely not the last, and the rising cost of these collectibles is a good indicator of their popularity with enthusiasts.

The Monte Carlo SS was basically a standard Monte Carlo with a few extra styling touches, such as a more aerodynamic nose, cast aluminum wheels, and a spoiler.  Inside rested a sportier interior, almost always with a floor shifter, and many luxury options.  They could also be had with T-tops, and they looked very similar to the Chevrolet Monte Carlos that battled Ford Thunderbirds for supremacy in NASCAR.  The battles between mainly Bill Elliot and his aerodynamic Thunderbirds and Dale Earnhardt with his beefy Monte Carlos were as good as the legends claim.  There is a reason why NASCAR doesn’t re-broadcast many of the races from the era.  Nothing they offer today compares to the racing in this golden age.

Many of the Monte Carlo SS editions that Chevrolet sold were delivered to dealerships in the South.  Of course, this was NASCAR’s stronghold, and this was before the sport’s dramatic rise in viewership and dominance of other television markets in the late 1990s and the 2000s.  A lot of this had to do with the more than passing resemblance of the cars, but most knew that there was not much “stock” on a stock car.  At least they packed Chevrolet small block V-8s, and were rear wheel driven.  Now, decals define what a Chevy, Ford, or Toyota is.  I am certain that groups of marketing geniuses meet every day to try to figure out why they can’t sell on Monday after a Sunday win.

This Monte Carlo SS is from New York of all places.  I guess there are NASCAR fans up there as well, and I know there are fans of V-8 Chevrolets all over the northeast.  This particular car has been owned by this seller since 1989, and has been garaged ever since.  With 75,184 miles on the odometer, this one seems to have been well kept.  There have been some repainted sections of the body, which is due to the typical poor paint quality cars of that time period often suffered from, and there are a few scratches and nicks.  The interior exhibits minor amounts of sun bleaching and the usual wear on the driver’s seat, but is in far better condition than other Monte Carlos I have seen that have lived their lives outdoors.  UV ray damage just turns these interiors into dust if they end up sitting outside for long periods of time.

Under the hood is the tried and true Chevrolet 305 cubic inch V-8.  While they were fast enough back in the day, this engine is not what drag racing dreams are made of.  These cars make for good cruisers, and do well on long trips.  V-8 cars with rear wheel drive are what many of us are raised on, and it is not hard to fall in love with them all over again.  They are easy cars to live with.

It will be interesting to see where this one ends up price wise.  Good examples are becoming hard to find, especially in some of the rarer colors.  By looking at the pictures, this car was obviously its owner’s pride and joy.  You could do a lot worse than this one for less money, but I think it is time to start thinking about adding one to your collection of you are a fan of these NASCAR styled coupes.  Prices seem to be climbing, and my guess is there are a lot more interested buyers than there are good cars.  This one should be a good bellwether for the market.  Watch carefully.

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Comments

  1. Rabbit

    You’d be surprised how many NASCAR fans are up here, Jeff. Watkins Glen is one of the few tracks left that sells out every year. Should tell you something. Back on subject, I always kinda liked the later glass backs. Those and the Grand Prix Aeros.

    6+
    • Rob

      You are correct Rabbit. I grew up in Elmira, just south of Watkins Glen. My entire family attends the race every year, and I make the trek up from Florida to join them. The place is jammed and we have a blast. NASCAR is huge up home.

      4+
      • Rabbit

        I used to make the trek from Buffalo. Actually worked for the track fo a few years. Love it there.

        4+
      • Pa Tina

        The Watkins Glen Trans-Am races in 1970 were incredible for a variety of reasons. Most of them illegal.

        1+
  2. whippeteer

    I doubt that there were any more sold south of the Mason Dixon than North for these cars. They were a hot seller for Chevy from ’83 to ’88. I would love to find the Aerocoupe which were only manufactured for the sake of homgulation for Nascar.

    2+
    • Petey

      I know where there’s o e i.ll find out more on the car.856,270,0323.its in very good shape pete

      1+
      • whippeteer

        Not looking for one, just like the look since they are more unique.

        0
  3. Dave

    The first dealership I worked at was a Chevy dealer in southern NY from’87-’88. Monte SS’s & IROC’s were big sellers at the dealership I worked at & I don’t think it had anything to do with Nascar or the IROC race series. They were really nice looking cars & top of the line models at the time & I think that’s what was pushing their sales. Based on the number of them I saw going out the door, I’m really surprised that you don’t see more of them around that much. FYI – if buying one in silver, keep an eye out for bubbling under the paint. For some reason, the silver ones had rust issues right of of the truck and more than a few had to be stripped & re-painted before being sold.

    2+
    • whippeteer

      If I recall, it was a problem with the paint itself.

      0
  4. Pa Tina

    Not a bad looking car, and with each passing year (Medicare sign-up looming) I really appreciate these types of cars that are easy to live with and fun to drive while not being too plain.

    1+
  5. Nova Scotian

    Up in 🇨🇦…very common car back in the day. All the ‘cool” dudes lusted after these. Even in this colour…well I liked too.

    2+
    • Richard Holmes

      The red (orange?) trim really made this color pop. It’s a beauty.

      0
      • Tom Member

        I guess that is why there is chocolate, vanilla and 29 other flavors. I thought the orange strip was the kiss of ugly death on what is otherwise nice car.

        To each our own, right?

        0
  6. Miguel

    These were always great driving cars.

    I am looking for a 1984 Mexican spec car right now.

    It had the 350 with a factory 4 speed. (I don’t believe the American version was ever offered with a standard transmission.) It also featured a Pontiac Grand Prix dash and door panels with manual windows but power locks.

    The car was faster than the factory Corvette that year.

    I haven’t found an original car so far.

    People think they are so smart taking about the original 350 for the 383 stroker and for me that destroys the value of the car seeing as how few were made and only in that one year.

    We need to get back to valuing originality instead of modifying cars beyond recognition.

    3+
    • Tom Member

      “Faster than any Corvette in the 80’s” = not impressive and not hard to do. I like edh’s comment below.

      1+
  7. edh

    “V-8 cars with rear wheel drive are what many of us are raised on, and it is not hard to fall in love with them all over again. They are easy cars to live with”

    0- 60 mph = 11 s

    I doubt many would be happy as the 0-60 times when new are about the same as a 2016 Chevrolet Spark

    0-60 mph = 10.7 sec

    1+
  8. AMXSTEVE

    Dime a dozen. Smoked these dogs daily with my Grand National. They were a joke and “SS” was just a trim package.

    4+
    • Pa Tina

      So you’re saying smoking those dogs daily wasn’t a very big deal?

      0
  9. DRV

    Yes, I wouldn’t bother less the Aerocoupe.

    0
  10. michael streuly

    Nothing to see here move along.

    2+
  11. jw454

    I never cared for the “SS” version of the eighties Monte Carlo. I preferred the standard Monte front fascia. I believe the SS cars were powered by a high-output 305. Maybe there’s a pro here that would know for sure.

    1+
    • DG

      Yes, the L69 “H.O.” 305. Rated at 180 hp.

      1+
  12. DrinkinGasoline

    Love the license plate…GO TRIBE !!!!

    I didn’t like the Aerocoupe but here’s one :

    https://www.carsforsale.com/1987-chevrolet-monte-carlo-for-sale-C106922

    If this one stays under 10K it might not be a bad deal for someone.

    1+
  13. Angrymike

    I bought a 86 SS in 88 with 30,000 miles I loved that car, especially on long trips. Not very fast, but overall a great car !

    0
  14. MARK BOYCE

    Ordered mine new in 1984, G80 posi rearend option was just released and i went for the stronger more reliable turbo 350 trans. the H.O. 180 hp was plenty fast back then w all the smoggers 🙂 mine got the Ronal R-9’S ALA AMG Mercedes …

    1+
    • PRA4SNW

      This was also a very popular color, I still see several of these tooling around here in NH.

      0

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