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16k Original Miles: 1986 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS

As the 1980s evolved, vehicle manufacturers extracted improved performance from their beloved V8 engines that had been strangled in the previous decade. However, they were also turning to the art of aerodynamics to complement their engine developments. Nowhere is this more apparent than with vehicles like this 1986 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS. While cars of the era featured square body lines, the Monte Carlo included a more tapered nose and mirrors to improve how they cut through the air. Our feature car is a stunning two-owner classic with a genuine 16,000 miles showing on its odometer. It is located in West Babylon, New York, and the owner has listed it for sale here on Craigslist. You could park this gem in your driveway for $28,500. I have to say a huge thank you to Barn Finder Pat L for spotting this fantastic survivor for us.

Finished in its original Silver, it is hard to find anything of which to be critical with this Monte Carlo. Its overall presentation is close to perfect, with no evidence of flaws or defects in the paint. The owner rightly points out the color variation between the steel surfaces and plastic, and it was typical for these to age differently on cars built during the 1980s. Therefore, I don’t see this as a problem. The panels are laser straight, with no bruises, bumps, or prior accident damage. The gaps are tight and consistent, while the glass appears perfect. The Monte Carlo rides on its factory alloy wheels, which are free from staining or curb strike. Adding to the originality of this classic is that it rolls on its original tires. Due to their age, I’m not sure that I would trust them at highway speeds. For local driving and shows, they would serve perfectly.

The mechanical specifications and performance figures for a 1986 Monte Carlo SS makes fascinating reading. The company produced the regular SS and an Aerocoupe version specifically for NASCAR homologation. Both were identical in mechanical specifications, but the Aerocoupe was designed to cut through the air better at places like Talladega and Daytona. They featured a 305ci V8 that produced 180hp. The company also equipped both versions with a 200-4R automatic transmission, power steering, and power brakes. While the Aerocoupe was claimed as more aerodynamically efficient than its sibling, it was also heavier. That means that a regular production SS will cover the ¼ mile significantly faster than the Aerocoupe. The homologation special should take 17 seconds to cover the distance, but our feature car should do it in 16.3 seconds. This also impacted top speed because while the SS could hit 127mph, the Aerocoupe ran out of breath at 119mph. With a mere 16,000 miles on the clock, the Monte Carlo continues the theme of perfection. The engine bay presents superbly, and the car is in A1 mechanical order. It runs and drives as nicely as it did when new, with no faults or mechanical glitches.

When we turn our attention to this Chevrolet’s interior, we are confronted by surfaces trimmed in Maroon cloth and vinyl. The overall presentation is impressive for a vehicle of this age and supports the owner’s claim of low mileage. There are no visible faults or issues to identify and no apparent modifications. There is no appreciable wear on the outer edges of the seats or carpet, while the dash and pad have avoided the damage that UV rays can inflict. It is nicely equipped, including air conditioning, power windows, power locks, cruise control, a tilt wheel, and a premium AM/FM radio and cassette player with an oh-so-1980s graphic equalizer.

Cars like this 1986 Monte Carlo SS demonstrated to the world that American vehicle manufacturers were coming to grips with changing times. This car presents superbly for its age and appears to need nothing. It would suit the most fastidious owner, and even though I hate to use the term “Time Capsule,” this car meets that criteria. The big question is whether its overall condition justifies the asking price. Even the ever-optimistic Hagerty indicates that this is right at the top end of what you may pay for a perfect Monte Carlo. Tipping the scales in his favor is the fact that it is so original, right down to the tires. It has only been on the market a short time, so it’ll be interesting to see if a buyer pops out of the woodwork.


  1. Stevieg Member

    I had a friend that had one of these. It was a really odd car. I thought they all had the 305 under the hood, his had an Olds 307 under the hood. His also had the bench seat and column shift, along with manual windows and locks. Any one else ever see that on an SS?
    This looks like a really nice car. I am not doubting the mileage claim. I just hope whoever put her back on the road replaced all of the rubber components so it would be safe & reliable. For that kind of money, they should.

    Like 7
    • Bick Banter

      The bench seat was standard on all SS model years, though it’s somewhat rare. Most had buckets and console, particularly the later cars. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a 1985-88 SS with a bench seat. The 1983-84 bench had cool white head rests with the SS logo in them. The 85-88 seat would be just a plain maroon or grey bench (or also saddle for ’87-88)

      Power windows and locks were options. These cars tended to be fully loaded but those were optional, so some cars would not have them.

      The Chevrolet L69 305 was the standard and only engine on the SS, so none of them would have had an Olds 307. Why someone would bolt in a 307, I have absolutely no idea. But the factory never made any.

      Like 8
      • Camaro guy

        Bick i had an 86 SS Monte just like this one same color exterior same color interior but mine was a bench seat car with column shift but yes they were kinda rare

  2. Michael K

    Had one almost exactly like this, except bench seat and grey int. Great cruisers, but quite slow.

    Like 3
  3. jwzg

    Where did the data come from regarding the top speed of an Aerocoupe?

    Like 3
  4. Stan

    The 3.73 ring and pinion really helps the underwhelming motor choice the General handicapped these neat cars with.. Like the hardtop model. The silver paint looks great here.

    Like 4
    • Big Bear 🇺🇸

      Stan.. I agree with 3.73 gears. But would love to drop a stroker 383 with 450 or 500 HP. Keeping the stock look under the hood. Who would know? It would surprise a lot of people at the light. It would definitely be a wild ride! 🐻🇺🇸

      Like 3
      • jwzg

        The L69 dual-snorkle breather off the Z28 would would be a natural addition. Add a pair of Vortec heads, an upgraded intake, headers and a 2.5 inch exhaust. The Q-Jet will flow 750 cfm, so you could do some tweaking (see — old article). All of those mods would get this car well into the 14’s and if you put in a 350 instead of the 305, who knows.

      • jwzg

        Sorry, not 350 — 383.

      • Camaro guy

        Yup right after you splatter that 7.5″ 3.73 gear all over the road 😁

        Like 1
    • Bick Banter

      I wouldn’t say handicapped. Back when these came out in 1983, the L69 was GM’s strongest non-Corvette V-8. Chevy did not start putting the 350 in the Camaro until 1987 and by then, these were at the end of their model run.

      Like 1
      • Stan

        Fair and Accurate comment Bick.
        There wasn’t many more choices was there ?
        I guess it just seemed natural for the best 350 motor from the get go.

      • Bick Banter

        No. The 350 disappeared as a passenger car engine, with the exception of the Corvette, I believe after 1981. It didn’t come back until 1987. So yes, the L69 was as good as it got in 1983 when this was introduced. I suppose they could have put the LB9 TPI 305 in it in 1985, but that was exclusive to the Camaro and Firebird.

    • jwzg

      @Camaro guy That’s a peg-leg rear end, so you couldn’t do much damage to anything other than the tire. LOL

  5. J Ryan

    I had a white with blue interior 1984 MCSS. Mine had the buckets and console but manual windows and door locks. It did have cruise control though. Bone stock it was inside and out. Wasn’t a bad car. Actually one I wish I’d never gotten rid of.

  6. Mike

    My parents had an 84. I always loved that car and would like to find a nice one to relive those memories. While not screamers, with the gearing they had, they could spin the tires pretty easily.

  7. CCFisher

    36-year-old tires are not safe for street use at any speed.

    Like 11
  8. Solosolo Solosolo Member

    Did GM ever make an uglier car?

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      That’s a silly question. They have made a lot that look way worse!

      Like 4
    • jwzg

      You’ve never seen a Pontiac Aztek. That thing was so ugly, it served as it’s own anti-theft device.

      Like 2
    • Jerry Allen

      I love them and what a stupid question.

      Like 3
  9. Troy

    You know your getting old when the cars you grew up with seeing all over suddenly become collectable classic. If I had this I would just drive it and enjoy it

    Like 3
  10. George Mattar

    I had a fully loaded claret 1988 Monte SS. Like an idiot I sold it in 1993 for $9,300. 30,000 no salt no rain miles. The guy I sold it to still has it. I knew they would be worth money but divorce got the best of me.

  11. Brian

    Starting in 1985 an onwards, the MC-SS had the 4 speed OD 200-4R tsrans with 3.73 rear gear and an upgraded 7 5/8 ring gear, not a 7.5 inch unit.
    Car magazines of the day did hop-up mods and found the upgraded ring gear to be able to handle these hop ups without issue.

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